Communications Offsiting Across IPG
Communications teams from across the global IPG network came together for the annual IPG Communications offsite this week. IPG kicked off the week with a Monday night dinner in the West Village that included some “unstructured networking” and many courses of Italian food. The full-day offsite on Tuesday was hosted at the New York Times building in midtown and the agenda featured speakers from the IPG leadership team, experts from across the fields of CSR, Innovation and Social, and external experts from industry outlets like Adweek.
First up, creative agency Carmichael Lynch’s CEO Marcus Fischer and Communications & Marketing Director Ellie Taylor shared their insights around agency culture. They view culture as an investment, not an expense and talked up the value of communication and transparency with employees around business development and financials – both positive and negative. Rather than memos and emails, they favor ways to bring employees together to share news and updates inside and outside the office. They leverage internal expertise to support social initiatives. For example, the agency coordinates a team to participate in the annual Pride Walk with branding and creative done by their designers. They seek out ways to celebrate and encourage employees’ personal interests and “side hustles” outside of the office.
To keep things fresh, the Carmichael Lynch team often hosts quickie “surprise & delight” perks/events at the office like espresso bars in the morning and ice cream socials on a hot day. Family friendliness is always a major cultural draw, which is only gaining traction in the business world. The agency hosts regular family dates night – employees are encouraged to invite whatever their definition of “family” may be – children, partners, dogs – to agency-hosted events. They have also started working with MilkStork, a great new service for traveling breastfeeding moms to ship their milk back home.
In their approach to company culture, Ellie emphasized the need to be flexible and the ability to pivot based on the pulse of the agency. Marcus said that while these types of cultural efforts is an investment, the agency ultimately saves on recruiting costs and, quite simply, happier people do better work.
Later in the day, we heard from Head of Innovation Mary Jo Behrman from communications firm Golin, who discussed PR & Social Media Analytics. Mary Jo focused on finding relevance when conducting outreach to publications and influencers – and who really matters when try to generate discussions in the press. The communications group participate in a discussion and exercise to map relevance by working on a grid that crossed relevance (deep, compelling content) and acceleration (distribution, speed and scale) with a press pitch targeted at different types of outlets.
One of the last presentations of the day was delivered by our very own head of social at McCann Worldgroup, Bruce Stockler, whose talk was entitled, “Building Your Social Media Voice.” Bruce shared what works and what doesn’t work across the platforms he runs for WG – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the website. Content-wise, he focuses on showcasing McCann’s teams, clients, people and culture from around the world.
Some of the most popular posts on social are pretty simple – like office hijinx and beautiful office pictures. As a former comedy writer, Bruce uses humor a lot in his posts and it pays off, especially on Twitter. One of his most successful Twitter campaigns was live-tweeting the entire last season of Mad Men. The campaign was a purely organic, creative response when it became clear that a fictionalized McCann would play the role of the central antagonist of Mad Men's final season. Bruce used the Twitter feed to respond to specific moments in the show in real-time. For example, when the “McCann employees” were insulting Joan and Peggy, he leavened the situation with this Tweet: “This meeting is so awkward. We apologize on a purely theoretical basis.” As a result of the campaign, McCann WG added about 4,000 followers to Twitter and received 47,000 views on a related Facebook post. A great social success story.
IPG leadership including Michael Roth, Chairman & CEO, and Simon Bond, Chief Growth Officer, also dropped in to share some insights from the top. All in all, a very insightful 2017 offsite.