An interview with Richard Glasson, CEO of Hogarth Worldwide.
1/So-called production agencies started as entities that provided the heavy lifting for creative agencies on clients such as retailers. How has this changed?
Digital and content have changed everything. When we started it was all about localisation and adaptation. Now it’s about producing quality assets at scale across all media. Brands and clients are demanding a single view across all their marketing activity.
2/There must be a degree of duplication between what production agencies and creative agencies do. What will the balance lie in the future?
I think we work in parallel. The advertising market is going through a huge period of change and it’s true that agency roles have changed. But there will always be a vital role for creative agencies – focusing on strategic planning, creative thinking, idea generation and brand planning.
The triumvirate of creative strategy, media planning/buying and marketing implementation need to work hand in hand. We’re a huge supporter of the creative industry and one of our key roles is to ensure that creative quality remains high.
3/Advertising is changing dramatically with the big consultancies coming into the industry and, in your world, the growth of on-site agencies. Will this change the way Hogarth operates and positions itself?
As an industry we all have to keep innovating and disrupting. We disrupted the market by decoupling creative and production but it doesn’t end there. AI, robotics, smart data and the like mean we can’t rest on our laurels.
The big consultancies like Accenture and Deloitte are obviously impacting the market and the agency sector mustn’t be complacent about the strength, reach and strategic pulling power of these companies, especially with the advances in technology and digital. But we believe we’re well placed to work in tandem with all of these players.
As for on-site agencies we’re always offered these, to both agencies and advertisers. They’re invaluable for fast turnaround product with lots of changes. But technology means that you also need big, incredibly well resourced centres of excellence at the core of the business.
4/You are now a worldwide business. Are there any new geographies and areas of business you’re targeting?
We’ve recently opened Hogarth Australia pulling together all the individual production units of WPP AUNZ which now includes all the agencies that were part of Australia’s biggest agency group STW and Hogarth Australia is an exciting development for us. The same will undoubtedly happen elsewhere in Asia as that market matures.
5/The issue of trust between agencies of all hues and their clients is a live one. Is this primarily a matter of remuneration or are there deeper issues that should be resolved?
The question of trust has many facets, of which one is clearly financial. We’re fortunate in that an output-based system of charging works well for us as well as our clients. They know exactly what they’re buying and what it will cost. Mercifully we don’t generally base our relationships on hourly rates, which don’t work particularly well for anybody, especially creative businesses.
The key to trust is openness and delivering value. Our business is based on those principles. In the wider market I believe both creative agencies and media agencies do that but, inevitably, it’s harder to measure than in an output based business like ours.