Philosophy & Competitive Advantages
The worst recession any of us can remember in the communications industry is quite rightly forcing agencies to face up to the need to focus more of our attention on doing the thing that makes clients value us and want to work with us – the quality of our work. By work, we don’t just mean the traditional mass consumer media of TV, radio or print. The work is all forms of brand communication we provide to clients.
In fact, at BBDO, the three things we care about most are “The Work, The Work, and The Work”. This obsessive focus on the work is our reason for being and our competitive edge. It’s what makes BBDO different. It defines us to our clients, to our people and to our competitors.
Over the past few years, network agency identities have become more muddled, less distinguished and, unfortunately, more like commodities than brands. Some have confused long-term growth with short-term tactics. We believe agencies are losing sight of what they do best for their clients, while trying to keep pace with both the globalisation of brands and fragmentation of audiences.
Yet while other global agency networks may have lost their way in the latest fads and fancies of management theory, or hidden their work behind systems and process, BBDO has never wavered in our commitment to The Work. It is what makes us accountable to our clients; it is the reason for our long-term client partnerships. In BBDO, the average length of service for our top 10 clients is now over 30 years.
We believe that The Work is the only true measure of an agency. The Work is where the brand meets the consumer. The Work is what touches their hearts and minds. The Work is what leads to the sale.
The Work is simply every communication we create to reach the consumer. Strategic research, planning and deployment are all dedicated to directing and delivering great work. All our resources, all our talents, all our disciplines are devoted to achieving work that is unique, powerful, relevant and convincing.
The Gunn Report is the only annual independent, authoritative and comparative audit of an agency’s work for its clients. It establishes the annual worldwide league tables for the advertising industry, based on the top 52 creative award shows from around the world.
Last year, 2002, BBDO was the Gunn Report’s most awarded network in the world. In fact, over the last three years, BBDO has ranked 1st, 2nd & 1st, according to this report; and in the last seven years, we have never been lower than second.
Winning awards matters to us because it helps us to attract and keep the best talent in a world where talent is so scarce and the competition for it so fierce. It’s important to our clients because that talent gives them access to the only legal unfair advantage they can have over their competitors - The Work. Work that grabs the attention of consumers, motivates them to buy, creates and then sustains brand loyalty.
Some people say that awards are self-serving. But BBDO and its clients know that work that wins awards works harder for their brands - and we have the proof. Four studies have been completed over the last 15 years analysing the business performance of the top award winning ads. They were each evaluated against the client’s objectives. The result: a staggering 82% of the most awarded work was associated, by its clients, with marketplace success!
As a senior P&G Director said recently: “Success at Cannes is more predictive (of market success) than copy testing”.
Importantly, The Work doesn’t just mean the traditional mass media. The pursuit of excellence in our work extends to every communication we create to reach the consumer. As an example, in less than three years, Proximity Worldwide, our global relationship and direct marketing network has already grown to cover 36 markets. It has achieved this growth by maintaining an obsessive focus on The Work. This year it has won more awards than any other direct marketing network and is already recognised as the global creative leader in its peer group, giving BBDO the capability to deliver high quality, cross border, integrated solutions for our clients.
So why has BBDO’s obsessive focus on The Work, worked? Understanding how consumers want to interact with brands is our start point. We all know that we live in an ever faster changing world. For example, in the last decade consumers have had more media choices than ever, more channels to watch, more stations to listen to, more magazines to read, and that’s before we even think about the enormous impact of the web and mobile telephones. Yet, over this period, with so many more choices available, the average time spent consuming media has essentially remained the same.
With so much more clutter and options potentially drowning out our clients’ brand messages, this isn’t a “new economy” or "knowledge economy” we live in. Rather, it’s an “attention economy”, a “creative economy” where the premium on securing and leveraging great ideas has never been greater.
Millward Brown research shows that the difference between the most and least effective commercials, in terms of attention, is a whopping 4000%. And since attention is what we are short of, engaging the consumer, regardless of the medium, is more important than ever.
It is our job to link consumers’ emotions, feelings and lifestyles to the functionality of our clients’ products. It’s our job to identify and focus attention on why these products are relevant to consumers. That’s what a brand is. And it’s our job to create them, communicate them and keep them competitive. The Work is about the power of ideas to emotionally connect consumers with our client’s business. It is central to brand engagement. As Rolf Jensen, of the Copenhagen institute for future studies, said: - “We are in the twilight of a society based on data. As information and intelligence becomes the domain of computers, society will place more and more value on the one human ability that cannot be automated: emotion. Imagination, myth, ideas - the language of emotion – will affect everything from our purchasing decisions to how we work with others”.
At BBDO, focussing on “The Work, The Work, The Work” has enabled us to grow when others have declined. It has enabled us to attract and invest in new talent. It has helped us identify which new clients to approach, which companies to work with and where we might want to invest. Of course all of this can only be possible with the continued support and urging of all our clients, all over the world.
Quite simply, in the absence of great work, nothing else matters, for us or for our clients. Come and see for yourself.
Julian Ingram 17.07.03
We are the regional headquarters of BBDO in Europe, Middle East and Africa. We have over 10,000 employees in 42 countries. We are the fifth largest network in Europe (Ad Age equity adjusted) and fourth in the Middle East. Agencies in the UK, Germany, Netherlands, Russia and Israel rank first in their markets. We service international clients in bespoke structures dependant on their needs and location.
BBDO network is present in 76 countries with 195 agencies in Europe, 52 in Americas, 4 in Africa, 44 in Asia & Middle East and 48 in Oceania
Network + 2 subsidiary / partner networks: Proximity Worldwide and OMD