The strength of the AAAA lies directly with our membership, which comprises large, multinational agencies, small and mid-sized agencies, media services companies, digital agencies, and other communications companies. Regardless of size or type, all members contribute their diverse experiences and expertise to the AAAA so that we can represent the industry effectively. In turn, we hope that our members are powered by the accumulated knowledge, training and information-sharing that we offer them.
In 2007, AAAA staff made nearly 250 personal visits to member agencies. These visits provided an opportunity for member agencies to voice their needs and concerns, and also to learn of new resources, initiatives and business tools that we developed on their behalf. The open dialogue that takes place during these sessions allows us to remain in close touch with members’ business issues and fuels the development of new programs to help agencies confront their unique challenges, meet their goals, and grow their businesses.
Thirty-four agencies were elected to AAAA membership in 2007, including digital agencies, media service companies, direct response agencies, and others with specialty service offerings. A look at the membership roster reveals that the AAAA is evolving to reflect the changing face of the industry.
The Institutes of Advanced Advertising Studies (IAAS) completed its 44th year in 2007. This signature AAAA program is an intensive and comprehensive training experience for young, promising professionals. The 252 students that graduated in 2007 represented 105 member agencies in eight cities: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York, Philadelphia and San Francisco. Some client companies that provided actual case challenges for the students included AirTran, Cisco Systems, Hands-On Mobile and Sunkist.
Through our 25 Councils, the AAAA offered a variety of professional development seminars and workshops to help members with their training needs. In 2007, more than 1,000 employees from member agencies took part in 25 regional training sessions ranging in subject matter from presentation skills to digital solutions to the art of compensation negotiation. Many new programs and speakers were added to the everevolving program in 2007.
Other Council Activities
In addition to professional development workshops and seminars, AAAA Councils sponsored a number of events devoted to information-sharing, networking, scholarships and charity, attracting approximately 2,000 attendees. Some of the 2007 highlights included the annual Cannes Lion Advertising Festival Screening, sponsored by the Philly Council; a GeneratioNext diversity event, sponsored by the New York Council; the Chicago Advertising Golf Open, sponsored by the Chicago Council; two Creative Symposiums, sponsored by the St. Louis and Twin Cities Councils; and the Senior Management Dinner, held at Atlanta’s HIGH Museum of Art, sponsored by the Atlanta Council.
The AAAA Forum Program continued to be one of the most vibrant and valuable activites for agency leaders. Fourteen Forums, each with 10 to 12 CEOs, meet twice a year to share information, lend advice and support, and delve into subjects of critical importance to the industry in general and to their agencies in particular. Forum groups set their own agendas, which include topics such as marketing accountability, digital integration, management succession, talent recruitment and retention, and new business development. There was excellent participation by 150 agency CEOs in 2007, which supports what we have heard from many agency leaders that the AAAA Forum program provides a service unmatched in any other industry environment.