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Last week’s Bellwether report from the IPA paints an increasingly optimistic picture for the year ahead, with half of client companies surveyed increasing their real advertising budgets this year. What is your sense of the UK market climate for design and

‘It looks set to be challenging. We expect the volatility of the market to continue. We believe this will make the UK market one of the world’s most competitive. We will see weaker branding and design businesses fail and further consolidation in our industry. Our clients will continue to simplify, rationalise and energise their brand portfolios as they seek to boost profitability.’

Dave Allen, Enterprise IG chief executive and The Brand Union joint chief executive

‘There is talk of renewed optimism. Some of our clients have re-aligned themselves in recent years and know exactly what they need going forward. They want to understand the value we can bring, with measurable results. Other clients have been through a lot of pain and are unclear how to shape the future – they are looking to re-engage their people internally and want proactive help and support from us as to how to achieve that.’

Laurence Croneen, UK managing director and chairman, Jack Morton

‘The UK is tied to a global economy, which links it closely to the US and European markets, so things like the US elections and the Olympics are having a positive effect on this sector. The new states joining the EU on 1 May and renewed M&A activity will also make an impact, particularly in London, which is the hub for financial and professional services. Going forward there is cause for optimism; however, clients are looking for real organic growth that can be measured.’

Chris Nurko, Global innovation director, FutureBrand

‘I see it being much like 2003. I don’t think we’ll see an immediate great boom in design services. It’s a longer road to recovery.’

Rodney Fitch, Chairman, Fitch Worldwide

‘The US is recovering, and it went into the downturn six months before the UK. This would suggest a flat first half in the UK, with an improving third and fourth quarter. The virtuous circle we all hope for begins with greater confidence and higher expectations; these beliefs drive budgets, which drive reality. But underlying factors have changed in this market; branding is becoming ‘deeper’ and companies want to make branding work harder, rather than looking at it as a change of clothes.’

Rita Clifton, Chairman, Interbrand

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