Is it making sure it’s made up of the most talented people? Or is it all about developing the right chemistry between them? After all, surely the combined power of a top squad should be greater than its players working individually.
It’s a question that has been considered by many more learned figures than myself. But a couple of the people stories we broke in Campaign last week made me think about the issue more closely. Dylan Williams’ move to Publicis Worldwide always felt like a bit of an odd choice for a man who lived and breathed Shoreditch swagger. Droga5 seems a much better fit. Meanwhile, Mick Mahoney’s appointment as Ogilvy & Mather’s new chief creative officer showed that WPP is willing to give you another shot if it doesn’t work out the first time round.
It has taken Annette King well over a year-and-a-half to assemble her senior team at O&M. Since Hugh Baillie plumped for Gerry Human as the London ECD five years ago, the agency has been plagued by speculation that its management isn’t aligned. With the arrival of Charlie Rudd, Kevin Chesters and Mahoney, O&M is hoping to bring an end to all that by putting a proper team together.
Since the autumn, lots of people have had fun speculating about quite how much David Droga was willing to compensate his lieutenants for the second iteration of Droga5 in London. The freedom to throw away pay benchmarks must be one of the benefits of being a private company. Presumably, Williams is going to be suitably well-rewarded once he confirms his arrival. With the chief creative officer, David Kolbusz, and Bill Scott, the chief executive, the agency has lots of talent to draw on, but how they work together will be key.
The relationship between James Murphy, David Golding, Ben Priest and Jon Forsyth has undeniably been at the heart of Adam & Eve/DDB’s success. You can see the role strong relationships play when spending time with other great agencies, whatever the specialism. PHD is one that springs to mind in the media world. It will be interesting to see how the Lida management team develops following the departure of Lisa Thomas, Nicky Bullard and Louise Whitcombe in such quick succession, as it was always such a tight-knit group.
Recently, I have heard stories of two members of an agency management team who are unable to pitch together, such is their dislike of each other. Now, there is obviously several stages of dysfunction before you get to that point. But chemistry is something that shouldn’t be overlooked – particularly, given its management upheaval over recent years, at Droga5.