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The problem with many consultants is they still operate like it’s the 20th century.

Consultants bring specialized knowledge but they’re always not in the trenches with you when you have to apply that knowledge to drive results. And the bottom line for brands is they need to show results this quarter, not next year. They need partners who are strategic, creative and agile. They need partners who bring their total commitment (not just billable hours) to running experiments, assessing the results and then applying those learnings in better ways. Immediately.

Brands are under extraordinary pressure from consumers and challengers in the market, and from internal budgeting processes. Every dollar a brand spends has to build a bridge from where it is now to the future it envisions for itself. Slick PowerPoint decks just aren’t enough anymore.

Brands need partners who will deliver in-market value creation and who will help build new partnerships with consumers inside new business models. Fundamentally, brands need partners so committed to delivering results they’ll put their own skin in the game and share in the value created, in lieu of just extracting big fees.

For a long time at IOVIA, we referred to ourselves as consultants. But even as we were doing so, we made reference to our agency, the execution arm of our business. But the truth is we’re neither of those things – we’re a hybrid, operating in a perpetual laboratory environment with our clients where we strategize, execute and build those bridges to the future.