Our six specific objectives:
Creativity remains paramount
6 Our sixth objective is to improve still further the quality of our creative output. Despite the growing importance of co-ordinated communications and price effectiveness, the quality of the work remains and will remain paramount. If you drew a graph plotting creative awards (as a proxy for creativity) against margins for any group of agencies, there would be a very strong correlation. The more awards, the stronger the margins. The client’s procurement department fades into the background when the work is strong. Of the three things we do – strategic thinking, creative execution and co-ordination – creative execution is undoubtedly the most important, and that means creativity in its broadest sense.
Clients look for creative thinking and output not just from advertising agencies, public relations and design companies, but also from our media companies and our research companies. Millward Brown remains arguably one of our most creative brands. Witness the BrandZ™ Top 100 Most Powerful Brands Study published annually each April with the Financial Times.
We intend to achieve this objective by stepping up our training and development programs; by recruiting the finest external talent; by celebrating and rewarding outstanding creative success tangibly and intangibly; by acquiring strong creative companies; and by encouraging, monitoring and promoting our companies’ achievements in winning creative awards. Our thanks go to Robyn Putter, who left the Group in November, for his work in championing the WPP creative product and community; and we welcome the appointment of John O’Keeffe to the position of worldwide creative director of WPP. 2008 saw the second annual WPPED Cream awards, our internal award scheme for outstanding work across the Group. Your Company also amassed the second largest points tally at the 2008 advertising and marketing services festival in Cannes (please refer to our website, www.wpp.com, for further details).
At the same time we are committed to achieving all these objectives as a significantly responsible corporate citizen of the world at large and the communities in which we operate.
As a parent company, we continue to develop practical principles and policies for our companies’ charitable giving and services to the environment, education, the arts and healthcare based on best practice guidelines. We conservatively calculate that the WPP organisation contributed an estimated £14.6 million worth of time, skills, materials and money to social and community causes in 2008. A summary of the Group’s approach to corporate responsibility can be found here.
Please also see our annual and unique (in our industry) Corporate Responsibility Report on the work our clients and our people do in these increasingly important areas.