Beyond the financial crisis

In the long term, the outlook for the advertising and marketing services industry appears favourable. Increasing globalisation, overcapacity of production in most sectors and the shortage of human capital, the developments in new technologies and media, the growth in importance of internal communications, the need to influence distribution, the new focus on corporate responsibility issues such as climate change and the focus on global and country organisational structures, underpin the need for our clients to continue to differentiate their products and services, both tangibly and intangibly.

Moreover, the continuing growth of the BRICs, Next 11 and other faster-growing geographical markets, will add significant opportunities in Asia Pacific, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East and Central and Eastern Europe – along with the growth of ‘new BRICs’ such as Vietnam, Pakistan, Indonesia and Bangladesh. Advertising and marketing services expenditure as a proportion of gross national product should eventually resume its growth. In these difficult times, meanwhile, we are committed to working with our clients to improve the effectiveness (quality) and efficiency (cost) of their spending.

Given these short- and long-term trends, your Company believes it has the right strategic priorities – new markets, new media and consumer insights.

Including associates, the Group had over 135,000 full-time people in 2,400 offices in 107 countries at the year end. It services 345 of the Fortune Global 500 companies, 29 of the Dow Jones 30, half of the NASDAQ 100, 33 of the Fortune e-50, and over 700 national or multinational clients in three or more disciplines. More than 440 clients are served in four disciplines and these clients account for over 58% of Group revenues. The Group also works with over 310 clients in six or more countries.

These statistics reflect the increasing opportunities for developing client relationships between activities nationally, internationally and by function. We estimate that over 35% of new assignments in the year were generated through the joint development of opportunities by two or more Group companies. New integration mechanisms, sensitive to global and local opportunities, including WPP Global Client Leaders and Country Managers, continue to be developed. There is an increasing number of major client creative and integration opportunities at a Group level.

The Group continues to be extremely successful in most, if not all, of the integrated marketing competitions that clients are increasingly initiating. It is very rare for us not to reach the final round, at least. These opportunities range from the creation of teams across the Group to the integration of various operating units and to the creation of individually tailored agencies to meet clients’ needs. The Group’s integration record leads its competitors by a considerable distance.