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Following ad agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty’s resignation of the Sony Ericsson advertising account over an alleged strategy clash with Wolff Olins, do you feel this represents a power shift in favour of the brand consultancy?

Blah, blah, blah… we’ve heard it all before. Brand consultancies take over the world. If only it was true. In reality, good and bad planners reside in Adland and Brandsville. So long as ideas are ‘king’, clients will buy the best talent available. Different yet valuable experiences can only be built through innovative creative thinking and consistent application. So come on clients, knock heads together, tell them to leave their egos at the door and come up with a killer brand together.

Richard Buchanan, Head of corporate branding, Corporate Edge (pictured top)

The high-profile nature of the BBH-Sony Ericsson spat highlights how advanced the trend is for organisations to look to brand consultancies for objective strategic advice. We can argue about the quality of that advice, but the unwillingness of traditional ad agency management to decouple their business model from production and invest in people who understand (and like) business as opposed to ads, means that they will always find it hard to play a fruitful strategic role.

Simon Myers, Director, Figtree

Convergence in the communications sector means everyone appears to be moving into space that others believe is theirs. Out of this comes tension. Everyone talks about who truly sits at the top of the table – it is the client, who sometimes asks others to join certain conversations. Ad agencies get offended when others are invited in.

Simon Bolton, Global chief executive, Enterprise IG

Sadly, this debate is being viewed in terms of the interests of the marketing industry, not clients’ needs. Clients value advisors who can take a broad view of their business, then orchestrate a variety of specialists. That sounds most like the brand consultancies, not ad men.

Sean McKnight, Senior consultant, Dave

Clients expect brand consultancies to look at the entirety of the brand, including product, whereas clients expect ad agencies to deliver the big communications idea. Mutual respect is the key, but roles need to be defined and a lack of paranoia about who does what is a prerequisite.

Tim Delaney, Group chairman, Leagas Delaney (pictured)

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