Sydney L!VE - Economic uncertainty is an advantage to independent agencies

Ashley Regan
By Ashley Regan | 23 May 2023
Justin Hind

Economic headwinds are placed to the advantage of independent agencies, Justin Hind, ex-CEO of CHEP Network, said on stage at AdNews’ Sydney L!VE.

Hind, currently setting up his second independent agency, is confident despite an uncertain economic climate.

“I have a friend in the financial markets and he believes it's never a better time to start a business than in a time of economic uncertainty,” Hind said. “And I think being an independent you need to play that to your advantage.

“When a big brand wants to see how they can stretch their budget further or look for a new alternative I think they'll be looking for the indies that live and die by the quality of the work and the efficiency that they can bring to market.”

Similarly, economic headwinds don't concern Simon Ryan, RyanCap founder, because of his business size versus the bigger agencies.

“What we're seeing is obviously there is some reduced client speed across the table - with big spenders taking a more conservative approach,” Ryan said.

“But we're able to manoeuvre and strategize quite well around any sort of economic headwinds, I'm able to keep cash flow in check because we’re not paying any club fees or anything overseas.

“We've also kept all our funds in the business to either execute on strategy or be able to help us in any economic headwinds which may or may not occur.”

Justin Drape, Exceptional Alien and a The Monkeys co-founder, said he is being diligent in the way he manages and scales Exceptional Alien.

“The Exceptional Alien platform has got interest from markets around the world and we’re trying to strategically work through that to build upon the success,” Drape said.

“We're trying to build the team both here and in other markets simultaneously, so that's been a challenge.”

While ultimately cash flow and clients will always be the biggest challenge for independent agencies, validation is also a hurdle. 

“Coming from Saatchi and Saatchi, myself, Scott [Nowell] and Mark [Green] thought we could do something unique,” Drape said.

“And back in the day [the biggest challenge] was getting out to the market proving and validating that we could get momentum, win and build upon that success.”

Thank you to our supporting partners: AMOBEE/UNRULY , Foxcatcher, PubMatic, StackAdapt. Associate partners: blis, JUSTEGGS, MIQ, Quantcast. And friend of AdNews: IMAA.

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