Connecting the dots
One of my previous roles was at a global marketing agency. We sold the concept of a 360 degree offer: design, above and below the line advertising, direct marketing, media relations, social media and so on.
But it was basically false.
The different disciplines physically sat in different places so liaison was no better than it would have been across disparate consultancies. The team with primary ownership of the client relationship was always jealous of that relationship. And underlying it all, each discipline has its own profit and loss responsibility, so we were effectively separate companies that happened to share a name.
Worse still, there was little strategic overview to guide the various elements of tactical implementation, so the sum of the whole was rarely greater than the sum of the parts. In fact, it was typically the other way round.
Internally, the concept of maximizing revenue for the wider business by selling the 360 offer was a good one. But there was no incentive to share clients and it was always only ever done through gritted teeth.
That was a while ago but I would be very surprised if anything at the agency has changed substantially.
And that doesn’t work.
As consultancies, we need to deliver a combination of the things clients know they want and those they don’t know they want. One thing they need is absolute consistency across all their communications, written and visual, digital and printed. That is incredibly hard to achieve when the various functions don’t really want to be working together, let alone be prepared to work under a coherent and cohesive strategy.
Yet that’s the basis for the way we operate at Leidar. We always start by working out a client’s strategy and messaging. That’s a given. Then we deliver the relevant content.
One of my jobs is to produce the words. I sit next to one of our lead designers. Our desks nearly touch. We develop the words and images at the same time, so it isn’t a case of me emailing a chunk of copy to be made pretty, or her sending me a designed document so I can fit the words into the gaps.
We operate under the same P&L so we’re not competing for a share of the revenues.
And what matters most is that our seamless process produces better results for our clients, more efficiently.
Senior Advisor, International Communications, based in London
Charlie is an experienced communications consultant who started Leidar UK in 2010. He is responsible for developing and implementing communications strategies for companies and organisations of all sizes and in many different sectors.