SIR MARTIN SORRELL | WPP CEO
I'm used to it by now, but it doesn't get any easier.
"So what does WPP actually do?"
I start by explaining that WPP is the parent company and that all the client work is done by one or other of our operating companies - frequently in collaboration.
"So what do they do?"
You can answer that question either briefly but unhelpfully - or rather more helpfully but at very great length. You can either say, they're all in advertising and marketing services - which leaves many questioners little the wiser. Or you can embark on a 30-minute discourse on the subtleties and values of design, research, branding, public relations and public affairs, advertising, media investment...
I find them, still, as fascinating as I always have, but not all my listeners share that fascination. Their eyes begin to glaze.
So from now on, I shall be tempted never to leave home without at least one copy of this book about my person. And when asked, "so what does WPP actually do?" I shall press it into their hands and say, "this is what we do."
It is, of necessity, just a fraction of what we do. In his own introduction, Robyn Putter, WPP's own creative mastermind, explains how - from the tens of thousands of candidate projects - these particular examples were selected.
But for me, it's an exhilarating reminder of what our clients look for, what our people's imaginations provide - and what, ultimately, our shareowners owe their dividends to.
I hope you find this book both instructive and inspiring.