Thought Leadership

Doing things differently

Industry leaders share why they are choosing change in 2022

Georgie Moreton

Assistant Editor, BITE

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It is not a cliche to say that Change is one of the few predictables in the year ahead. 

Where the past few years were defined by uncertainty, they demonstrated people’s unique power of adaptability and showcased the human capacity to embrace change. With the new year fully underway, uncertainties continue to remain but the experience of the past has armed the industry with the ability to navigate change and harness its power for good.  

As January sets in and the new year brings with it new opportunities, as part of our ongoing Choosing Change series we are focusing on the possibilities that come hand in hand with change. With this in mind, we asked a selection of industry leaders what they are choosing to do differently in 2022.

Gina Miller

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AV Account Director

John Ayling & Associates

This year I’m committed to becoming the strongest ally I can be and working with others to amplify the importance of inclusion within the industry and my own agency. I strongly believe we cannot be ‘pro-inclusion’ without actively creating an environment in which everyone in the room feels equally listened to and appreciated for their input.

It can feel safer to avoid uncomfortable conversations around certain topics but with no discomfort comes no change. We need to be aware of what we may or may not be doing to support others and acknowledge that it can only be a positive thing for everyone to feel they are valued.

 As a member of Bloom UK, this year I’m taking on the role of Deputy of Allyship working with Elizabeth Anyaegbuna who heads up Allyship and is the co-founder of Bloom in Colour, an internal initiative that supports women of colour in the industry. Within this role, we will be working with all of the internal inclusion groups - Bloom in Colour, Bloom Wombs, Bloom Neurodiversity, Bloom Pride, Bloom Parenting and M Power, ensuring all voices are listened to, important topics are raised and recognising the importance of intersectionality.

 Within JAA we have an inclusion group which I hope can continue to grow as a space for non-judgemental conversation in which all involved can speak freely and is a place where colleagues can also listen and learn. Many of these topics do not personally affect me but this doesn’t mean that I can’t actively support - that’s the point of allyship. In 2022, my goal is to continue my role as an ally but ultimately help others become stronger allies.

Jamie Elliott

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CEO

The Gate

I’m committed to ensuring we get better paid for our work in 2022.

IMHO this is the biggest industry issue that we face as it’s the underpinning reason that inhibits progress on many other fronts whether that’s genuine innovation, pay gaps, diversity or our ability to attract the best talent into the industry, retain and develop it.

We have been battling margin erosion, particularly on the creative side of things, for as long as I can remember.  The fight against it just needs to be stronger and as unified as possible, weak links are manna to the procurement community and set us all back.

One example of where it’s hurting us is in our ability to attract the best new talent.  The salaries of our entry level jobs - graduate or otherwise - are massively out of whack with what’s being offered by tech players as well as those who have traditionally paid more like the legal and city firms.  And, the gap is widening.

To address this and enable us to pay more and to enable us to invest more in talent in the round (salary and T&D budgets) we need to improve our margin – unlike the world of politics there is no magic money tree we can pluck from. 

So, we have to fightback - I know that war metaphors are not de riguer these days - but it is a battle: every pound, euro or dollar needs to be fought for and every gain defended.  We are capable of adding great value to our client partners business and this needs to be the year we make a leap forward in the way we’re paid for doing that.  It’s a fight I’m very much up for and hope you are too.

Megan Hallinan

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Head of PR & Social

MBAstack

While the industry experienced a multitude of changes following the pandemic, 2021 was a year of substantial change for us. MBA and Stack merged to become MBAstack in a very exciting move. So while many businesses were working out how and when to return to the office, we were navigating this while making sure we came together as one united team. Particularly tricky when you’re not allowed in one room together!

Despite the logistical challenges, we’re fortunate that 2021 was a successful first year for our new agency, but there’s always room for improvement based on our learnings. We decided the one thing we’re committed to doing differently in 2022 is to ensure that our new agency values (‘Spark’, ‘All for One’ and ‘Kindness’) - which we established collaboratively across the two agencies at the start of the merger – are truly embedded into everything we do.

We’ve always structured our thinking around our CPD programme, which we’re very proud to have achieved top Platinum status for with the IPA for many years now. By putting our people at the centre of our business goals, we can work together to make sure we’re commercially successful with a happy and satisfied team. And in 2022, by focusing our CPD initiatives around our three agency values, we believe this will help us to creative a vibrant culture wherever our team are spending their time, whether that’s in the office or remotely on Zoom calls.

In 2021, we set about creating a small team for each of our values, to develop a programme of training events and social activities to offer to the wider agency, such as our #MBAstackInspire sessions where an inspirational industry spokesperson comes in to speak to the team, and Mindfulness Month, which included massages for the team (once we were back in the office), meditation sessions and additional mental health guidance from charities such as NABS.

In 2022 we’re going to develop this programme further to ensure there is as much input from as broad a group of people as possible when it comes to building our agency culture. As part of ‘Team Kindness’, our DEI council organises monthly speakers such as Codilia Gapare and Christine Armstrong, and oversees our training course run by Your D+I. And Sustainability will be a key area of focus for this team too. As of 2021, we became a Carbon Negative business and we’ll be working with our clients even more to help them offset their own carbon emissions, alongside a variety of sustainability related training and events. We’re also introducing 6 new tools in conjunction with ‘Team Spark’ to ‘light the fuse’ for our clients (Dream Accelerator Workshops, CXM Narratives and Maps, Visible Data and Tech, The Three Chairs and The 6D’s).

We feel that all of this is vital, while acknowledging that our place of work has changed. Some people will want to continue working from home for personal/health reasons and we might never completely go back to the ‘old’ way of working. But with our three core values and our team at the heart of everything we do, we can create the same agency buzz wherever in the world our people are. And that will bring success for both us and our clients.

Tony Quinn

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Chief Strategy Officer

BBD Perfect Storm

We suspect Geoffrey Boycott is a name rarely referenced during a post-pandemic change perspective. Likewise, it is most unlikely that the erstwhile, slack-jawed doyen of English cricket will ever be referenced again. However, in this instance, as the one exception to tried and tested visionary rhetoric, he couldn’t be more appropriate.

Because Sir Geoffrey teaches us the importance of ambition, of setting lofty goals. When most cricketers of his time set their sights on scoring a century, many were invariably trudging back to the pavilion before they reached 110. G-Dogg set himself a new agenda, a goal of batting all day, and then the next - and often did, smashing all records and opponents as he went. Obstinate, belligerent, unwavering. 

It’s with Boycs in mind we look ahead to our post-pandemic world, with new goals and new ambitions in mind, to not simply survive and get through but to thrive and prosper, to embrace a new urgency, to harness a new spirit of growth, to not just look to build share for our clients and shareholder value for their investors but to make the world a better place in doing so, transform culture and cultures through the name of these brands, shatter toxic stereotypes, mend division, galvanise populations, challenge corruption and cronyism, ‘out’ the charlatans whilst celebrating the great and good in equal measure as shining beacons for the world to follow. 

We’ll probably continue to WFH Mondays and Fridays at least for the foreseeable.

We are the ambitions we set ourselves. We’re going high. We’re Being Boycs

Click here for part one and part two.

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