Rise of the indies

Simon Hadfield
By Simon Hadfield | 26 June 2024
Simon Hadfield.

For those of you experienced enough to remember a less woke world, long lunches, the choice of only two bathrooms, no Connections Strategists, 17.5% on media and chunky TV production budgets will be aware of the cycle we as an industry seem to be back in the middle of right now. The rise and rise of the independent agencies is upon us once again and the decline of the multinationals is well and truly alive and well.

The core reason for this cycle comes down to the simple fact that the founders of the indies have a huge amount to gain and lose, and more often than not, are at the top of their game. Tired of reporting into a global head office, attempting to hit numbers to make their bosses and shareholders wealthier, they have made the decision to go it alone. Much like starting a winery, you hear about the successes but not every start up that struggle and eventually quietly closes its doors.

In my humble opinion, this is fantastic for the industry but shines a rather large light on the multinationals and what the solution is. The obvious choice is to acquire, and history shows us this will be the case (BMF, BWM, Bohemia, Naked, White, Bellamy Hayden, Host, The Monkeys). Analog Folk very recently rolled in to Bastion, who will be next I wonder?

So, if you’re ‘young’ and have managed to read this far (congrats!), then starting your own thing isn’t a crazy idea as if you time it right, you can fall into the next cycle after the current indies have sold to the big boys, the leaders have finished their earn outs and the cycle starts all over again.

Let me know if you’d like to start a betting pool as to the upcoming order of sale and value. I’m sure SportsBet will jump on board.

Simon Hadfield is Executive Partner at DMCG Global, an executive search and recruitment business.


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