We entered 2010 with fingers crossed. There were few certainties. Little could be taken for granted.
But in one under-recognised sense, the advertising and marketing services industry is relatively well-placed to survive and prosper in uncertain times. Not because it’s recession-proof – far from it – but because of its very nature.
Every WPP company works in a fiercely competitive sector. Clients have an enviable range of specialist advisers from whom to choose. Client retention demands eternal vigilance and innovation. No agency can expect yesterday’s contribution, however valuable, to guarantee security for tomorrow. To remain successful in marketing services, agencies need to be alert to change – indeed, to instigate change – and be among the first to take advantage of it. They need professionals with open and inventive minds – always ready to challenge the status quo and work out ways of doing things better.
These are all qualities that our companies need even in the best of times. So they are, in a real sense, better rehearsed than most when turbulence strikes. Looking back now at 2010, it’s clear that our companies employed those inherent skills to remarkable effect; not only to survive and prosper but even to achieve market share gains against almost all criteria.
So it’s entirely proper that we should close this report with a note of recognition and deep gratitude to our companies and all their people. It is thanks to their creativity – in all its many senses – that the numbers we are able to report for 2010 are as gratifying and record-breaking as they are. We thank and salute them all.
Sir Martin SorrellGroup chief executive
Paul RichardsonGroup finance director
- * This letter to share owners should be read in conjunction with and as part of the management report set out in the section headed Directors’ report.