“We have to shift to stay relevant” - Leo Burnett MD

Rachael Micallef
By Rachael Micallef | 11 August 2015
Leo Burnett Sydney MD Pete Bosilkovski and head of connect strategy Emma Montgomery.

Leo Burnett Sydney made it clear last week that it was shifting the definition of what a creative agency was -  which its MD Pete Bosilkovski told AdNews was a vital move in order for it to stay relevant and avoid becoming stale as traditional media fragments.

“We have to shift to stay relevant,” Bosilkovski said.

“The amount of people that you are competing with these days is expanding; you've got the great publishers out there like Facebook and Google and there are companies that are completely changing the game likes Uber and Airbnb.”

Last week, the agency rolled out a new structure for the agency's strategic offering, Connect Strategy, in what it is calling a “redefinition” of the traditional strategy model.

Bosilkovski said the change comes as the Leo Burnett Worldwide network turned 80 years old and is necessary as the agency eyes the next 80 years.

“For 60 to 70 years of our history we absolutely had a model that was relevant,” Bosilkovski said.

“The one thing that sort of drives me is making sure that we are relevant in the marketplace and making sure that we have a thorough understanding of what it actually takes to shift the consumer. And old model equals old thinking.”

Its new model is a media-agnostic which broadens the traditional abilities of what a creative agency provides, with social, PR ,digital, strategy, shopper, business consultancy data and full service media through Starcom MediaVest under its remit.

While it might seem like Leos is trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube, Bosilkovski said the restructure makes it different to a “full service” offering touted by other players in the market.

“It is a for us a way of working and thinking that unities creativity and connectivity to the power of connecting brands and people,” Bosilkovski said.

“It's more than full service; it's more than a media and creative agency. It is fundamentally a new way of building brands and solving brand problems that puts people, their needs and their behaviours at the centre.”

He said he also wants to avoid having Connect Strategy as a separate offering, instead rolling it out as a new way of working agency-wide.

While the Connect Strategy is currently only being adopted in Sydney, Bosilkovski said the “beta-mode” way of working within Leos means it could be spread further through the network. Likewise, Bosilkovski said he would be open to trialling new methods of working which may have been developed in other offices in the network.

“The thing we're trying to avoid is building 'mini agencies within agencies'. I know there are models out there but fundamentally, if you're going to change your output, what you put in is what you get out,” Bosilkovski said.

“Our shift is in the way we approach strategy and that will decide what kind of solutions you make. That for me is a fundamental shift in the way we're doing things.”

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