Echoing recent comments by WPP chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell that healthy profits across the marketing services group are a “powerful vindication of the value of the services our sector provides”, senior marketers cited agency creativity and strong executions as vital to helping boost sales despite tighter budgets.
Cyril Charazat, senior director of the global Heineken brand, says: “Our agencies draw in the customers and the creative thinking behind this approach is pivotal. We rely on them to tap into the right insight across multimedia platforms at all times.”
In recent weeks, the majority of the major networks have reported stronger than forecast interim results despite the tentative stock market, boosted by a number of high-level acquisitions.
Sorrell claimed that the growth is helping to “beat dissonance” and agencies were “defying the doomsters” going into 2012, adding it is boosting “understanding of creativity and fuelling consumer and client thinking and actions”.
Brands such as Ford have opted to centralise their creative pool into a team format within one of the major networks. Jim Farley, CMO at Ford, works with a team of WPP agencies under an individual name across the world.
He says the collective thinking behind its creative solutions helps the brand ensure it is meeting the changing factors around car buying behaviour and can adapt it accordingly.
“The benefits around having dedicated teams of creative genius mean that we have many different options on the table when we are considering our next moves under the ’One Ford’ mantra. Without the savviness of our dedicated agency team, we would struggle to find a creative idea that we could really have a good run with, and that would suit all our customers.”
Mary Beth West, executive vice-president and chief marketing officer for Kraft Foods, adds the company only appoints roster shops that understand the importance of reflecting consumer attitudes towards the brand in its advertising.
“We have to continue to connect with our consumers to understand how they define value, create compelling value propositions, and then spend into them. Our agencies are pivotal to us connecting both intellectually and emotionally with the consumer.”
Creativity is in greater demand now more than ever despite tighter budgets, according to Sean Rahaley, global brand manager for Castrol Edge, who adds that metrics and robust media strategies should be used to offset investment costs.
“While we do place more rigour around what our agencies do to make sure that the ROI is there, creativity keeps the Castrol brand relevant,” says Rahaley.
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