Media CEO on breaking 'traditional agency mold'

Josh McDonnell
By Josh McDonnell | 13 March 2019

Indie shop This is Flow wants to break clients out of the "traditional agency" mold, as it looks to build on its rapidly growing portfolio.

Since launching over two years ago, and rebranding last year, This is Flow and its founder, ex-MediaCom director Jimmy Hyett, have picked up multiple clients across creative, media and full-service.

Hyett says the business over the last 12 months has begun to develop a strong client base, including the likes of CruiseCo, media worth $5 million, and the $3 million media and creative account for McVities and Hydralyte.

He believes the agency has now moved out of its "crawling stage" and is now firmly standing on its own two feet.

Based on his early success, Hyett says there is a real shift from smaller budget clients away from the holding groups and larger agency structures.

This is Flow has found its sweet spot of nothing over $10 million in billings. 

"We want to make sure that the clients have the right amount of people looking after their business from a service and management side," Hyett says.

"The key challenges as we grow is on-boarding clients that are still stuck in the traditional model. Even though clients seem to be craving something new, and a service that's going to set them up for the future, many are reluctant to change and trial a new model." 

This is Flow's structure differs from the typical small independent shop, with the agency bringing in partners, allowing clients to turn services such as creative, digital and research on and off when necessary.

Hyett says clients are drawn to this structure as marketing spend becomes "increasingly harder" to justify, with budgets squeezed.

Through agreements with partner agencies, such as True, which handles digital, clients get more specialists working on their campaigns, as opposed to larger agencies and their "junior teams".

"From a financial point of view, clients are looking for any advantage and that's what we've been able to provide, something that gives them a more efficient way of working with one point of contact," Hyett says.

"It's saving them time, it's saving them money over the long term in terms of fees but it's still giving them a really effective approach."

"When it comes to smaller clients, we've found they've been quite nimble and really agile in getting on-board, as they understand we are putting people on their account who are dedicated and experienced industry professionals." 

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