Jessica Goodfellow
May 31, 2019

Geometry-Ogilvy union in Japan is "unique case": Geometry global CCO

“Consolidation is not going to happen to us,” chief creative officer Jon Hamm says, because the agency's ability to convert insights into purchases is unique.

Jon Hamm
Jon Hamm

While WPP’s merger drive has left some agencies uncertain of where they will sit in the future of the group, Geometry Global is quietly confident.

“Consolidation is not going to happen to us,” chief creative officer Jon Hamm assuredly told Campaign Asia-Pacific earlier this month.

In April Geometry joined forces with Ogilvy in Japan, with the two entities keeping their individual brands but operating under a single P&L.

However, Geometry APAC regional executive creative director, Daniel Comar, said the Japan arrangement is a “unique case” due to the dominance of one player in the market.

“They are two operations that have been partnering for a long time," he said. (Geometry was originally formed by merging Ogilvy Action, G2 and JWT Action.)

“Japan is very particular because Dentsu controls pretty much all the domestic market. It was hard for the two operations to deal with that situation, so it was clear for the success of the office to keep growing that they had to integrate the office—the brand-building capabilities of Ogilvy with the conversion activities from Geometry,” he added.

Hamm believes the agency’s expertise in identifying crucial moments within a brand experience and ability to translate that into conversions makes it uniquely placed within the group, which could explain why there are no further mergers planned.

He said that as the brand experience has become more complex with the fragmentation of media, agencies like Geometry can help find the “moments that matter”—the ones that change not what you think but what you do. “However much someone might like your brand, getting them to buy it is the challenge,” he added.

Hamm said CMOs are increasingly understanding how each of the touchpoints that make up the brand experience—from the campaign to the customer-service department—affect consumer decisions.

He said too often in the past brands have thrown money towards “flashy advertising” without understanding the pain points in the customer journey.

“You can have the most incredible experience transacting with a brand but then have a horrendous experience with the returns department that can destroy your relationship with a brand forever,” he said. “Brands are only as strong as the totality of their brand experience.”

Geometry wants clients to own and manage all the touchpoints and is not trying to position itself as the architect of the entire brand experience like some of its competitors.

“Owning all those touchpoints has to come from the client," Hamm said. "It is not the role of agencies. David Droga at Accenture may disagree.”

Rather than developing a marketing strategy around a client objective, Geometry looks across the customer journey to identify when the customer could best be reached to drive the desired outcome.

One example saw the agency reimagine the communications of an antihistamine cream from talking about the efficacy of the product—a strategy employed by all of its competitors—to encouraging people to take the product out with them so it is there when they need it most.

“The problem we identified is most people bought the cream and put it in their bathroom cabinet, which is useless because it is not there when you need it,” Hamm said. “We realised the campaign needed to be centred around going out, and the portability of the product.”

The fragmentation of media is also forcing brands to think more creatively about how to own their audience, Comar said.

“You used to be able to build a brand with one TVC a year,” Comar said. “Now the brand is built with every micro-moment, so conversions and activities need to be more strategic.”

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