M&C Saatchi - Brutal Simplicity of Thought
Offering a candid look into the workings of their European network, M&C Saatchi’s top European executives passionately emphasized what binds the agency. “Brutal simplicity of thought” is M&C’s mantra, and it echoed through their presentation at AdForum’s Worldwide Summit in London recently.
Vicente Hernandez, CEO of Zapping M&C Saatchi in Madrid, explained M&C Saatchi’s prioritization of creativity is not just a business strategy, but a complete concept. “It changes everything about how we work,” affirmed Gilles Masson, founder and president of the Paris team.
M&C’s Masson defined the agency as a “confederation of entrepreneurs,” equating Maurice Saatchi’s launch of the agency to an act of independence. Indeed, the agency is undergoing a restructuring of its working model – eschewing silos for “cells,” or small groups of three people, each combining digital and creative thinkers. In turn, each group is empowered to produce as if they were their own agency.
One M&C executive has a unique view on the evolution. Dominik Tiemann, managing partner and director in Berlin, described the 2006 opening of the M&C German office as similar to a homecoming, after having spent time abroad with giant networks and independent agencies. Tienmann said his coming home wasn’t strictly one of geographical familiarity, but rather a preference for the openness of the agency itself and the streamlined way in which it operates.
In fact, M&C Saatchi prides itself on the speed and agility that characterize agency decision-making. The autonomy is yet another factor in M&C’s ability to attract smart new talent and turn out winning work for clients.
DDB – Harnessing the Swarm
At a dinner hosted by Chuck Brymer, president and CEO of DDB Worldwide, agency search consultants had the opportunity to hear DDB’s thinking on new consumer trends. Brymer likened emerging consumer trends to the swarm behavior witnessed in a school of fish or a flock of birds: bodies of community in motion, moving independently but in the same direction.
According to Brymer, swarm behavior promises to upend and thwart traditional marketing efforts: big messages that are targeted towards a passive audience. The new generation of consumers is more influenced by peer feedback than mass media. “Today we live in an age of reference, not deference,” said Brymer, where the swarm can’t be led or instructed.
As a result, DDB is finding ways to influence consumer groups and harness their growing strength and influence. The agency is helping clients to create and extend authentic belief systems, while inviting consumers to participate in the building of their brands. In part, this effort involves having key personnel – CCO’s, or chief community officers, within the agency who understand swarm behaviors and patterns. “One of the greatest forms of motivation comes from the collective force of people,” concluded Brymer.
Saatchi & Saatchi - The Path to Love
“Nothing is impossible,” is the message that greets guests as they cross the threshold of Saatchi & Saatchi’s London office. It’s the credo for the network, and the force behind Saatchi & Saatchi's trademark “lovemarks,” which have officially gone from theory to practice.
Demonstrating that “the path to love” is not an elusive concept, Saatchi executives outlined exactly how they’re working to engage consumers through mystery, intimacy and sensuality. “Beyond just being known,” said Sandy Thompson, worldwide head of planning, “brands need to be something people care about.”
One striking feature of the process involves Saatchi’s intensive consumer research with the real people who comprise the various demographics of their clients’ brands. Thompson’s travels have taken her and her team all over the world. These field efforts continue to unearth surprising insights – the kinds of discoveries that inspire deeply connective projects for clients like Pampers/Unicef.
Saatchi & Saatchi is also implementing a strategy called the “Ark” process – a two by two philosophy of partnership and recruitment that ensures the company’s gene pool supports a fluid culture of skilled individuals.
Euro RSCG - The Other Side
Capping an outstanding Summit, Euro RSCG hosted the final session led by Kate Robertson, Euro's UK group chairman.
Robertson offered a spirited presentation which shed light on the dynamism and breadth that have come to define the Euro network. "The speed of integration and cross-business within the company amazes me," said Robertson.
Executives from various agencies in the network introduced the fourth dimension, or "the other side" of Euro. Keith Impey, CEO of Havas Sports addressed Euro's leadership in sports and public relation practices which are "at the heart of our integration process." Presentations were also given by executives from leading communications groups AMO and KLP.
"The group is learning to love itself and work much closer together," said Robertson. Clients are loving the other side of Euro too.
Iris – Bring it On
Kicking off a series of “Speed Dating” sessions, Iris founder and CEO, Ian Millner, updated consultants on the growth of this London marketing agency. Millner reported on recent strides, including a new agreement with global giant, Sony Ericsson, typifying Iris’ increasingly aggressive and competitive stance within the industry. Millner explained how Iris’ investment in breadth, depth and diversity means their giving is now larger and more meaningful than ever. “Our people have made us more ambitious,” said Millner, stressing the agency’s people culture and reinforcement of collaborative behavior, and noting Iris’ place among the London Times’ Best Places to Work ranking. Attractive to businesses in need of reinvention and large brands who would have them work alongside traditional agencies, Iris’ nine years of ongoing success are duly felt in their progressive end note – Bring it on!
AnalogFolk – The World in Analog
Only three months into business, AnalogFolk are already being lauded by the British press as an industry “lifeline” and an “agent of change.” Fueling the agency’s momentum are the innovative tenants of its six partners – among them, Bill Brock, who spoke on Thursday afternoon about some fundamental shifts in the arena of communications development. Brock and the Folk team are reinventing what it means to engage consumers with brands, by recognizing that “humans still experience the world in analog.” AnalogFolk approach communications through a lens of product development, always addressing a idea’s utility, its potential to create culture - not simply reflect it - and the opportunity for a real life cycle, beyond the traditional “campaign burst” that epitomizes old school push marketing. “Clients aren’t fluent in complex technology,” Brock offered. “It’s our job to get them there.”
Nitro – The Spark to Ignite
Nitro, an independent, global communications group, occupied the third of Thursday’s afternoon sessions. Armed with their integrative expertise and a show reel reflective of their universal reach, managing director Kate Howe briefed consultants on the scope of their offering. “We provide the spark to ignite our clients’ business growth,” said Howe. Noteworthy case studies included the agency’s Russian Nike campaign, wherein Nitro created a variation on the widely popular “Just Do It” concept. “Don’t Let Anything Stop You” fronted an effort to encourage young people beyond all limitations and boundaries. The campaign bolstered the brand in a market where Nike is uncharacteristically not a leader, and became widely popular with Russia’s teen demographic. Nitro also featured work they produced for Volvo, including an interactive cinema game that was designed to reinforce the brand’s “we” culture.
Adam & Eve – New Elements
Little more than twelve weeks since their startup, Adam & Eve are already synonymous with creation. “We aren’t on a mission to be different,” said founding partner, James Murphy. “That’s just PR. We’re on a mission to be good.” Self-defined as “young, independent and creative,” the A&E partners all bring experience from well-established agencies. They pride themselves on their ability to hear clients’ needs and deliver results through new ways of working. Combining their talent in fresh, unique ways – what they term “creative teaming” - they’re able to explore new horizons with brands, engendering great ideas that can be executed across a variety of channels. “Total ideas are ideas that can play anywhere on a page,” said Murphy. Beyond integration, theirs is a fundamental effort to bring new elements together. And for now, it’s an effort that has them ranked number two in new business leads for the UK.
The Agency Republic – Bringing Brands to Life
David Eastman, CEO of Republic Family, introduced the The Agency Republic to consultants on Thursday afternoon. “We’re a communications agency committed to producing ground-breaking work,” said Eastman. Eastman refrains from calling the agency “digital,” only insofar as the discipline is increasingly pervasive throughout all aspects of advertising. Still, with one hundred people dedicated to nothing but digital – “digital natives” – Eastman believes The Agency Republic is better poised than most to manipulate the brand/consumer/technology schema. Eastman further differentiated A.R. by outlining its creative excellence and deft integration of creativity and technology. By way of example, Eastman’s presentation included interactive case work for O2 mobile phones and Mercedes Benz. In both cases, “bringing brands to life” required keen attention to detail and an answer to the question: how do you get brands involved in social networking in a way that isn’t clumsy? Both the O2 “Favourite Place” and the Mercedes S-Class “A to S” campaigns generated brand engagement that far exceeded expectations.