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Breaking Into the Advertising World | The & Partnership CEO Andrew Bailey | AQ’s Blog & Grill

Breaking Into the Advertising World | The & Partnership CEO Andrew Bailey | AQ’s Blog & Grill

Hi everybody and welcome to AQ’s Blog & Grill. We’re excited today to have Andrew Bailey with us. Now Andrew is heading up a new organization called The&Partnership and he’s joining us today from one of their offices – could be New York, could be Toronto, we’re not going to tell – but it’s from a far, far mystical place. Andrew, welcome. Thank you Alan. Pleasure to be here. Now you’ve had already, for a young guy, a pretty active career in advertising. Can you just share a little bit of your pathway so far? Sure. So I started my career in traditional advertising at Leo Burnett. I always wanted to be in advertising and so after a couple of years of doing my time on the traditional side at Leo Burnett, I transitioned into the digital space initially with a company out of the U.K. and came back to Toronto actually after the dot.com boom and began working with an advertising agency that I founded called Fondue. Sold that company a couple years later and then I went to work at FCB, built their digital group and then on to BBDO in
2007, 2005 rather, to build up Proximity, which is BBDO’s digital arm. And then I left Proximity in November of 2013 and started a new venture with a
couple of business partners called The&Partnership, which is where I’m at today, as you mentioned. Can you tell us a little bit about The&Partnership because that seems like a whole new business model and I’m really excited I’m super interested in it. It is. I mean kind of [born] it out of the insight that clients today have a choice. They can work with a smaller, nimble creative shop that gets creativity very well and knows how to capture the hearts and minds of consumers or they can work with a big network which is safe and responsible and probably has media buying power and analytics, and we just think that clients shouldn’t have to choose between the two. What have you heard from your new clients coming in that they chose you because – I think they chose us because we have all the disciplines that you would want to run a modern client business today sitting under one roof. And because we operate under one bottom line, we don’t care if there’s more data or more digital involved in the client’s solution versus television advertising. So we really do literally get around a big round table as a team of people that are working on the same agenda, to solve the client’s business challenge. So that’s one piece of it. The other piece of it is that we, like a law firm, have partners that are active on client business and that tend to come from a pretty diverse background and have worked in more than one place. Another reason is that we have an approach that we call “high touch” and “low touch”. High touch are the things that we do for a client that are very important to the overall strategy, the big creative challenges and account management where you really need to be close to the client’s business priorities. We then have a low-touch group called the ‘Bots who execute the day-to-day delivery of a client’s business we think better, faster and cheaper. Because those people are designed to do that. What are you seeing? I mean your organization is fairly young but what are you hearing from clients and prospects that they’re very interested in? Are they – is this now a big data deal that they say can you help us understand our data? That certainly is a part of it. I think that what we’re hearing from clients is that they have more choices than they’ve ever had before in terms of going about solving the problems that they have. And they need partners that can parse and understand those alternatives and choices. I think the one thing that we sometimes lose track of in the agency world is that clients are exposed to a great number of factors or influences that help shape their business or the decisions they have to take to get solutions for their business are way more complex than just a creative solution. Perfect example: When we started working with the Wall Street Journal, we were in a pitch with them against a very traditional agency that had an amazing reputation and when we came to the table with a great creative idea, as did they, we also came to the table with a view on how we could help them acquire more valuable customers, keep the very valued customers that they have and that was born out of insights that we found in their data, in their existing customer information, and doing some modeling on how they were going to achieve their growth objectives that they had over the next three years. And that’s a very different approach than just coming in with a big creative idea. Look what’s happening right now in the U.S. around the number of big media agency reviews that are going on. Clients are very much going to understand that the context, along with obviously understanding of what the consumer needs are, along with being centered on the consumer, the context in how consumers absorb and move between channels is more important than ever. And one of the things that we did as an organisation was say that media cannot be divorced from our overall offer. And so we have a group called m/six within The&Partnership which is a joint venture with GroupM which gives us access to the scale and technology and all the stats that they have in terms of analytics and buying capability and that, in a world where we’re very quickly moving to very addressable media formats and customizable content geared to different profiles and consumer tastes. That’s a really valuable asset, something we have no intent of losing. Right. What’s emerging right now that you think that you and your organization is going to be able to take advantage of or leverage to the benefit of your clients? I think we’ve made massive – you know, the growth of programmatic buying in the U.S. has tripled in the last 12 months. It will probably triple again, or grow by a factor of four or five in the next 12 months. It’s an amazing shift and I think there’s a lot of things we need to watch out for like FRAUD?? and bots and all that come with it. But in any emerging industry you’re going to have those challenges and I think you’re going to very much see continued growth and sophistication of how we target consumers and what then the creative implications are for the ability to do that targeting and marketing to them. You graduated from a fabulous business school, Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, where we met and what advice would you
give my students now if they wanted to go into this category, what should they
be really good at, what should they be passionate about in terms of getting in?
Yeah, I’d say a couple of things. First and most important thing is that in order to be in this business today you need to be insatiably curious. You really, really do. There’s no world in which we do the same things in the same way and the technology and consumer behavior is changing at such a rate that you need to be able to want to download the latest app and play with it. Whether or not it’s going to stick or whether or not it’s going to make a difference to a client’s business in the long run, the market will bear that out. But you need to be curious about the world we live in today. I have a great problem with people in our business who are walking around with two generations of iPhones ago, or haven’t tried an Android phone or haven’t picked up a wearable because if you look around, just walk down the street and see what people are doing, that is something that is a massive part of our world today. If you’re not curious about that, you’ve kind of got a challenge. The second thing I would say is that you absolutely need to love what you do. You get knocked down a lot. You need to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and have the love of the industry and the business to kind of carry you through those tough days. And then the final thing I’d say, and this sounds kind of classic and old but it’s really, really true, is that you’ve got to be willing to do the things that other people are unwilling to do. You’ve got to be willing to read that extra research report or read the paper or consume the right kind of media everyday to know what’s going on in the world and be perfectly comfortable being uncomfortable in that way. Well, Andrew it’s been such a pleasure
chatting with you today I mean I’m just blown away by how well you’re doing and keep doing it. Thank you, it’s been my pleasure. And listen, i got a very good start sitting in your advertising class. I couldn’t have done it without you, man. Thank you very much. Thanks, Andrew. Thanks everybody for tuning in. I hope you enjoyed our interview with Andrew Bailey. Now you can subscribe very easily. Right here. There’s a button right there and so push that and you’ll be on our subscriber list. We’ll just send you notices when new interviews are up and ready to go. We appreciate your time and we’ll see you soon on AQ’s Blog & Grill.

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