2016: two trends worth acting on
29th January 2016

Anthony Hopper, Global CEO MullenLowe Open

Nearly a month into 2016 and the marketing press is full of predictions for the year ahead.

The two trends I’m most excited about are the ‘re-bundling’ of specialisms and workplace diversity. I happily tell anyone who will listen that I created some of my best work whilst working in Sydney. I believe the reason for this was that clients gave us the responsibility for their full (albeit small) budget and it was our task to find the right solution, through whatever means. No pre-conceptions of channel, no agency turf wars, just a bunch of people with all kinds of skills making great work that had a disproportionate impact.

Thankfully, UK clients are increasingly seeking this ‘re-bundling’ of specialisms. Unlike Australia, it’s not because money’s tight, but because they have too many agencies fragmenting their communications. As Keith Weed, CMO of Unilever says “there’s a real risk for brands that we end up working with individual agencies that maximise a particular channel rather than maximise the overall brand.” To address this problem, at MullenLowe Group we are smashing together people from our four key specialist units (MullenLowe, MullenLowe Open, MullenLowe Profero and MullenLowe Mediahub) to solve our clients’ problems through whatever means. Our unique ‘hyperbundled’ model thrives on the collision of skills working towards a common outcome. Our new branding, launched today, celebrates this offering.

Workplace diversity is another topic receiving ever-increasing airtime, though it clearly needs much more. It should by now be apparent to everyone that more diverse workplaces are more dynamic, creative, inspiring and better for business.

Our ECD Emma Perkins is heavily involved in a number of initiatives that involve immediate, direct action to increase diversity at all levels. She runs a female mentoring scheme for ‘She Says’ called ‘Who’s Your Momma’, and is a founder of ‘Token Man’, an initiative to give men a better understanding of the challenges women face in our industry. Most recently, Emma has been invited to mentor for the Great British Diversity Experiment, highlighting the benefits of more diverse teams, and encouraging agencies to change their hiring policies.

These are groundbreaking initiatives that go above and beyond roundtables and panel discussions. They’re aimed at confronting head-on the frankly shameful lack of diversity seen in our industry today and forging an effective way forward.

First published in The Guardian