|Letter to Morgan Anderson Consulting|
Morgan Anderson is a consulting firm in New York City that helps clients find the right kind of advertising agency—or the right kind of agency network—for their marketing communication needs.
Before 2001, the company did not want its name and reputation widely known in the advertising world, because the large multinational agency conglomerates were on a "buying binge" and purchasing small, high-quality agencies that Worldwide Partners did not want to lose.
Dear Ms. Gabrielle:
Worldwide Partners, Inc. is updating its database of advertising agency search consultants, and your company was brought to my attention in the course of my inquiries. I’d like you to know about some recent developments in our network, headquartered near Denver, Colorado, so you can optimize the quality of advice and information you provide to your clients.
Worldwide Partners is the world’s largest network of owner-operated marketing communications firms. There are now 83 agencies in 37 countries, and new firms are in the process of joining. An expanding database of account information at Headquartners shows just over 5,200 clients served by network agencies. Worldwide Partners reported billings of $ US 4.1 billion in 2000, making it the 11th largest advertising organization.
The network’s legacy makes it unique among other organizations that may otherwise appear similar to Worldwide Partners. Five agencies in the Southwestern U.S. began working together in 1938, effectively serving as one another’s branch offices. In the late 1940s, members of the affiliation began to work with ad agencies they had discovered in Europe, and the organization quickly grew to include independent marketing communications firms on every continent—now organized by region, with leadership chosen at annual meetings. There is a strong tradition of sharing industry knowledge that leads to new business and profitable campaigns for clients among Worldwide Partners agencies.
The network became a shareholder corporation early this year, when 81 agencies solidified this longstanding commitment to assist one another when conceptual, logistical, or technical help is needed. That assistance takes the form of constant communication, sometimes routed through Headquarters, and organized and transmitted in a variety of ways: through regular regional and global conferences, and strategy meetings among account executives, creative personnel, media planners and buyers, and a growing number of interactive directors.
Agencies in the network have long enjoyed fast responses to requests for advice and assistance from network experts in various market categories. The ongoing development of interactive capabilities throughout the organization promises to extend the power of shared ideas even further, in terms of the growing number of shared accounts and global business alliances these tools make possible. The speed, flexibility, and collective expertise of the owners and their employees, and the working connections they have established with each other, make the corporation a new model of what a streamlined international advertising organization can be—even though the concept was established long ago.
In a world where companies increasingly need to develop new markets in other countries, marketing messages must be culturally accurate, socially appropriate, and commercially effective—a difficult combination of demands. The local knowledge that agencies communicate with each other guarantees that all these conditions can be met in a cost-efficient ways, and the growing number of shared global accounts the network enjoys shows that it can be done, by independent agencies working together in a de-centralized system.
Worldwide Partners agencies have received awards across all categories in record numbers over the past year, and their creative work is regularly included in prestigious collections based on creative excellence. One agency in our network, Young & Laramore of Indianapolis, Indiana, has decided to withdraw from some local competitions due to the disproportionate number of honors Y&L tends to capture. Other agencies—Sawyer Riley Compton in Atlanta, Archer/Malmo in Memphis, Union in Edinburgh—have also captured record numbers of awards in their national competitions.
I hope that you find some of these observations helpful. My role on the Web team at Headquarters over the past has given me great optimism about the future of the network, and I’d be glad to keep you informed about new developments.
Feel free to call me, if I can answer any questions for you.
Damon A. Gitelman