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(left to right) Matt Sullivan – Managing Director, Dino Myers-Lamptey – Performance Chair, Ruth Keiran – People Chair, Laurence Parkes – Purpose Chair

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant and negative impact on the

creative agency sector, with as much as a 44% (£19 billion) reduction in turnover and projected job losses of 26% (49,000)[1]. Independents make up ~90%[2] of the agencies in the creative sector which contributes over £43billion to the economy.

As income, jobs, ways of working, and client-agency relationships are reimagined as a result of COVID-19’s impact, it is integral the independent agency sector has a clear and action-focused voice. Until now, the sector has not had a united voice to promote its collective interests and pro-actively lobby policymakers in client-related industry bodies and the Government; the Alliance of Independent Agencies stands to change this.

As MAAG evolves to Alliance of Independent Agencies, it has appointed Matt Sullivan Managing Director, created a Members’ Board, and introduced a triumvirate of co-chairs to drive the agenda of its eight action groups.

Reflecting its change in purpose and structure, the Alliance will respond to the impact of COVID-19 with change-driving activities, including:

  • Lobbying for government support, such as safeguarding jobs, through independent agency representation as members of The Advertising Association and Federation of Small Business.
  • Providing independent agencies wider access to valuable resources, building on collaborations with other agency collectives. To date, these include Pimento, TheNetworkOne and Agencynomics.
  • Empowering independent agencies to more successfully navigate procurement (in an increasingly competitive marketplace) through key educational partnerships.

As the incoming Managing Director, Matt Sullivan will spearhead this change. Formerly US Vice President at The Drum & Head of the Drum Network, and prior to that, Managing Director of the DMA’s International ECHO Awards, Sullivan has extensive experience championing agencies.

In addition to his appointment, the Alliance welcomes its inaugural triumvirate of co-chairs including, Ruth Kieran (CEO, Cirkle), Dino Myers-Lamptey (Founder, The Barber Shop), and Laurence Parkes (CEO, Rufus Leonard). The co-chairs are primarily responsible for distilling the input of the Alliance’s eight action groups (in the arenas of Purpose, People, and Performance) into one united voice.

Matt Sullivan says, “Across my work with agencies of all sizes and disciplines over the last 10 years, the biggest shift has been the desire to collaborate more – especially within the independent community. This will be the key factor behind the success of the Alliance of Independent Agencies. The Alliance is bringing an amazing mix of agencies together, plus support and access to other networks; a level of collaboration that is unusual with the backdrop of competitive membership fees. It feels like the last piece of the puzzle is to unite everybody that works for or alongside independent agencies to create something bigger and more impactful. With all the talent, great work, and increased confidence, I think we can be very ambitious with what we can achieve together. Exciting times.”

The Alliance seeks to unite the thousands of independent agencies, their leaders and everyone that works in the community to make meaningful change. Independent agencies can join the Alliance of Independent Agencies with their first month of membership free, here: https://allagencies.wpengine.com/welcome

Alliance of Independent Agencies will continue to deliver the same high-quality services as MAAG, including learning and development, new business partnerships, networking and thought leadership, championing issues, a legal helpline, pitch protection, and agency purchasing power.

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About Alliance of Independent Agencies:

The Alliance of Independent Agencies exists to represent and celebrate the thriving independent agency community and place it and those that work in it at the heart of the rapidly evolving entrepreneurial creative economy.

The Alliance brings the best and most forward-thinking independent agencies together to learn, share, develop their teams, products and services and connects them to best-practice, new ways of working and cutting-edge technologies and tools. And because the Alliance is run by the independent community, for the independent community we fly the flag for the independents to the entire marketing community.

For more info, contact: matt@allindependentagencies.org

What does this mean for the current directors?

Clive Mishon and Graham Kemp will remain as directors of the Alliance and support the executive team. Mishon and Kemp have both built successful independent agencies but are no longer engaged as executives in agencies. Since taking over the old MAA to create MAAG, they have made it an organisation driven by agency people, for the whole community. As the organisation evolves into the Alliance of Independent Agencies, they maintain their roles as directors – responsible for the Alliance’s financial stability and management – and welcome a new managing director and co-chairs. This is a vital step to ensure the Alliance is directed and driven by those actively involved in the day-to-day management of independent agencies.

What does this mean for the non-independent agency members of MAAG?

MAAG no longer has group agencies in membership. Recent membership invitations have been focused on independent agencies as MAAG observed the common interests and effective collaboration between like-minded independent agencies.

[1] https://www.creativeindustriesfederation.com/news/press-release-cultural-catastrophe-over-400000-creative-jobs-could-be-lost-projected-economic

[2] https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Statistics_on_small_and_medium-sized_enterprises#General_overview

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