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Agency Brief: January 2021

Feature image for Agency Brief: January 2021

Welcome to The Agency Brief, a regular round-up of news, ideas, advice and brainfood for leaders of creative and digital agencies.

In The Newsroom we bring you the latest news from across the world and explore what it means for your business. There's great articles, advice and events on the latest issues in Things to learn fromand What’s going on. And we round up some of the best stories on the web this week in What we’re reading.

We're publishing this edition of Agency Brief publicly, so you can get a flavour of what each Agency Brief contains — future editions will be premium publications for members only.


The Newsroom

The latest news from across the world, and what it means for agencies.

» Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th President of the United States of America

2 weeks after the assault on the US Capitol and the attempted coup instigated by the outgoing President, and 1 week after that President was impeached for an historic second time, Joseph R Biden, Jr., was sworn in as the 46th President of the US on 20 January.

Biden's presidency will have a very different political flavour from the previous one. The new president has wasted no time in making his mark, with a flurry of executive orders and actions to address his immediate priorities, and in doing so set the political stance for his administration.

At the same time, the UK government's post-Brexit strategy apparently included an assumption that a trade deal with an American President with a similar political view. The UK government now waits with anxious anticipation to discover where it fits into the Biden administrations foreign and trade policy agenda.

Inevitably, this will have a consequence for the economic climate in the UK.

The Debate - Biden’s America: What are the new US president’s priorities?
One day after Joe Biden’s incident-free inauguration as the 46th US president, we bring you another special edition of the France 24 Debate live from Washington. What to make of Biden’s inaugural address? What are his priorities now that he’s in the White House? We discuss all this and more with our…

Watch more (France 24)

What to Expect in Biden’s First 100 Days in Foreign Policy
From climate change to China to ending the forever wars, here are 10 of the biggest challenges facing the Biden foreign-policy team as it takes office.

Read more (Foreign Policy)

Biden inauguration and cabinet: a sigh of relief for global trade? | Global Trade Review (GTR)
Joe Biden has been sworn in as the 46th president of the United States, bringing hope for a more diplomatic and predictable environment for one of the world’s most powerful trading nations. President Biden takes the reins of a country in turmoil because of the pandemic – the US has recorded more tha…

Read more (Global Trade Review)

5 things to expect from Joe Biden on UK trade
The UK waits to see if the new administration makes a trade break from Donald Trump.

Read more (Politico)

Five things to know about new US president Joe Biden’s international trade agenda (The Institute of Export and International Trade)

  1. It’s still 'America First'
  2. Biden hasn’t said much about the UK
  3. EU tariffs to ease
  4. Return to global stage
  5. Bulwark against China

Read more (IEIT)

With the UK hosting the G7 this year (1–13 June 2021), it is likely that the UK will be the first foreign visit of the 46th US President. The UK will rather keen to ensure that Biden visits Britain before any other major European power, to impress on both the national and international observers just how “special” the UK–US relationship is still. Whether the Biden administration also see it as “special” remains to be seen in the coming months.

» Brexit brings changes to VAT

The first weeks of the Brexit post-Transition period has revealed a number of significant things that were previously in the small print. In particular, there are significant changes to VAT.

Many EU firms suspended shipments to the UK for the first weeks of January, pending clarity on the issues. Many UK firms have found it significantly harder to manage their VAT liability as they try to send goods to the EU.

EU firms refuse UK deliveries over Brexit tax changes
Some EU specialist firms stop delivering to the UK because of tax changes that took effect on 1 January.

Read more (BBC News)

Businesses facing Brexit VAT pressures - Accountancy Age
Tax changes brought by Brexit will disrupt businesses’ exports and imports with extra costs and admin, particularly as the country leaves the EU VAT system.

Read more (Accountancy Age)

The VAT Implications Of Brexit For Services
UK VAT changes for services businesses resulting from Brexit

Read more (Forbes)

How Brexit changes VAT | The Wow Company
What we know so far Based on what we know so far about Brexit and the VAT implications, we’ve pulled together the key changes and shared them below. Due to the nature of the information, it’s far more technical than...

Read more (The Wow Company)


Things to learn from

Articles, advice, best practice and other things to learn for your agency and your role as a leader.

» What servant leadership is not

By Renita Kalhorn

As the world becomes increasingly complex and volatile, the nature of effective leadership itself is changing fast:

  • From maintaining power and control to empowering others.
  • From using employees as a means to maximise efficiency to enabling learning and innovation.
  • From the leader as hero(ine) on a pedestal to the team as the driving force.
What Servant Leadership Is Not
There’s no magic formula for servant leadership, but there are a few common misconceptions about what it means to put your team’s needs first.

Read more (INSEAD Knowledge)

» Why you shouldn’t be afraid to ask sensitive questions

Interview with Maurice Schweitzer

In the dance that is conversation, participants are often reluctant to ask sensitive questions for fear of stepping on their partner’s toes. But that fear is overblown, according to new research that shows that most people don’t really mind answering sensitive questions, and asking them doesn’t leave a bad impression.

Listen to the podcast, or read the transcript:

Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid to Ask Sensitive Questions - Knowledge@Wharton
New research reveals that most people don’t really mind answering sensitive questions, and asking them doesn’t leave a bad impression.

Read more (Knowledge@Wharton)

» How the discomfort of paradox can unlock creativity

By Rachael Noyes

The Covid-19 pandemic has crammed a great deal of pressure into our lives, but it has also created an unprecedented opportunity to revisit our own assumptions about how we should live and work. Managers and leaders have had to balance optimism with realism and find new ways to connect although they manage their employees from afar.

How the Discomfort of Paradox Can Unlock Creativity
The transformative power of holding the tension of opposites and learning to live with contradiction.

Read more (INSEAD Knowledge)

» The 4Ps of marketing that unlock Millennials and Gen Z

By Sean MacDonald

Most of us are familiar with the ‘5Ps’ of marketing. However, Millennials and Gen Z require different considerations for marketers looking to successfully connect with them. McCann’s Worldgroup’s global chief digital officer Sean MacDonald explains.

The 4Ps of marketing that unlock Millennials and Gen Z
Most of us are familiar with the ‘5Ps’ of marketing. However, Millennials and Gen Z require different considerations for marketers looking to successfully connect with them. McCann’s Worldgroup’s global chief digital officer Sean MacDonald explains.

Read more (The Drum)


What’s going on

Here's some dates in your diary for upcoming events.

» Why is ‘Selling’ a Dirty Word in the Creative Industry?

12:00, Thursday 28th January, 2021 | Agency Hackers

Hate talking money and feel weird when you have to ‘sell’?

Learn how you can push past the ‘ickiness’. Join this discussion about how to banish your own head trash and make sure others understand the value your work.

Selling dirty word | Agency Hackers

Find out more and register

» How to win new clients in 2021

12:00, Thursday 28 January, 2021 | The Agency Collective

As always - new business is the number one topic for us agency folk.

How do we tackle it? What approach should we take, and most importantly... HOW DO WE GET RESULTS?

Join Ellie as she chats with AC member Laura Hannan - co founder of Pitch121 and new business veteran.

Welcome! You are invited to join a meeting: How to win new clients in 2021. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email about joining the meeting.
As always - new business is the number one topic for us agency folk.How do we tackle it? What approach should we take, and most importantly... HOW DO WE GET RESULTS? Join Ellie as she chats with AC member Laura Hannan - co founder of Pitch121 and new business veteran. We will talk about how to st…

Find out more and register


What we’re reading

Interesting and thought-provoking stories from elsewhere on the web — reading wider to learn more.

» The new leadership books to launch 2021

By Adam Grant, Organisational psychologist at Wharton

Adam offers 12 books in 5 categories (Fear and Courage; Isolation and Inclusion; Tradition and Transformation; Adversity and Resilience; Thinking and Rethinking), with a short précis of each — books for you to consider reading in 2021.

The New Leadership Books to Launch 2021
Looking back on 2020, I wish I’d spent half my doomscrolling time reading books instead. And by half, I mean pretty much all.

Read more (LinkedIn)

» CEO Secrets: 'I couldn't build a company on my own'

The co-founders of German nutritional drink start-up YFood explain why having two people at the top can help to grow a new business.

‘I couldn’t build a company on my own’
The co-founders of German nutritional drink start-up YFood explain why they rely on each other.

Watch on BBC News

» A new measure of business success: why data and measurement are key to a circular economy transition

By James Woolven, Editor, Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Measuring financial results, customer retention, productivity, and inventory are all commonplace, but these measurements alone are no longer enough to tell a business whether it will stand the test of time. To be successful, it is becoming increasingly clear that businesses need to consider their social and environmental impact — or else be caught out by changing legislation or left behind by customers.

A new measure of business success
Measuring financial results, customer retention, productivity, and inventory are all commonplace, but these measurements alone are no longer enough to tell a business whether it will stand the test…

Read more (Circulate, by Ellen MacArthur Foundation, on Medium.com)


And finally …

At President Biden's inauguration in Washington DC on Wednesday, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders stood out for his 'grandpa at the post office' practical clothing choices, dressed in warm Vermont chic, although somewhat ironically leaving exposed the 1% of his body that loses 99% of the heat.

Photo from https://twitter.com/rachsyme/status/1351924607465496582

The internet went wild with excitement for this image of Senator Sanders's inauguration tyle, and found all manner of places to discover Bernie.

Bernie GIF

And Bernie Sanders himself has enjoyed the fun people have had.


Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash
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