Agency teamwork best serves clients

17 October 2014

LONDON: The creation of integrated teams across the WPP agency network has not diluted the individual agency brands nor undermined their performance, Sir Martin Sorrell has said.

As chief executive of the world's largest advertising network, responsible for a family of more than 350 companies, he has outlined how WPP's pioneering collaborative 'Team' model enhances client service.

Writing in the 50th anniversary edition of Admap, which is concentrating on the future of brand communications, he explained that the initiative brings colleagues together from across the WPP network so that clients can access the best talent.

In an article entitled "The future of the agency service model", he added that WPP clients are also able to work through a single point of contact, a global client leader, who is supported by country and regional managers.

They marshal resources and foster collaboration for the benefit of clients while helping them to identify new local business opportunities and potential investments. In addition, they support efforts to attract and retain the best talent.

Another initiative that demonstrably enhances client service, he said, is WPP's Worldwide Partnership Programme, an internal awards scheme established in 1997 that encourages collaboration across companies and disciplines.

"Critically, every case is endorsed and signed off by the respective client as adding value to their business," he emphasised.

A recent example includes work by JWT, MediaCom and other agencies on behalf of Capita and the British Army. This proved to be successful because, in the clients' words, they "were able to trust the team to collaborate at all times, irrespective of internal operating company boundaries".

While cost-effectiveness is another benefit for clients in the current financial climate, Sorrell said the main value of cross-group teams is to provide clients with access to a broad pool of talent and resources.

"The primary attraction of the model is that it offers a much simpler route to a much broader range of talent, services and resources than dealing with a large number of unconnected agencies," he said.

Turning to the challenges and opportunities that digital presents to the industry, Sorrell did not underestimate the extent of the transformation ahead – it will be inexorable, unpredictable and indefinite, he said – but expressed confidence that the industry will manage and adapt.

"We're not new to this, and adland has navigated the Google revolution pretty well to date," he said. "It has also been remarkably robust throughout the longest recession in living memory."

Data sourced from Admap