Agencies have talked for years about the notion of billing only for the business outcomes they help create, but the model has never widely caught on. Despite continued attempts from agencies to sell it to clients, the idea might be getting less appealing to brands.

Maybe it’s the explosion in direct-to-consumer brands or just the effect these newer companies are having on the industry, but most brand founders I speak to regularly tell me increasingly say they don’t trust agencies because they do not think the interests are aligned: The agency will often recommend investments that ultimately benefit the agency, not the brand. And the agency’s ultimate goal, then, is more billable hours, more investment (and more commission) — all of which directly affects a brand’s bottom line.

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