Speak to the Heart: Lisa Colantuono, AAR Partners

by Dasha Ovsyannikova


AAR Partners
New York, United States
See Profile

First, please tell us a little about your business.

AAR Partners is an agency search consultancy started in London in 1975 and opened its doors in the USA in 1980. We manage agency reviews of all kinds and offer an agency growth program to agencies of all disciplines to help with their growth in various capacities.

How has your business changed since the pandemic? Have you held any virtual pitches and if so, what is your assessment of them?

The business hasn’t changed with the exception of all meetings/reviews being virtual. In one aspect, I believe it is much more efficient for both parties and many agencies/marketers have commented so. The only meeting that is more effective in person is the work session/tear sheet meeting. Eventually, I believe we will get to a hybrid model.

What’s your view of the state of our industry, both now and in the short-medium term? Where is the opportunity?

I believe the state of the industry is much better than what it was during the financial crisis. I also believe that the state of the industry is better than what it was at the onset of the pandemic in March. Of course, there is caution applied to all decisions and most decisions don’t go past 30-60-90 days. There is plenty of opportunity for short term project work especially for brands in sectors that were hit hardest.

Do you have any tips for agencies invited to pitch in these socially distanced times? 

AAR Partners Agency Growth Program provides constant education; tips; lessons and leads to help agencies with growth. They can also go to our Insights section on the AAR Partners website for new business nuggets. As for pitching during these socially distanced times, the vitals are still the vitals – clients want a trusted partner who will eat, breathe and sleep their business in an effort to help guide them through the turbulent and good times no matter how close or far they are…

What would your advice be to a brand that wants to give its marketing strategy a caffeine shot?

Think about the rapidly changing needs of the consumer first. Find a core insight and speak to the audience in a highly emotional tone that’s authentic. Do not do “safe ads” – instead speak to the heart, especially during these times! Most of all, have an agency partner who will walk through fire with you and if your brand needs one, call AAR Partners in New York to help you identify the best of the best for your brand! :)