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Managing Marketing: Aligning Network Advertising Agencies To Purpose And Value

Priya_Patel

Managing Marketing is a podcast hosted by TrinityP3 Founder and Global CEO, Darren Woolley. Each podcast is a conversation with a thought-leader, professional or practitioner of marketing and communications on the issues, insights and opportunities in the marketing management category. Ideal for marketers, advertisers, media and commercial communications professionals.

Priya Patel is the Managing Director of Doyle Dane Bernbach Sydney and shares how the agency has aligned their purpose to the founders original ideas of harnessing creativity to drive business value and how interpreting this for the 21st century has required a renewed focus on balancing the core skills of strategy, creativity and account management to meet advertisers needs. 

You can listen to the podcast here:

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Transcription:

Darren:

Welcome to Managing Marketing and today I’m sitting down with Priya Patel who is the managing director chairman of Doyle, Dane and Bernbach in Sydney. Welcome, Priya.

Priya:

Hello, thanks for having me.

Darren:

Thanks for inviting me into your agency.

Priya:

You’re more than welcome. It’s nice to explore different nooks and crannies; I don’t think I’ve been in this room yet, which is a bit ridiculous.

Darren:

Well, it’s probably a function of a big agency. Doyle, Dane, and Bernbach; it’s interesting, I remember I joined the industry last century and it was DDB then but it’s gone back to the original name. Why?

Priya:

We recently had our global conference in Miami, and Wendy Clark who is our global CEO was very clear (and we all stand by this) that we are an advertising business. So returning to our roots and what we were founded to deliver, which is brilliant creativity that can transform business, felt like a really comfortable place for us to go back to.

And in a world where everyone is trying to be a bloody management consultancy or a data driven company being able to go ‘well what we do is communications’. We find really innovative, creative ways to talk to people about products to help sell more of them.

I think that kind of return to that heritage, that pride, that confidence that what we do has value is all part of that return to the name and reinvesting back into the brand. And in a world where everyone is merging, you look around, WPP’s strategy appears to be just to collide all these big shops.

Darren:

Wunderman Thompson, VML Y&R

Priya:

Exactly. And create these hybrids. I’m not saying that model isn’t right. I think actually with the scale of WPP it probably is right because they almost have an over-surplus of agencies in their own portfolio.

But I think if you look at the way Omnicom manage their businesses it is slightly different and there are fewer in the stable. And DDB is very firmly and confidently an advertising business.

Darren:

In a way the height of the madmen era was Doyle, Dane, and Bernbach on Madison Avenue doing amazing work for Volkswagen—you know the famous ‘Lemon’ campaign along with a lot of other major clients. I guess you have you to be careful what you take forward with that don’t you?

Priya:

Yeah. I think there is the legacy thing that you fight with, this perception that everyone is just drunk and at lunch.

Darren:

Another martini?

Priya:

Absolutely. There is this perception that if you look backwards and you talk about advertising models you’re not engaged with new technologies or channels or that you’re basically at lunch and you’re getting hammered.

But I don’t think those are the attributes we’re taking forward. The bits that we’re taking forward are these really innovative, creative, brilliant ways of talking about products that surprise and delight consumers.

That’s the bit we’re trying to pull out not whisky at breakfast although it’s quite tempting.

Darren:

A bottle of whisky in the bottom drawer of the filing cabinet for that nip after morning tea. Bill Bernbach provided huge amounts of quotable quotes that are just as relevant today as they were back then.

Priya:

Absolutely.

Darren:

Is that part of the focus here, getting back to what it is that actually drives businesses and what’s the role of advertising and creativity in doing that?

Priya:

I definitely think so. I’d say Bill Bernbach is never knowingly under-quoted here; he is wheeled out on an almost daily basis. Because as you say what he says is still so profoundly true about the nature of human beings and their unchanging nature.

And therefore the way in which you talk or communicate to people remains eternally fixed in a way. The channels with which you might approach them or get to them are different but the types of conversations, the things that people care about don’t change.

This idea of unchanging man is really at the heart of a lot of what we’re thinking about here at DDB and you connect on that emotional not just rational basis. That then ties in with what great creativity might look like because if it’s about unlocking a more emotional part of your brain not just a rational part of your brain. Then it changes a little bit the type of creativity you do.

Darren:

Now, you’ve been here at Doyle, Dane, and Bernbach (I love saying that) Sydney for almost a year as managing director. But this is not your first managing director role is it?

Priya:

No, it is not.

Darren:

Previously you’ve been managing director at Y&R in London, which is a WPP agency.

Priya:

It is.

Darren:

Which is now called VML Y&R but what was it called then?

Priya:

It was called Rainey, Kelly, Campbell, Roalfe/Y&R—I used to call it Rainey Kelly but there are so many acronyms.

Darren:

Isn’t it great how agencies that talk about branding create such distorted brands by putting everyone’s name on the wall or door?

Priya:

Absolutely. So, it was Rainey’s back in my day.

Darren:

Which was a very well credentialed and high profile agency wasn’t it? It did some great work.

Priya:

I think the DNA is quite similar to here; big UK High Street brands, Land Rover, Marks & Spencer, Lloyds, Virgin—they were the big brands I worked on at the time. So we had Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Media, Virgin Mobile.

Darren:

While Y&R was a US brand like DDB, Rainey’s was very much a London agency culture wasn’t it?

Priya:

Yes, definitely. One of the reasons I stayed so long in that network is because they treated each of the shops as a boutique local shop, if that makes sense. They were a network of boutique local shops so you had a London culture, a Prague culture, a Dusseldorf culture and each one brought something up to the Y&R network.

But they also did something on the ground locally that felt really relevant.

Darren:

Which is important isn’t it because advertising at its best is ground in cultural nuance or understanding as a way of communicating.

Priya:

Definitely. I think the reason those brands were so successful was that they did very much tap into the British psyche. Marks & Spencer was the British High Street brought to life. Lloyds is a very British bank.

All of those brands definitely played and leveraged that British space and the cultural insights around being in Britain at the time.

Darren:

So you fly from being managing director at Rainey’s, half way around the world to the antipodes where the convicts hang out and you’ve ended up as the managing director at DDB. What, for you, are the biggest differences and what are the similarities? Let’s start with the differences–from an advertising perspective.

The weather’s nicer but as a managing director of a major network agency it’s quite different isn’t it, network agencies compared to small independents?

Priya:

There is always the responsibility further up the chain; you can never escape the power of the network. You are reporting quarterly in terms of everything; people news, new business news, P&L, and I think that is very different to a small agency or an independent.

For me I suppose the difference is the weightings of each department. That was the one thing I really noticed the most. In the U.K. it felt very evenly balanced; you’d have strategy, account handling, and planning, and they were broadly 30/ 30/ 30.

Each of those departments had a good load of people in them whereas I’ve found here that strategy departments are much smaller. We’ve got a big one and we’ve got 10 people and that’s considered a big planning department.

Darren:

But London was considered the home of strategy planning wasn’t it?

Priya:

Yes.

Darren:

That’s why you’ve got the three legs of the stool.

Priya:

Exactly. I suppose I still believe in the three legs of the stool. I think if you don’t have that group of people who each can bring a slightly different component to the mix the stool does tip over.

I love strategists. I love working with people who actually interrogate the business problem and really try and understand the client business problem and really try and find solutions for that.

And when you don’t have that bit that’s when your position gets devalued because you just become these fluffy people that come in on top and do some nice shiny things but you’re not actually understanding the commercial or audience imperative or really smart thinking that can unlock a brand.

If you don’t start from there you put a lot of weight of responsibility on the creative department to solve both the business and the brand problem. So, I really value strategy and I think it’s a massively important component of what we do.

I think great suiting should obviously be more than lunches and martinis.

Darren:

Is it account service or account management?

Priya:

I suppose I use the two interchangeably. Maybe I should be clear on the distinction. There is an element of management that I prefer. Service sets this weird kind of servile position.

Darren:

Sorry, it was a trick question.

Priya:

It was a trick question—fair enough.

Darren:

And the reason is I get a big insight into an agency’s culture when the CEO, MD takes me for a walk around the agency and goes, ‘this is our creative department, here’s our production people, there’s strategy over there and here’s our accounts service team’ and I go ‘right, so you’re here to service the client?’

Whereas I think it’s much more important to have a group of business professionals that manage the client’s business for the agency and the client.

Priya:

Our core business is business management, it’s what we call our department and that’s exactly what they do.

Darren:

So where’s suiting come from? You use this term ‘suiting’.

Priya:

I suppose that’s my old school back in the day DBB training, I suppose I also use it jokingly—maybe that erodes the value of what we do but the idea of suiting is that you’re the handler of things, the circus controller, the manager of everything.

Darren:

I’m not saying you’re wrong; I’m just really interested because I go back to the time I was a creative and our biggest putdown was calling someone an ‘empty suit’, the ‘hollow suit’.

Priya:

Yes.

Darren:

It was literally the bag carrier who would go back and forwards—that’s all the empty suit could do is sit there and resonate with the criticisms from the client back into the creative department.

Priya:

I suppose the reason I’m not allergic to suiting is that I do think it adds a level of professionalism that I think advertising is sometimes considered to not have. Maybe that’s why I jokingly use it as well.

It’s like the professional veneer, the actual management, the people skills, the management of money and responsibility for large volumes of money and doing it in a very professional way.

But you’re right; the empty suit is probably the crappiest thing you can be in the industry.

Darren:

I was interested because I think language is so important; the way we communicate on behalf of our clients with the consumer is all based on language. It’s very interesting the way we describe the way the industry works.

Priya:

Yeah.

Darren:

But I cut you off. You were talking about the suiting and creative. And if you don’t have strategy then there can be tension in account management and creative.

Priya:

I feel like I’ve walked into an agency where there was maybe a tiny bit of that rub where the creative people are the ones who come up with all the ideas and do all of the hard work and then the bag carrier enters and says, ‘the client says X, Y, and Z.

And a large part of what we’ve been trying to do is make everyone work much more seamlessly together and make it collaborative—that everyone can be responsible for helping crack the business problem. And it doesn’t matter what department you’re in, you can add value to that creative process.

As a business manager, a creative person, a strategist coming together you’re more likely to answer, fix or solve what that client needs or wants because you all bring a different knowledge or piece of the puzzle to make it better.

Working more closely with creative, making it much more informal—one thing I would do in the UK is regularly pop into a creative’s office and just have a chat with them about where they were at with the brief or what they were stuck on—bounce ideas off me before going to see their CD—‘is this the right thing? Have we got the brief right?’ And I’m used to that absolute closeness of relationship.

Darren:

That’s the best way to encourage collaboration; is by breaking down those walls and silos, and people just talking to each other—it’s an amazing innovation isn’t it?

Priya:

And I think some of the formality around reviewing, which I felt was a little bit odd, where creatives were presenting to business management and it shouldn’t feel like another client presentation before the client presentation.

It should be a bunch of stuff stuck on a wall and a good suit or business manager would walk into that room and add value to the ideas, build on the ideas. It’s not their job to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’, or ‘you can’t present this’. The way you speak to people, the way you encourage and build creativity is about ‘you don’t get to say ‘no’ to anything in this room’.

You get to say, ‘we could make this better by doing this’ or ‘have you thought about this?’ You should be a source of inspiration as a business manager for creatives, not another road block or set of problems.

Darren:

I have a wine-maker friend, Brian Fletcher, and he’s won numerous medals for wines he’s made but he always said when he was making a wine he’d take it up to the office and get the women in the office to try the wine and get their feedback because ultimately they’re the end consumer so he was wanting to know what they thought.

He could make any wine he liked but he had to get that feedback. Sure there’s research but I don’t think we should always research creative ideas. Research is great for informing us about what people think now but I also think agencies would have a lot going for them if they were willing to be more open to having lots of different inputs.

Priya:

That’s an interesting point isn’t it? You get to this cul de sac where you’re testing ideas to decide which one is right and you’re relying on 8 random strangers in the room to tell you something they can’t imagine because they don’t work in that industry, they don’t have the visual imagination, the stimulus is always vaguely inadequate.

Darren:

And one of them says, ‘so is it going to be a cartoon’ because it’s a hand-rendered animation.

Priya:

Exactly, so finding a better model but again this is where it all comes down to brilliant business management, make a client feel listened to, involved in part of the process; they structure it so it is entirely a collaboration.

I think creatives and clients should meet and speak to each other regularly. There shouldn’t be this weird relay race where I get handed a piece of work and I go and present it to the client and they feed back and I hand it back.

We need to create an environment where everybody gets into the room and has a chat; what do I think, what do you think, is it right or wrong or what’s the problem?

Darren:

I used to object to being positioned as being a copywriter as ‘we’ll bring the creatives in’ as if we were the sideshow to be brought into the meeting with the client.

Priya:

I personally believe they should be in there leading and helping the discussion. It shouldn’t really be a side show; it should be a team of people; a strategist, a creative and a business manager going ‘this is what we think your business needs. This is why its commercially viable. This is who we should be talking to. This is why we think it’s right for you’.

That’s a collective conversation. I don’t even think there are necessarily fixed roles. I love presenting strategy. I love reading scripts and presenting ideas. I was trained at DDB. I did my grad scheme at DDB in London way back.

Darren:

So you’re a return visitor?

Priya:

Yeah, I’m a boomerang. You learnt presentation skills, how to persuade somebody when they can’t imagine or see yet and bring it to life. I don’t think that’s the sole responsibility of creatives that’s why everybody has to be in it together.

If you know your client you also know what’s going to persuade them, what kind of stuff they like, what they can imagine in their heads, what their capability is. And you can help get things over the line with that knowledge.

Darren:

Priya, I just want to go back to something you mentioned earlier, which was the role of strategy in London is really to frame or give context to the business problem from a business perspective and then allow the account management team and creatives to leap off that platform to create the communications solution.

Do you think that the lack of that framing or platform is often one of the reasons the business world sees advertising and even the marketing department as the colouring-in department? Because they only ever see the creative part, the show rather than all of the deep thinking that goes behind it?

Priya:

I’m a massive believer in trying to prove the impact of creativity on business. If we can’t show a bottom line or ROI result then it’s almost like the colouring-in department. And strategists can help you do that. They can help measure the tangible impact of what we do on the bottom line, both short-term and long-term.

Les Binet is part of our stable. He was running this weird econometrics unit when I started at DDB and his work to demonstrate across multiple brands, categories what creativity can bring to the bottom line is vital.

And unless you can talk to clients about that and start there; creativity adds value then you’re kind of nowhere, you are always the colouring-in department, marketing is always the colouring-in department.

When I look at our clients, we are so lucky we have a seat at the CEO table, we have a voice with Brian Hartzer and Andrew Gregory. They are open and recognise the value of marketing and creative communications so you’ve got that buy-in from the most senior person.

Darren:

Well Brian has a marketing background so that’s a real strength. I think more CEOs should come from marketing or at least have a deep understanding of the opportunity.

Priya:

I think you’re right. And the way to unlock that conversation is to talk about the business, the commercials so it’s not just about ‘it’d be nice to have a strong brand’; it’s ‘when you have a strong brand’. And when you are a creative force you can drive X, Y, Z results on to your business.

You can defend that to shareholders and whoever you need to. And it all comes down to again the measurement or tracking system so you can actually show a result. And I think that’s been one of the challenges of advertising and creative comms; how do you actually measure the impact on a piece of business? And how do you price and value that impact?

Sometimes you can create something that’s going to make that company trillions and sometimes you might create something that’s a dud, a non-starter. So, how you price it, value it, give it a commercial impact is a massive challenge that we have has as an industry.

Darren:

I’m sitting here listening to you and 15 years ago we started talking to both clients, marketers and agencies about the need to move agency remuneration fees to a performance-based model. The trouble is both marketers and agencies still struggle today with the measurement of performance.

There are two parts to it and this is coming up in the conversation around the work from Field and Binet, of short and long-term performance. Because if we only measure short-term it’s all about sales, what sales did we get this month, and yet the real value is not just delivering the short-term sales but it’s actually filling that funnel for the next 2 or 3 years.

Priya:

Absolutely.

Darren:

So that you get the audience or potential customer putting you on the consideration list so that when the time comes you get that sale.

Priya:

Absolutely.

Darren:

It’s still the conundrum that the market is dealing with.

Priya:

I suppose that’s why I’m not sure that hours-based pricing is broken or wrong. I do always compare ourselves to lawyers or consultancies in different ways. Charging by the hour for a specialist service I’m not sure is a broken model.

If you look at the way lawyers or consultancies work you can’t actually guarantee their outcomes either. You don’t know when you secure a lawyer whether you’re going to win in court. You don’t know when you pay a consultancy for a cost-saving exercise that you’re definitely going to get a business model that functions at the end of it.

In the same way, when you pay an advertising or communications specialist you don’t know that you’re going to get exactly what you want. But you’re trusting and empowering some specialists that you believe have the credibility and the proven track record to do it. There is stuff that we could borrow, steal, believe that we are capable of doing.

Darren:

O.k., here’s my problem with that model. Firstly, accountants and lawyers largely do risk mitigation. Most law and accounting is about being compliant with the laws so you don’t get fined or thrown in jail, or mitigating the risk of someone stealing your IP or something like that.

So, it’s not directly about value creation and yet our conversation minutes ago was about how the role of advertising is to create value. So, if I was going to pick a model I wouldn’t pick lawyers and accountants. They do 15-minute increments. It’s task-driven.

They’re already under pressure to off-shore it to other markets where salaries are lower. A lot of compliance accounting is done out of places like the Philippines, India; anywhere that I can pay a lower dollar cost per hour.

If we’re about creating value, wouldn’t we be better off looking at things like Merchant Banks or private equity, who are all about return on investment and sharing in the value that’s actually created?

Priya:

Yeah.

Darren:

If you’re going to go down that road because as soon as we say that agencies are like lawyers and accountants you’ve pretty much said that it’s a qualified professional process that can be measured on an hourly basis.

Here’s my question. If I give a brief to you, how long will it take the creative team to come up with an answer? And remember I’m paying you by the hour.

Priya:

Well, it takes as long as it takes.

Darren:

But I’m paying you by the hour; the answer should be as long as possible shouldn’t it? To make the most amount of money and I’ll tell you why. The reason I left advertising was that I was sitting in a meeting with a client and came up with the idea on the spot.

And the account director said, ‘now, I can only charge for one hour of your time’. If we had have left we could have spent 2 or 3 weeks just refining that idea and gone back and I could have charged a fortune.

Priya:

You’re right. If you’re purely on an hourly-based model you’re going to drag it out for as long as possible, which I don’t think is really the intention ever.

Darren:

Then all you need is good account management to manage the client’s expectation; ‘We’ll be back next month.’

Priya:

I suppose my point is about a belief in the value of what creativity can bring. When I look at those other industries it’s unquestionable that they can bring some value. And I sometimes feel we don’t have that innate sense that what we do is valuable and we don’t, therefore, get remunerative value for it.

Maybe a purely hours-based model isn’t the answer. My point of comparison is it’s unchallenged for the lawyers and consultancies; they get their multiple and off they go. And it’s believed they will do something that has some value at the end of it.

Whereas we’re coming from a base where there’s a question mark over whether we actually do add value. So maybe the output thing is, as you say, how do you measure the impact of brand over 5 years and what that has contributed to sales? I don’t know.

Darren:

The conversation I have with both agencies and clients comes from a discussion with someone at the Coca-Cola Company, which is, what do you think are the two most important influences on the sales of Coke?

Priya:

I’d probably go with distribution and weather.

Darren:

Exactly right. Now, you show me the people in the marketing department or the agencies who can actually control those two. No one can. So what we first have to realise is that as agencies and marketers, the best we do is make a contribution to success.

We can’t control it because absolutely no one can control the weather, apart from god. If god’s in your marketing team you’ve certainly got a good start.

Priya:

We’ll be building weird shelters in the future I’m sure for microclimate environments.

Darren:

Let’s stop talking about control and start looking at the contribution that marketing makes and measuring the contribution, which is what I like about the work of Binet and Field because what they’re saying is looking at all of these IPA effectiveness award entries, we see trends that happen between when something wasn’t done and was done.

And then we look for all the possible influences and then what the difference can be attributed to. I think that’s a really smart way for the industry to go forwards. Stop trying to find empirical cause and effect because that ends up with last-click attribution and Google and Facebook will just get super rich and we’ll all go broke.

Priya:

The challenge I have with all of that is how do you build an agency model or a team of people that can service that short-term and long-term need and create? It’s quite intangible and hard to deliver creativity when you don’t have a remuneration method that is fixed or permanent.

If you unplug that whole sense of head hours or whatever you calculate retainer on and you’re purely basing it on ROI long or short-term, I don’t know how you correlate it back to hiring people, keeping people on the ground, building teams that work well together and create this intangible product.

I suppose that’s why I always default back to an hours model because that’s how you retain, incentivise, get the best people together in a room so that some magic can happen.

Darren:

That’s what is holding the industry back. Almost all conversations with agency CFOs are about cost recovery. As soon as you say ‘cost recovery’ as an agency, it means that every single employee is a cost and I have to recover that cost, whereas they’re an investment.

You’ve got to invest in those people and then you’ve got to work to realise the return on that investment. Now, even the language that we use as an industry; cost recovery, overhead multiples, profit margins—the industry works on a 2 to 2.5 (at the best) multiple and lawyers are working 3, 3.5.

Management consultants are working on 4 to 5 times multiples so they can pay their people a lot more. They have bigger margins to ride the ups and the downs but it’s because you don’t ever hear them talking about what their multiples are.

Priya:

No.

Darren:

They never get into conversations about the number of hours. Almost all management consultants will have a discussion around either cost reduction or value creation as the starting point of them putting the fee forward.

Priya:

Yeah, although that’s correlated back to head hours.

Darren:

Of course but that’s their business; it’s not the way they talk to the client.

Priya:

That’s true.

Darren:

They go to the CEO and say, ‘yes, we’ll create $50 million in value or we’ll give you $20 million in savings and our fee is only 10% of that.’

Priya:

Yes. I feel like the advertising industry has been under a microscope from procurement because of that. I don’t think we would choose to go in and report head hours and multiples but it’s been absolute terms of engagement.

If you would like to be retained on this client you would need to be 100% transparent all the way through your food chain and I don’t know if we’re alone in that.

Darren:

Because you’re a commodity; 1 agency, 2 agency, 3 agency, 4 agency—I can always find someone else to do it, which completely ignores the fact that people within that agency have a skill set, a culture, and a methodology that the marketer will get a better result working with that agency. It’s not about costs.

Priya:

No. absolutely.

Darren:

But the flaw is even marketers don’t talk about investment. They talk about their budget not their investment level. So, if I was a procurement person sitting there and the CFO said to me, ‘I’ve got all these expenses’. I think procurement are starting to realise that the marketing budget is not a cost.

Priya:

Yes.

Darren:

If it’s structured properly and invested properly it actually does lead to growth but that relies on the marketer to commit to. Because agencies, ultimately, are just one step down the food chain.

Priya:

Yes, unless you can get up and persuade that you are a growth-driver and an agent of bottom-line results, I suppose. It is about how you shift that perception of what value you can add. And you are right in that we may be quite traditional in that you look at your expenditure and then try and marry up your revenue and go, ‘how am I going to operate as a business and make it successful?’

I think we are all very open to more radical or different kind of methods. Should you link more to the marketing teams’ own performance and actually structure the whole relationship around that whereby you even work at costs and your goals are aligned with theirs and see what that delivers you.

Darren:

We have done that. We worked with a CMO. He laid out his personal KPIs (we took out the HR ones) but then we shared that across media, creative, all of the agencies and everyone got paid for the work they did. They shared in the extra value created.

You’re right; hours will always be, resources will always be a base cost but what we have to do is stop talking about it as being the only part. And it should be the way you run your business.

Priya:

The internal workings.

Darren:

Yeah. I don’t go into a 7Eleven and buy something and the person behind the counter says to me ‘10% of that is going towards my salary.’

Priya:

Even brands like McDonalds—I don’t know if they ask the farmer how much the feed costs for the cow they buy. They just think are they getting value for this meat? It’s not what I want to call our people but it’s the same sort of model, it shouldn’t really matter as long as the quality, the output, the deliverable is.

Darren:

And also what happens if the creative team come up with the idea in half or a quarter of the time? What if the strategist is able to break through the clutter and come up with simplicity?

Priya:

There are loads of examples of that aren’t there? The Citibank logo, which was apparently sketched in the briefing but has obviously added trillions in incremental value as a brand logo.

You’re right; in a time-based model you’d be a bit screwed. I’ve got it in the first 5 minutes but how do you price something as intangible as that, as the long-term, ten-year value of a property for a business? It’s tricky.

Darren:

So we find the best brand design agencies sit down and put a project fee forward to design the logo. To do the delivery they base it on a perceived value of intellectual property.

Priya:

But it’s often just correlated back to head hours; how much is it going to cost me to get this group of people together to develop and deliver this project?

Darren:

As long as they don’t reveal that to the client because as soon as you say, ‘it’s half a million dollars—that buys you 10,000 hours’ then suddenly you go ‘that seems like a lot of hours’.

Priya:

That’s true.

Darren:

It’s just half a million dollars or 5 million or 50 million dollars. It’s a price. It’s called price-based funding or fees and I think it‘s possibly going to be the way agencies will go forward. You won’t get every client buying into it. But it would certainly be something that would get you over the problem with the hourly-based model.

Priya:

I suppose with a lot of our clients you do start with the deliverable, the desired outcome, which is a piece of communication that is going to make me feel X, Y, Z about Westpac or convert me to this mortgage product. And I’m going to want 15 of them every year.

But the levels of transparency reveal where you begin with that because at the moment the way you do that is ‘here’s a list of the deliverables and this is the team you’re going to need and how many hours (roughly) based on our experience over 25 years it takes to deliver and execute this.

Maybe the back end of it is quantifiable. Like production is quantifiable but the front end is a bit more intangible. I suppose the way we do it is to try and accommodate enough time. It’s about just creating enough time to do the bit you need to do with the right group of people.

But maybe if there was more emphasis on what you got at the end or how you might remunerate for that. I suppose it’s just a belief that what we do has value.

Darren:

What we do does have value. We just have to find a way to make sure we get priced and paid for the value that’s actually been created. Look, this has been a great conversation. Thanks, Priya.

Priya:

No worries.

Darren:

The time’s got away from us. One last question.

Priya:

O.K.

Darren:

You’ve worked in London and in Sydney. Which is your favourite city?

Ideal for marketers, advertisers, media and commercial communications professionals, Managing Marketing is a podcast hosted by Darren Woolley. Find all the episodes here

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Darren is considered a thought leader on all aspects of marketing management. A Problem Solver, Negotiator, Founder & Global CEO of TrinityP3 - Marketing Management Consultants, founding member of the Marketing FIRST Forum and Author. He is also a Past-Chair of the Australian Marketing Institute, Ex-Medical Scientist and Ex-Creative Director. And in his spare time he sleeps. Darren's Bio Here Email: darren@trinityp3.com

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