Archive for April, 2009

Publicis Global Takeover

April 30, 2009

The Publicis Group, one of the global leaders in advertising and communications, is on a world-wide domination mission. The group, which already includes some amazing agencies such as Digitas, Saatchi & Saatchi and Fallon have been steam-rolling their acquisition strategy of late with the most recent addition of Swiss digital agency, Nemos.  The Zurich-based outfit, which offers digital creative, Website development, and mobile and social media marketing, will be integrated with the group’s existing local digital operation, Publicis Modem Switzerland.

According to a recent press release, the group are aiming to generate 25 percent of revenues from emerging markets by 2012 and with digital agency operations already in Brazil, China and Korea – I wonder where is next on the list?! 

cadburys-gorilla-photo-bradley12

The Famous Cadburys Gorilla Ad by Fallon

LBi pinpoint the problem for Digital Agencies

April 29, 2009

I have been trying so hard recently to draw some commonsensical conclusions on the global recession and how it is affecting digital agencies. The press, similar to my blog posts, have been up and down with statements of how badly the recession is hitting us; drawing both positives (creativity and innovation) and negatives (job losses and lower revenues) from the black cloud that is sitting over the UK and beyond. 

It’s not like the digital industry is suffering really badly – Digital agencies are still thriving. But, and it’s quite a big but, clients are tightening budgets and making cost saving measures. The best clarification of the situation has been summed up brilliantly by Luke Taylor, CEO of LBi in a recent press release on the companies 5.9% fall in revenue.

“Headline budgets for digital are broadly stable or even slightly up on last year billings, but it’s project momentum that has been negatively impacted by recently accelerated organisational change within the client marketing function”

It’s not confidence in digital or agencies that’s being questioned in the recession – after all we all know digital marketing is the most accountable and measurable of all marketing techniques. it’s just all down to the clients – their industry, sector, customer base and product range or service. So is it fair to say, if you’ve got the right clients – you wont be affected by the recession at all? …that is wishful thinking.

LBi pinpoint the problem for Digital Agencies

LBi pinpoint the problem for Digital Agencies

Digital Agency Redweb Launch i-phone App

April 28, 2009

OK, a bit of a plug for Redweb, but the team here have been working extremely hard to get this out the door so this is well deserved. Today marks the launch of Redweb’s first i-phone app – The Wheel of Tea. It’s a massive step forward for our agency to create a bespoke application of this kind – we’re a design and build agency through and through – and taking the leap into new areas is both a risk and an opportunity. 

The idea itself, spear-headed by David Burton (Head of Innovation), is something of a novelty – an application which chooses who is going to make the next tea round. Moreover,  it was the creation of the application itself from scratch and the strategy behind getting it out there to the masses really being put to the test. 

This is a first-class example (although I’m a little biased) of a digital agency pushing the boundaries in the economic downturn; investing in new technologies and stepping out of the comfort zone. Download The Wheel of Tea now!

Redweb's i-phone app launches today!

Redweb's i-phone app launches today!

Digital Agency Match-Making

April 28, 2009

I was reading through some updates on Twitter the other afternoon when I saw one in particular which caught my eye. 

“OK. We’ve got an internet start-up who’s got £200k to spend helping them launch. And we can find just one agency who’ll speak to them. Why?”

Now as you would imagine – the salesman in me got a bit excited – so I messaged the guy I am following, Adam Whittaker at RSW, asking for some more details. Now I’m not that naive to think it would all be that simple – Adam mailed me back to say he was running the search for a digital agency through the AgencyFinder service. I’m honest enough to say I’d never heard of it until then. 

AgencyFinder is the internet’s first and only on-line and off-line consulting service for client and agency match-making. In simple terms, they source pre-qualified marketing agencies (Digital, PR, Integrated, Design etc.) for clients to help them find a suitable agency for their project and similarly, help Agencies find clients they want to work with. An interesting proposition…but does it really work?! – The statistics say it all.

In the UK alone AgencyFinder has so far been appointed to handle searches valued at in  excess of £15m since September 2008. 

I’ve worked for agencies before who have had trouble with not enough leads coming through the door and likewise, there are many big agencies out there who simply just don’t have the time to sort the wheat from the chaff in terms of new business opportunities. This is where AgencyFinder fits.

OK, it might not be for everyone – and it’s certainly not a free service (£3,295 per year to register) – but if you only got one new client from it in this tough economic climate, surely it’s more than worth it.

For more information contact Adam Whittaker at RSW (AgencyFinder UK Partner) for some more details.

RSW AgencyFinder UK Partner

RSW AgencyFinder UK Partner

Saatchi & Saatchi strengthen Digital Team

April 24, 2009

Ask anyone for one of the biggest names in global advertising and you can bet the words that roll off the tongue are Saatchi & Saatchi. These guys have been there, done it, and have a wardrobe full of the t-shirts. They work with some of the biggest brands in the business and have some first class digital campaigns under their belts. This said, it’s no surprise to see they attract the best of the best in terms of digital talent from across the board – their new appointment being no exception. 

Saatchi & Saatchi have appointed a new ‘Digital Partner’ in Marc Huijbregts from Agency.com – their rationale – “To send out a clear message about their commitment to digital creativity”. A press release from the agency states “He’ll be responsible for developing and executing a comprehensive strategic plan for the agency’s digital proposition, as well as for training and educating staff and clients to the full potential and opportunity of digital communication.” 

Last month I reported on AKQA’s appointment of a new Chief Operating Officer to add “more strength” to their digital team. And with both of these appointments in mind – it seems like the big guys are gearing up to push the boundaries of  digital channels in the coming months. Recession, what Recession.

Saatchi's recent T-mobile Advert at Liverpool St. Station

Saatchi's recent T-mobile Advert at Liverpool St. Station

How long is too long for a Digital Agency Pitch?

April 23, 2009

How long is a piece of string? – twice the length from the middle to the end, some smart arses might say…but how long is the pitch process for a digital agency to win a new project or campaign? now that is a question that could have endless possible answers.

I read in the press recently that AKQA have recently won the Fitness First digital account in a staggering 3 month pitch against RMG Connect. That is a seriously long time for a client to make their minds up – but when the pot of gold at the end is to create a whole new digital marketing strategy for a company worth in the region of £900 million… 3 months doesn’t actually sound that long.

I’m not going to get into that historical debate whether clients should pay for new agencies to spend their time ‘pitching’. It’s been kicking round for years, and the only agencies who seem to moan about how much it costs are the ones who never win anything decent. A cost of sale is a cost of sale, no matter what.

There is no magical formula in a client’s decision making process when choosing a digital agency – often when time is of the essence, a decision could be made the same day. Other clients (mostly public sector or very large corporates) have to consider a tender process which may take months before even meeting with the potential suppliers, getting slowed by invitations to tender and PQQ’s.

In my personal experience, I have seen timescales ranging from hours to months and days to weeks – it really just depends on the client and the project or campaign in question.  But one thing is for certain, PATIENCE is required no matter who or what the situation is. Too many times I’ve heard of nightmare stories where pushy sales people try to close a deal too soon.

AKQA win Fitness First Pitch

AKQA win Fitness First Pitch

VCCP Launch new Social Communications Agency

April 22, 2009

Thanks to fellow Redweb colleague Rob Murray for bringing this to my attention – VCCP have just recently launched a brand new ”Social Communications Agency” called ICON. The new agency, in collaboration with PR agency Resonate, aims to bring together digital, advertising and PR skills to social media to further stimulate conversations and social relationships between consumers and brands, and encourage consumer advocacy. WOW! that is one hell of a statement!

This move is a bold one, but for anyone who doesn’t already know – VCCP are a top agency who have produced many first-class campaigns for some of the best brands around. My personal favourite being the compare-the-meerkat work for comparethemarket.com. No doubt this campaign in particular has been a catalyst for ICON’s creation as it is currently pushing the boundaries in integrated marketing (mainly through digital channels!). Can’t wait to see what’s next from ICON.

VCCP Launches new Social Communications Agency

VCCP Launches new Social Communications Agency

Recession hits UK top Digital Agency

April 22, 2009

I’ve found myself reading over and over how the digital industry isn’t being affected that badly by the recession. I’ve even written my own blog posts with mentions of how the recession is forcing an increase in both innovation and creativity – But somehow I don’t think some of the former employees at digital agency, LBi, will be in agreement.

It’s been announced that LBi,  one of the most well-known digital agencies in the UK has made 150 staff redundant after restructuring. However, it’s not too close to home – the redundancies, in principle, will be made in central Europe and the USA. A sigh of relief?! not quite – The Chief Financial Offer, Huub Wezenberg, adds: “We cannot exclude more restructuring activity if the market situation will deteriorate further”.

Apparently the agency is looking at merger options abroad and has reported to say it’s restructuring will bring a cost saving of over 9 million euros. No small change. 

150 job losses in the USA and Central Europe

150 job losses in the USA and Central Europe

New Management = New Digital Agency?

April 21, 2009

I’ve seen this happen so many times. The moment a new senior manager comes through the door client side, they want to review the agency roster. Some argue that it’s just a way of stamping down authority in the short-term, but others will admit that with change comes new ideas and new ways of thinking.

I noticed an example in the press the other afternoon; British Gas have recently appointmented former HBOS marketer Rick Vlemmiks as marketing director. He has ordered a formal review of all agencies working with the organisation and given strict deadlines for credential submission. He has even tasked the potential new suppliers to giving “honest opinions” on their current web presence – this guy is not mucking around, but on an account of that size with their budgets…he doesn’t have to!

It’s always difficult to balance the addition of new client side decision makers from a digital agency perspective. Often it’s a positive outcome, but just as often it’s a drawn out process of the ‘new guy’ convincing people around them to bring in an agency he/she has worked with previously. Merely a fact of agency life unfortunately.

New Management = New Digital Agency?

New Management = New Digital Agency?

Time to dump your Digital Agency?

April 17, 2009

Revolution has recently revealed a compability test to see whether a client should dump their digital agency and start looking for a new one. The “tounge-in-cheek” test probes questions such as “Which of the following most closely reflects your agency’s role?” and “Which of the following most closely represents how you brief your agencies?”. It’s all quite light-hearted, but most of the points are valid to an extent, and raise issues concerning whether a clients’ current agency is resting on their lorrels in a time where they should be pulling out all the stops to produce first-class work. 

I would love to give this test to some of our Clients here at Redweb and see how we match up. Revolution’s depiction of a top score in the test below:

Congratulations

“Both parties are thriving and perfectly placed to see through the economic crisis with strategic insight and award-winning work. If not in your honeymoon period, you’re somewhere equally as good.

Revolution Magazine's Agency compatability test

Revolution Magazine's Agency compatability test