Agency compass 2023, pt. II: Sustainability, purpose, and new work

Sustainability, purpose, and new work are THE current buzzwords. But what does that actually mean for agency bosses? We put that question to five of them who form a cross section of the industry.

The second part of our agency compass examines the increasingly important issues right now: sustainability, purpose, and new work.
Image: © Bruno Souza /

How we’ll work in the future: new work and agencies

COVID-19 fundamentally changed the world of work. How we work will continue to be an important metatopic in 2023 and one of the key trends.

“It was impressive to see how fast the industry responded to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and how it transitioned to remote working. That has fundamentally changed how we work – and changed it for good”, says Uli Kramer, Managing Director of pilot Hamburg.

Uli Kramer is Managing Director of pilot Hamburg and spokesperson for FOMA, the BVDW’s expert group for online media agencies, so he is familiar with the needs of other agencies as well.
Uli Kramer, Managing Director of pilot Hamburg © pilot

What do we want our working relationships to look like (and still remain profitable)?

This realignment process is far from over. When asked about her most important challenge in 2023, Andrea Buzzi from Hamburg-based PR agency FRAUWENK answered:

“Creating a functional new work structure and using hybrid working models to drive growth and innovation.”

And her answer echoes the views of many other agencies.

Andrea Buzzi, CEO & Founder of Hamburg-based PR agency FRAUWENK, predicts an even closer relationship between clients and agencies in the PR industry.
Andrea Buzzi, CEO & Founder of Hamburg-based PR agency FRAUWENK © FRAUWENK

Maintaining a work-life balance and finding a unique agency identity

The important thing is for each agency to pinpoint and define this new-found diversity in their own individual context. Take the question of identifying what balance of office and remote work is desirable and meaningful – that is something only the agencies can define based on their own individual requirements. The situation is clear: skilled staff are selective. That in turn means that employers have to offer a convincing financial package if they want to attract and retain applicants.

Johannes Auffermann from creative agency Astral believes another challenge that they will face in 2023 is finding a work-life balance for himself and his staff – not an easy matter.

Present your company at DMEXCO 2023 in an exciting, innovative ambiance.

Sustainability: Bringing the 2023 buzzword to life

As far as Oliver Zenglein is concerned: “Sometimes you have to say ‘no’ to the variety of new issues and opportunities.”

And he also expresses what many other business leaders are thinking. But each individual agency has to define exactly what they want to say “no” to; that’s not a question with a one-size-fits-all answer.

Zenglein’s response on the issue of sustainability is an unequivocal “YES”, however, and he has plenty of plans for 2023: “I’m looking forward to getting back to leading the way on sustainability issues.

2023 will be the first year when we share clearly and transparently what we are doing to benefit staff, customers, the community, and the environment.”

From a performance perspective, Oliver Zenglein from The Boutique is naturally interested in data acquisition and usage.
Oliver Zenglein is founder and Managing Director of The Boutique Agency. © The Boutique Agency

Content marketing: Accessibility is an important aspect of the content experience

The content experience is top priority for Miriam Herbold-Berneike in 2023: “We are making content even more accessible and providing an even better experience by focusing on readability, accessibility, an exciting mix of formats, and flexible content for a range of touchpoints. Our main challenge is tailoring content even more closely to users – finding ways to design and disseminate it in even more personal and effective ways that are even easier to consume.”

Given that everyone is talking about AI and ChatGPT, the content specialists at textbest are eager to see how Google will respond to its AI competitor.
Miriam Herbold-Berneike is the owner of Berlin-based agency textbest. © textbest

Trend for 2023: A return to live and in person – events, trade fairs, and networking

And what are you looking forward to most in 2023, Uli Kramer? “To building new personal relationships and maintaining existing ones. The events of the past three years have necessitated a hiatus in those.”

Andrea Buzzi hits the bullseye with her answer: “Most of all, I’m looking forward to networking at industry events like DMEXCO.”

Obviously, we can’t argue with that. We’re already looking forward to welcoming both German and international agencies to Cologne in September.

#DMEXCO23 Save the date: September 20 & 21. See you there.