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New-Business Development Team of the Year 2020: Havas

Account wins across its various disciplines include Starbucks, Lloyds Banking Group and a place on the government roster.

New-Business Development Team of the Year 2020: Havas

Hot on the heels of last year’s success, Havas has continued its momentum to become Campaign’s New-Business Development Team of the Year for the second year running.

A lot has changed since the group moved to King’s Cross in 2017 – not least that former chief marketing officer Tracey Barber’s promotion to global chief marketer in April has meant her 15-person team responsible for all 150 Havas Creative agencies now also operates globally.

This new remit saw Havas invited to take part in half of all open, domestic pitches in the UK last year – winning 95 pieces of new business along the way – while its 10 core agencies rounded off the decade with a cumulative 95 new pieces of business. 

Havas Media won Dreams from Starcom, Homebase from IPG and Starbucks from two-decade-long collaborators MG OMD. It ended the decade on a high, winning 62% of all the pitches it was involved in (16% of all available new-business billings opportunities this year) and earning the agency its debut spot in the top 10 media agency list by billings, raking in upwards of £95m in new billings.

Havas London landed a place on the government roster, winning the Department for Education’s brief to promote the sector’s post-GCSE qualification, with the agency continuing its three-year streak in the top three of the new-business rankings. 

Havas Helia added Comparethemarket.com and Lloyds Banking Group to its roster, beating Proximity, MRM McCann and Wunderman Thompson to win the two biggest customer engagement pitches held in the UK this year, worth £90m and £80m in annual UK media spend, respectively. 

Havas Creative Network wrangled 70 pieces of new business worldwide, with an estimated revenue of more than $68m (£52m).

Under Barber, Havas has homed in on its skills, spanning best practices, tools and expertise in key markets, as implemented via a new reporting and diagnostics process. According to the group, this allows agencies to identify strengths and weaknesses within RFI chemistry, tissue and pitch stages to streamline the pitching process.

And the process is clearly working – Havas Helia posted a 100% pitch-conversion rate, adding more than £6m in revenue in the process, while outside the UK, the group’s pitch-to-win conversion rate has increased by a massive 70%.

Last year the group also generated more than £2.8m in revenue by integrating its business across Havas’ own agencies, as well as more than £7.5m in revenue through new, integrated business spanning creative and media disciplines. The latter included Starbucks, Comparethemarket.com, Open University, Dreams and the Department for Education.

One judge described Havas’ new-business development team as a "high-performing, confident team under strong strategic direction", while another claimed "the results speak for themselves". 

It’s hard to argue with the judges’ verdict on this one. The group managed to exceed targets for the year, delivering 12% of total revenue (20% above the target set at the beginning of 2019), while tripling the amount of global opportunities compared with the previous year.

With only 15 people pulling the strings, Havas’ success in 2019 is nothing short of stellar. Whether or not this momentum will continue into the new decade is a different story, but either way, securing two consecutive years as Campaign’s New-Business Development Team of the Year is no easy feat.

Runner-up

Wunderman Thompson

Wunderman Thompson’s efforts in 2019 have been mammoth. Putting into action the newly crafted Wunderman Thompson Pitch Playbook – which features key tools tailored to agencies and designed to help it win more cross-discipline business – the agency sought to bring "a new sense of energy" to the pitch process. This came alongside the organisation of 11 "Collision" client workshops, which brought teams together to add a burst of innovation to pitching – and they succeeded in their efforts.The agency increased its revenue by 12%, with account wins including Centrica, Duracell and Peroni (surpassing its target for the year by 50%). Not a bad effort for a newly integrated team.