To develop and manage talent;
to apply that talent,
throughout the world,
for the benefit of clients;
to do so in partnership;
to do so with profit.
Between them, WPP companies have tens of thousands of individual clients. They range from Fortune 500 global giants through single-nation start-ups to the smallest of specialist charities. Diverse as they are, they have one thing in common: in pursuing their objectives, they face formidable competition. Growing affluence in many parts of the world – combined with overcapacity and over-supply in almost every significant consumer market – has put more and more power into the hands of consumers, accelerated by technology.
As always, if they are to succeed – or even to survive with profit – every competitive company needs an intrinsically appealing product or service. Increasingly, part of that appeal must lie in a company’s evident sense of a wider responsibility; one that extends beyond share owners, employees and consumers and recognises a duty to the environment and to society as a whole. Today’s most successful companies are founded on strong values.
But even all that, though remaining the most fundamental of requirements, is seldom enough. Just as competitive costermongers arrange their apples in appealing displays and polish them lovingly to catch their customers’ eyes, so all companies need to display their wares compellingly.
They need access to high-quality information, strategic advice and specialist communications skills. And it’s in the nature of specialist and creative talent that it is unlikely to flourish within the confines of a client company. People with specialist talents work best – and contribute more – when recruited, trained and inspired by specialist companies.
Within the WPP Group, our clients have access to companies with all the necessary marketing and communications skills; companies with strong and distinctive cultures of their own; famous names, many of them. WPP, the parent company, complements these companies in three distinct ways.
- First, it relieves them of much administrative work. Financial matters (such as planning, budgeting, reporting, control, treasury, tax, mergers, acquisitions, investor relations, legal affairs and internal audit) are co-ordinated centrally. For the operating companies, every administrative hour saved is an extra hour to be devoted to the pursuit of professional excellence.
- Second, the parent company encourages and enables operating companies of different disciplines to work together for the benefit of clients. Such collaborations have the additional benefit of enhancing the job satisfaction of our people. The parent company also plays an across-the-Group role in the following functions: the management of talent, including recruitment and training; in property management; in procurement and IT; in knowledge sharing and practice development – with an emphasis on sustainability.
- And finally, WPP itself can function as the 21st-century equivalent of the full-service agency. For some clients, predominantly those with a vast geographical spread and a need for marketing services ranging from advertising through design and website construction to research and internal communications, WPP can act as a portal to provide a single point of contact and accountability.
No two clients are structured in precisely the same way. Within WPP’s operating companies, teams can be tailor-made to match any and all.
Chapter 3 of 13