The global health crisis has led to a shift in business priorities, operations and demand. All advertising holding companies have reported negative growth and have taken significant steps to shore up their businesses for what looks like an uncertain period for all.

On a positive note, agencies have increased their communication as they re-plan their strategies and keep partners up to date as employees work from home, workers are furloughed or retrenched, and sensitivity around content is at an all time high. Work now is produced in weeks and not months, and often under pressure.

For marketers and procurement teams, this has highlighted the importance of developing more sustainable partnerships and building internal capability. Driving value through smarter use of assets, and finding areas which could benefit from further efficiencies is top of the agenda.

To optimize working relationships going forward, marketers and procurement teams need a clear picture of the ability of their agency partners to deliver. Consumers want to see work from brands, but to do this in a way that acknowledges the uncertain times we live in, all stakeholders need to be prepared to ensure business continuity.

R3 has interviewed more than 2,000 marketers about their agency relations, and we regularly keep engaged in what is happening in their business. In the following pages, we provide an outline on approaches, best practice and tools available to identify opportunities and mitigate risks in agency partnerships. We hope this will be helpful as you forge ahead.


  • Talent: How prepared is your agency in planning for future change in work protocols?
  • Shift in Demand: How prepared is your agency to address increasing needs for digital capability?
  • Transparency & Security: How prepared is your agency in dealing with business risks related to data security?
  • Financial Health: Do you know how financially flexible your agency partner is to maintain operations during a disruption?
  • Organizational Maturity: Do you know how prepared your agency partner is in identifying and mitigating disruption?