Zenith unveils new global client-growth strategy

Zenith has launched a new "global approach", called ROI+, as it seeks to give more "upstream" strategic advice to brands while making "downstream" media buying more automated.

Vittorio Bonori, global brand president, said it made sense to adapt Zenith’s offering because advertisers are looking beyond marketing at bigger challenges such as digital transformation.

"We are trying to play a greater role in the client’s business, in the market and in the value chain," he said. "The agency business has been a transactional business. We want to elevate our relationship and provide much more consultative support."

Bonori warned that too many agencies have been "obsessed about the bottom line and margin" and he admitted "maybe in the past we’ve been spending too much time on efficiency and talking to procurement" instead of growth.

"Clients really need to find new opportunities to grow their business," he said. "Growth is coming from transformation."

Zenith has styled itself as "the ROI agency" since 2002 as part of its claim to deliver a return on investment for clients and Bonori said it will keep that slogan.

The ROI+ approach will focus on three areas: "upstream" strategic work to help clients with business transformation; tracking "the full consumer journey in order to design personalised communication at scale"; and maximising "downstream" media efficiencies through automation such as machine learning.

As part of what Bonori calls the biggest "refresh" of Zenith’s brand positioning in 15 years, the agency has come up with a new company mantra: "We blend data, technology and brilliant specialists to scout out new opportunities, solve complex challenges and grow client business."

Zenith has also updated its logo, turning it from a 2D "peak" shape into a 3D pyramid to reflect its three-pronged approach.

He said the previous blue logo was "quite cold" and the new look is warmer with a "human touch".

Bonori, who studied as a data scientist and used to run Zenith in his native Italy, took the helm globally last year after Steve King was promoted to global chief executive of Publicis Media.

Publicis Groupe, the parent company, restructured its media business last year by creating a matrix structure, with four agencies and seven specialist practices covering areas such as trading and insight that work across the agencies.

Bonori said that previously "we had many silos" and it was "difficult to get access" to all of the group’s capabilities.

He maintained that the new structure means Zenith, which employs 5,000 globally, can be "100% focused on the client" and claimed it is performing well, winning Coty’s beauty brands and drinks group Edrington.

However, Zenith and sister agency Saatchi & Saatchi lost major client Toyota when The & Partnership picked up both the media and creative accounts in Europe last year. 

Bonori insisted Zenith’s focus on "measurable, data-led impact on business results" would benefit creative work because it looks at "the way the customer interacts with a brand". "Then creativity joins the party," he said.