Ogilvy has hired Steve Soechtig to lead its experience practice as global CEO, as clients seek to connect with consumers in personalized ways throughout their journey with a brand.
As global CEO of experience at Ogilvy, Soechtig will be tasked with pulling together various capabilities in specialty practices across Ogilvy’s global network to create a unified offering for clients across marketing automation, strategy, CRM, digital experience design, customer acquisition and loyalty.
“The fastest growing part of Ogilvy over the last several years has been in the experience marketplace, but we hadn’t rounded it up into a single global business before,” said Ogilvy global CEO Andy Main.
Agencies under Ogilvy’s global network, including Lacek, Eicoff, Bottle Rocket, Verticurl and others, will ladder up into the experience practice. While Ogilvy doesn’t plan to phase out these agency brands, it does aim to have a more consistent umbrella offering to cover services that fall under end-to-end brand experience.
“My goal is to bring all of these pieces together so we can keep our clients not just pacing with trends in the marketplace, but also get in front of them,” Soechtig said. “How do we anticipate individual expectations to create a personalized, compelling and relevant experience that drives the best outcome?”
Experience is a big growth area for Ogilvy parent company WPP, with CEO Mark Read committing to growing the group’s overall revenue from experience, technology and e-commerce from 25% to 40% by 2025. While agencies are leaning into similar offerings, Ogilvy’s approach will be different because it will leverage the agency’s pedigree as a creative brand building shop, Main said.
“If you go to your phone or a website, everything looks the same. Airlines look like airlines, hotels look like hotels, banks look like banks,” he explained. “There's been very much a focus on the UX and UI. We want to bring creativity into the experience design and strategy.”
Creativity extends beyond the visual into creative business strategies and deployments of customer insights to “nudge [people] to want to do things with an experience,” he added.
Creativity in experience building will become even more crucial as new consumer habits form during the pandemic, from the need for touchless ordering systems to online ordering and distribution. “That is the kind of creativity Ogilvy is bringing to the table to help businesses adapt,” Main said.
Both Soechtig and Main hail from consulting backgrounds, the former most recently a managing director at Accenture and the latter joining from his previous role as head of Deloitte Digital in June. While Ogilvy’s focus on its experience offering could put it head-to-head with these firms in pitches, Main said the agency has had these capabilities all along.
“I was surprised when I came into Ogilvy with the depth of capability in experience,” he said. “These businesses have been around for a long time, but we just haven't put them into a bigger business.”
Experience is one of five practice areas Main is building under Ogilvy, along with growth and innovation, advertising, brand and content, influencer and PR and health. The firm operates on a single P&L, so there are “no inter-firm agreement, red tape, layers of approval or people saying no” when it comes to working in an integrated way, Main said.
Soechtig is Main’s latest leadership hire since joining the company last summer, including Devika Bulchandani as North America CEO and global chair of advertising, Kate Cronin as CEO of Ogilvy Health, Stacey Ryan Cornelius as global CFO, Jag Dhanji as global chief people officer and Julianna Richter joining as global CEO for PR & Influence.