Report by Tim Isaac (below) Chairman
2011 was a year in which our positioning was refined from ‘the change agency’ to ‘the changengageTM people’; a year in which we made significant progress in raising the calibre of our local office management to better deliver against our promises to clients; a year in which progress was made in integrating our specialist operating units; a year that put us in a very good place for further advances in 2012.
bates remains focused on the high-growth BRIC markets in Asia – China with three offices and India with four offices – and in the Next 11 markets of ASEAN, with global and Asian clients such as HSBC, Diageo, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, F&N and Ultrajaya. We are a nimble mid-sized network but with competitive scale within our ‘one company, two brands’ collaborative set up with Ogilvy & Mather. We summarize this as “big enough to care and small enough to dare.”
We piloted the changengageTM positioning in Singapore where it resonated so well with our people and clients that we ended the year having won 10 new contracts. We refined this positioning and refreshed our identity for a launch across our network in October. The essence of changengageTM is a simple and holistic embrace of new technologies. The emphasis is not on digital for digital’s sake, but on the benefits that these new technologies bring – the ability to engage with audiences as never before. We have since completed case studies that successfully demonstrate the values of this offer for clients including Disney, Castrol and Singapore Polytechnic.
bates remains focused on the high-growth BRIC markets in Asia... and in the Next 11 markets of ASEAN
We started 2011 by organizing our offices into three clusters and with our management structure in place in two of them – China and ASEAN. We ended the year with the opportunity to strengthen our Indian cluster leadership and we put in place new local management where our changengageTM ambitions have demanded new style and new skills – most notably in Delhi, Singapore, Manila, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai and Taiwan.
We have adopted a quasi-consultancy approach to leveraging our pockets of excellence and our previously independent specialists across the network. For instance, the ‘intelligent activation’ expertise of bates Sercon and the ‘experiential outdoor’ skills of bates Wallstreet, both in India, the discreet marketing experience of bates Indonesia and Vietnam, and the event/activation capabilities of bates MeThinks China. These specialists are highly relevant to our changengageTM offer and have therefore been fully integrated into the network to deliver greater value during 2011.
We continued to invest in our talent, with the second wave of our Young Change Agents career development program. Twenty of our brightest young stars were handpicked to take part. We also initiated a number of changengageTM thought leadership projects as a launch pad for our ambitious growth plans for the coming years. We see this as a great differentiator that underscores everything we do.