Agent Provocateur: Hybrid? Big? Or small? What is the right engine for the industry?

Does the development of the internal combustion engine have any parallels with agency?

Most would say not, but looking out of the window as I write I can see a nice car I use occasionally and a small older car I actually prefer driving and that does most of the donkey work in my life – when I’m not riding a motorbike, that is.

The big car is expensive to run but gives big satisfaction on a long journey and is up for replacement.

The small car works bloody hard, gets little maintenance and doesn’t really get the adrenaline flowing – but in a bind I’d go to the small workhorse.

So, in replacing the big car I’d usually have gone diesel, but now there’s hybrid and electric to consider, and are they actually the future?

Electric cars look good on paper but don’t have the range and create anxiety, and hybrids sort of work but are a bit wooden, don’t feel right and add unnecessary complexity to look after down the line.

In the high street agency world, it’s mostly the small honest workhorses with tiny high-revving engines that do most of the work for sellers and landlords.

Not maintaining and updating them regularly can leave them broken down, though, even if they are less polluting.

It’s hard and expensive work out there, so economical and sturdy diesel engines – the workhorse of choice perhaps for the bigger agents – have been found to not always deliver quite what they promised and have needed a mandatory software overhaul to bring them into line with modern expectations.

Like a big car, the upmarket agents can be expensive to maintain but have built a brand that can rub off on those who use it. But with big engines come big costs.

The new breed of agents look great on paper, but must be beginning to create anxiety, given that, just like new electric cars, the yawning gap between claimed and real world battery performance is creating anxiety amongst users – but there’ll always be a few early adopters resolutely sticking with their choices.

Hybrid cars can’t quite make their minds up, and to give an example of real world difference look no further than the ubiquitous Toyota Prius – whose claimed mpg figure of 94 is simply miles from its real world (according to Car Magazine) figure of mid-50s.

Similarly there are many out there who see hybrid agency as the way forward, but, like cars, the case is not conclusively proved yet for agents.

Me? I reckon the way forward for the internal combustion engine has to be Hydrogen, so luckily, none of the above apply.

However, if you take this light-hearted comparison to heart it would seem to imply that no one has definitively found the right way forward yet.


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