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Why teamwork is the key to success

AdLib: Media & Marketing with Michael Cullen


Pink flamingos on bus shelters around Milan are playing their part in Tourism Ireland’s new campaign with Lastminute.com.

Pink flamingos on bus shelters around Milan are playing their part in Tourism Ireland’s new campaign with Lastminute.com.

Pink flamingos on bus shelters around Milan are playing their part in Tourism Ireland’s new campaign with Lastminute.com.

For some people in adland, the Cannes Lions creative festival in June is nirvana. Pitch doctor and agency review advisor Una Herlihy regrets she can't make the south of France this year but will unquestionably be watching with interest from the sidelines. For Herlihy, the highlight at last year's Cannes was when Burger King's global marketing boss Axel Schwan was named creative marketer of the year.

When Schwan and his burger masters accepted the award, they shared the stage with their ad agency colleagues. It brought a smile to Herlihy's face. She makes a career in determining how clients and agencies together create better work. The more she studies it, the more she realises it's a simple approach grounded in common sense.


Pitch doctor Una Herlihy

Pitch doctor Una Herlihy

Pitch doctor Una Herlihy

"If, as a brand owner, you rely on your agency to create and activate ideas that grow your business and create profit for your company, then you must have a high-performance culture," Herlihy told AdLib. When Schwan was asked how he approached his agency relationship, his reply was simple: "One team - a partnership mindset." How apt. It's true what they say, the problem with common sense is that it's not all that common.

Brand owners spout on endlessly about partnership. They talk about having an agency that's an extension of their marketing team. But only the smart few really live it and, when they do, you can definitely see the impact on the bottom line and on the mantlepieces weighed down by gongs. How is a proper client-agency partnership mindset created? Herlihy could cite a checklist with a litany of tick boxes.

But, for the sake of brevity, she's happy to narrow it down to three essentials, allowing the client and agency to get over half way there. Firstly, culture is crucial. Take time to identify the behaviours of two different businesses and lay sturdy foundations. Firm relationships, collaboration, trust, respect and accountability should follow. Out of this comes great work. Secondly, being clear on goals is a must. Herlihy says it may appear obvious, but people are surprised at the number of clients that are not always adept at communicating goals that everyone can grasp and get behind and influence.

For their part, agencies aren't always gifted at working with clients to help them define the goals and put realistic measures in place against which they can be held accountable. "Surely, if we're not all pulling in the same direction from the get-go, we're just creating a rod for our own backs," Herlihy adds.

Thirdly, agreeing on principles or a charter to influence how the two parties co-operate to create better work keeps everyone on their toes. However, reaching a common mindset doesn't happen overnight. It demands guts and leadership to create and sustain a culture that uses the power to ride business hurdles and run with opportunities.

Herlihy will be speaking at a Marketing Society breakfast seminar, entitled 'Client & Agency - Evolution or Revolution', next Wednesday.

Q V360, the shopper agency chaired by former Ireland and Lions rugby captain Ciaran FitzGerald, reports that most Irish grocery shoppers make eight visits to a supermarket every month, spending about 34 minutes each time. When extended out over a year, Irish shoppers spend just over two days annually shopping for groceries.

The need for making a list is evident by the fact that 92pc of shoppers arrive home without an item they specifically left home to buy. A similar share of shoppers buy something different to what they had intended, thanks to in-store ads. Free samples in supermarkets can sway up to 79pc of shoppers.

Q Flamingos are hardly an every day sight around Letterkenny. But as far as commuters in Milan with an interest in visiting Ireland are concerned, the pretty pink birds are part of the landscape reaching out towards the Fanad Head Lighthouse on the Donegal coastline.

The bird, known for its one-legged perch, is photoshopped into a bus shelter campaign aimed at convincing Italians to holiday in Ireland. Tourism Ireland has teamed up with Lastminute.com - the travel site that uses flamingos in its ads - to drive summer bookings with special offers. Last year, Italy accounted for 363,300 visitors to Ireland, up by 5.5pc on 2016.

Q On the movers front, Sandra Gahan has joined Boyne Valley Foods from Jacobs Douwe Egberts. Garrett Hughes has joined Sweetspot Sourcing to handle sales and marketing in Ireland and the UK. He joins from Spectrum.

Q And finally... Demands on consumers to sign up to insurance cover is never ending. Two insurer campaigns currently doings the rounds on radio come to mind. RSA's 123.ie ticks the right boxes. It's ably written and voiced. In stark contrast, Axa prompts less endearment. Axa kindness? Sorry, but no can do.

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Michael Cullen is editor of Marketing.ie; cullen@marketing.ie

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