At the beginning of this year, there was growing opinion in the market that Ogilvy had lost its shine. There had been a lot of senior management changes, not only at a CEO level, and the agency had dropped in the industry rankings. But as the end of this year approaches the story is very different, with the agency now the most awarded agency in the country for 2022.
Image supplied. Ogilvy is the most awarded agency in the country this year
Pete Case, who was appointed CEO and creative chairman at the beginning of the year says coming in then, there was a lot of work to do both externally and internally.
“We needed to rebuild the agency reputation and trust in market, while internally we had to galvanise the business and everybody inside it,” says Case.
What he had on his side was a knowledge of the business and its people, as he had worked inside Ogilvy before as chief creative officer, following the merger of Gloo and Ogilvy back in 2014.
“Fortunately re-entering the business I knew that there were many great and talented people working really hard in the agency, together with an amazing set of clients to work with. But that there was a lack of clear internal direction.”
Bringing everyone back
Case explains that the first thing they did was to set a new vision. “It sounds simple, but if everyone is working hard but just in a slightly different direction, it’s nearly impossible for an agency to produce great work and consistency, and that was what was happening.
“So, we set out a new and bold ambition. We then expressed to people very clearly what we felt it would look like in terms of how we each treat each other, what the work should feel like and what it should achieve.”
The timing coincided with the ending of Covid. “One of the massively important parts of our story is that we worked out very quickly that when you put people together in a room, your success rate increases dramatically,” he explains.
He says there was some resistance to start off with “But bringing our people together made them remember why they were in advertising in the first place. Many of those working remotely went: “oh yeah I remember now how great this energy is when we’re together.”
The agency hosted numerous Indabas, bringing together people across its offices and specialist disciplines as well as the different leadership teams and clients. Case says, “We certainly made a purposeful effort to create physical connections!”
Their clients followed a similar sentiment. “After the workshops so many clients commented to us; Wow, I have just been reminded why we are with Ogilvy, and I believe it was mostly because they reconnected with and felt the passion of our people.”
Finding a new way
A new way of working was also created, called the Open Engine.
“Our new operating system opens the agency up to a more collaborative mindset, introducing more consumer insights and greater understanding of where the consumer meets the product and where the product meets the consumers’ lifestyle as well as the media landscape around them.
“Essentially it heightens the insights you’re working with from the beginning, whether you are selling a bar of chocolate or a VW Polo, it gives you a much stronger starting point creatively,” explains Case.
Danette Breitenbach – bizcommunity