David Fox on Consultancies: Any Competitor Talking to my Client is a Threat

There are three ways agencies can deliver for their clients; traditional advertising, influence and martech, says Ogilvy CEO David Fox. Currently he sees Ogilvy as playing strongly in traditional, and plans to spend 2019 boosting its capabilities in the others.

The WPP-owned agency recently transitioned from a siloed business, with around seven different P&Ls, to one integrated business.


“At a senior level, people realised that we had to change or we were going to die as a business,” Fox says. “At a middle to junior level, there was an appetite for change but we lost a lot of people which was fine by me. There’s a saying: ‘if you can’t change the people, you have to change the people’.”

Fox says the company has now attracted the right people; those in the industry who wanted to be part of the change taking place in agencies.

Now that it has settled into its new structure, which includes four managing directors across Sydney and Melbourne and the integration of its digital acquisition Bullseye, it’s moving to launch a consultancy and PR influence offering in October.

Fox points out that consultancy is already a big play for Ogilvy globally, valued at around $25 million, but it’s yet to be done in Australia. Its consultancy will focus on martech, technology, growth and innovation, and organisational design.

“We believe that consulting in the space of new business’ innovation around brand and helping clients navigate the complex marketing technology space is hugely important,” he says.

The threat of big consultancies, such as Deloitte, PwC and Accenture, has been looming over the industry for some time and for those that have been watching, it may feel like agencies are now playing catch-up. However, Fox disputes this, saying it’s “perfect timing”.

“It’s not easy, we have to build credibility in the space and it takes time,” Fox, who is still recruiting the right people for the job, says.

“I’d take any competitor who is talking to my client as a threat,” Fox says. “Whether that’s a Google, Facebook, consultancy or another agency.”

“What’s happening with consultancy, and good on them for trying, is more competition, which is better for the industry. It just means we have to become sharper, so it keeps us on our game.”

Read the full article on AdNews here.

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