Another year, another period of management upheaval at Kitcatt Nohr, where the cathartic break with its past and its metamorphosis seem to be taking a painfully long time.
The fact that staff numbers were slashed by a third and that the agency’s assessment of its own performance was no more than adequate suggest that it has yet to walk the talk about fresh energy and an ability to combine data with creative potency.
So no pressure, then, for a new management team taking the reins during a year in which the last of the agency’s co-founders bowed out. In April, Paul Kitcatt, the chief creative officer, stepped down to pursue his writing career. Three months later, Vonnie Alexander announced her departure to spend more time with her family and seek new opportunities. Richard Madden, the chief strategy officer, also bade farewell.
And that was not the end of the departures. Three months after being named a member of the newly formed management team, Ben Golik resigned as the executive creative director to replace Ian Haworth at Rapp.
It all amounts to a new period of challenges for Hattie Whiting and Ed Beard – both former senior managers at Kitcatt Nohr’s sister agency DigitasLBi – who took over as the managing director and chief strategy officer respectively.
Unsurprisingly, the new-business year was not a vintage one. The one highlight was seeing off Rapp to become Bupa Global’s customer engagement agency. However, Kitcatt Nohr failed to convert a pitch to boost customer loyalty for Costa, the high-street coffee chain.
The opportunity to build from a stable management base must be the agency’s big hope in the year ahead.
How the agency rates itself: 5
"Last year saw big changes, a new leadership team and the launch of a new research-based tool to help brands create relationships worth having with their customers. Our focus on creating work that matters to real people has seen us grow relationships with current clients and start new ones, winning Bupa Global CRM and programmes for Standard Life and Saga. Fresh energy and an ability to combine data with creativity see us starting 2016 confidently."
|Type of agency||CRM|
|Company ownership||Publicis Groupe|
|Nielsen billings 2015||£13m|
|Nielsen billings 2014||£10m|
|Total accounts at year end||13|
|Accounts won||7 (biggest: Bupa Global)|
|Accounts lost||2 (biggest: Abel & Cole)|
|Number of staff||80 (-33%)|
|Key personnel||Hattie Whiting, managing director
Ed Beard, chief strategy officer
Sue MacLure, group data strategy partner
Score key: 9 Outstanding 8 Excellent 7 Good 6 Satisfactory 5 Adequate 4 Below average 3 Poor 2 A year to forget 1 Survival in question
Footnote: *indicates where agencies claim the corporate governance constraints of the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation.