One of the most definitive problems with Charlotte Beers’ brand stewardship was her communicative process with upper-level management. While it may be true that Beers’ was able to develop a clear vision of Brand Stewardship and explain what that meant to her collaborative team “thirsty for change,” the idea was only a concept at the end of their meeting summit.
It is essential to the success of any plan that a strategy must first be developed, and to that point, Charlotte Beers was initially on track. She brought together a team to devise a vision and plan for what Ogilvy & Mather was to become, but she never fully developed what that strategy meant and how it was to be implemented. This lack of strategy set the entire communicative plan up for failure as there never was a clear call to action to communicate.
To further complicate the planning process, Beers delegated the “Chewton Glen Declaration” to others without clear, precise instructions and monitoring. Instead, another group was formed to execute the vision of Charlotte Beers, who was not only the visionary, but the only one who clearly understand what brand stewardship meant. As one employee stated “The idea of brand stewardship was still embryonic. Charlotte clearly understood it in her own mind but was just learning how to communicate it.”
Delegation is necessary, particularly in an organization as large as Ogilvy & Mather, but there is still a need for oversight. Beers never defined exactly what she wanted the “Chewton Glen Declaration” to achieve and whether or not that should include an action plan. The team was left to their own devices and formulated a plan off the scant details given to them, focusing on the development of Worldwide Client Service, not brand stewardship application.
Beyond Beers need to communicate directions to her development team, she never described to them the importance of why. It is extremely difficult to determine how to do something when you do not clearly understand why these actions are taking place. The vision of brand stewardship was developed, and Beers talked about what that could mean to clients, taking the time to break that vision down for them to see for themselves, but unfortunately that never happened with management.
Particularly since Beers left her team to develop the “Chewton Glen Declaration,” with little direction, the why could have helped to steer them on a clearer path.
Beers decision to implement the Worldwide Client Service before establishing a clear action plan for her staff was one that only generated more confusion. The application of this new branch became a communicative distraction for employees, denying them the time to embrace and comprehend brand stewardship, and instead throwing several complicated applications with little instruction. All that this behavior led to was a collective decision to regroup, reorganize and attempt again to clearly define who and what Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide are.
One of the most important aspects of proper communication of brand stewardship and recent changes at Ogilvy & Mather will be communication channels. Ensuring that all the audiences both internally and externally are getting a clear and strategic message will aid in the execution of a successful message and application. Listed below is an encompassing view of who those sources, resources and clients are who need a clear view of Brand Stewardship and what it means.
oNorth American Office Presidents
oRegional Headquarters Leaders
oWorldwide Headquarters Leaders
Although communication to all areas list above is extremely important, it is also impertinent to prioritize. Of the six audience segments outlined above, the three I would identify as top priorities would be Clients, Core Disciplines and Worldwide Services.
Clients would be one of the top priorities for Ogilvy & Mather because the need to understand the concept of Brand Stewardship to invest in it, without their support of the idea the concept would be defunct. The main objects of this communication strategy would be to first and foremost for them to fully grasp the idea of Brand Stewardship and how it can work for their company.
This is integral because it is not only about understanding, but it’s also about knowing the benefits of this service and what it can do for their company. With the know, I would also want them to understand how Ogilvy & Mather will go about acting out these benefits through strategy and thoughtful planning.
The Core Disciplines play an extremely important role in the Brand Stewardship plan, as they are the individuals who will be executing the idea. This group would be a priority because if they do not understand the concept then neither will the client because they are the communicators, they provide the examples and final product of what Brand Stewardship really is.
The main communicative object for the Core Disciplines would be for them to be able to clearly and concisely define what Brand Stewardship is. If they are able to explain exactly what the message and concept is, then they will have completed the first step to proper execution. I would also like them to understand who their resources are, and what tools are available to them, such as manuals and other individuals in their position at other offices. This would be an opportunity for collaboration and brand integration for Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide.
Lastly, I would prioritize Worldwide Services as they are the touchstone for all branches of Ogilvy & Mather. The Worldwide Services division is extremely important because they represent consistency throughout the company. One of biggest concerns within the company was fiscal equality and compensation and by knowing what Brand Stewardship is and how it’s implemented, then they can offer financial compensation equal to the work load. Also, this division is the source of communicative messaging company wide, in a way they are the stewards of the Ogilvy & Mather brand.
It would important that the Worldwide Services can translate Brand Stewardship both financial, and as a resource for all branches worldwide. They represent the home base, and it will be important that they can offer knowledge and aid to all the companies that need help with Brand Stewardship.
Part 3: Assess Beers’ strengths and weaknesses as a leader and communicator based on what you read in the case. What advice would you give her — in terms of her own communication style and involvement — as she prepares to relaunch the strategic change initiative? (33%)
Throughout the analysis of Charlotte Beers at Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide case study, we can see many examples of her strengths and weaknesses as a leader. Beers is a visionary who is able to take an existing company with a strong corporate identity, tarnished by inappropriate leadership and breathe new life into who they are.
Her strengths lie with her ability to create and sell. Not only could she envision the idea of Brand Stewardship, but she could also make clients she it with little to no resources.
Charlotte Beers also had a strong grasp upon branding, and what that means for the success of a company. She knew that to have her new employees buy into her and her vision, she had to get everyone on the same page. She worked hard at gathering people together to create a common goal, which succeeded at several times, it was her execution that weakened her vision.
Where Beers lacked was the ability to turn her ideas into actual successes through planning and strategic communication.