A view from the top
A view from Thomas Le Thierry

A view from the top

On my way back from Singapore recently, I found out what was happening in San Francisco Bay.

Oracle Team USA pulled off the seemingly impossible, by defeating Team New Zealand in the America’s Cup, the world’s most prestigious yacht race. The comeback hinged on Oracle transferring aeroplane technology to what are now "flying boats". This simple but revolutionary idea turned out to be a massive competitive advantage.

Such stories are sources of inspiration – they create dreams for people who aim to reinvent. It’s been ten months since we decided to reinvent Vizeum’s network, reposition the agency globally and redefine our offering. We launched Vizeum ten years ago in a handful of European markets and we believed talking about connections was quite visionary. After a decade, we decided to transform what was a "multi-local" operation into a fast-moving global business.

This year brought the official launch of our new vision, "Connections that Count", which we unveiled at our global conference in Rome. Since then, I have amassed plenty of air miles, travelling to all our key regions and offices, presenting our vision and ambition to clients, teams and media partners. We shared our progress with Dentsu in Tokyo and presented it to the industry in Cannes. The trade press gave us a warm welcome and were encouraging.

The vision enables us to move from plans to proper connected ecosystems. The traditional communication metrics are becoming obsolete as we move into real-time evaluation of consumer engagement. We are planning to go to market officially early next year with a global tool that delivers on this idea. I can’t reveal the details yet, but you can expect more from us on that soon.

When we won the global Burberry account, I saw our vision come to life. The way we are using innovation, technology and data to help solve business challenges is inspiring. Being agile and nimble is crucial and, as part of the Dentsu Aegis Network, we are able to be just that.

A quick catch-up with the Vizeum UK managing director, Richard Morris, reminded me of the innovative work coming from our UK office – such as activating a real-time digital out-of-home campaign for Mini, which delivered a personal message to drivers, and an agile planning campaign using real-time weather data for Stella Artois Cidre. They are prime examples of how we are already using technology and data, and adapting our thought processes to deliver results.

Award-winning work and market recognition are encouraging. Award nominations in Denmark and India for Prometheus and Life Of Pi with Twentieth Century Fox; the recent appointment by Pernod Ricard and BMW in Australia; the win of Sonos in the US and Western Europe; and the extension of our relationship with Total are all positive signs. We are hoping for more of these in the coming weeks.

All of this means significant changes in my family life. With four kids ranging from seven months to 17 years old, the focus cannot only be on business. We’ve recently relocated to the south of France, so not being at home most of the week means I truly relish the quality time I do spend with my family, re-energising by the ocean.

Thomas Le Thierry is the president of Vizeum Global