Smart Thinking,Beautiful Work——访Leagas Delaney全球CEOMargaret Johnson OBE
Tim Delaney最佳拍档，Leagas Delaney掌舵人，入行三十载，她如何保持热情，奋力前行？访Leagas Delaney全球CEOMargaret Johnson OBE
掌舵这一切的便是LD全球CEO Margaret Johnson OBE女士。1995年加入LD以来，Margaret见证着LD从伦敦走向欧洲，走向世界。Tim负责创意，她则主管策略，两大金刚共同为LD的发展保驾护航。
很少接受媒体采访的Margaret，在外界看来有那么一丝神秘，更因其受封OBE爵位（小编注：OBE全称Order of the British Empire，大英帝国官佐勋章，获此荣誉的还包括金庸、曾荫权、J.K.罗琳、贝克汉姆等），而显得有些遥远。不过首次会面伊始，她的亲切和热情就迅速拉近了我们的距离。
正是看到这片市场的潜力，LD于2009年开张了上海分公司。初衷是服务客户斯柯达，阴差阳错，第一个项目却是为Swedish Commercial Business Development的世博会参展服务。七年来，上海给LD带来崭新的机遇和挑战，面对全球独一无二的移动互联市场，团队需要紧跟潮流、迅速反应，并把严密的策略以高度本地化的手法呈现出来。
一个成功的项目，不仅需要代理商做出好的创意，也需要客户的支持与配合，对于以创意为立身之本的独立热店更是如此。好的客户可以成就一个公司，就像Nike之于W+K， Under Armour之于Droga5，当然，还有Patek Philippe（百达翡丽）之于Leagas Delaney。
Q & A
Tiffany Circle是一个女性组织，它最初在美国建立，目前已有900多位来自世界各地、各行各业的非凡女性加入。Tiffany Circle也是一种新的公益筹资途径，每个入会女性支付5000英镑，直接用于她们自己为红十字会、红新月会选择的项目，帮助最有需要的人。
采访中，Margaret把2016年概括为“变化之年”（year of change），无论是英国脱欧，还是美国大选，都将给整个世界格局带来巨大改变。而发生在传播领域的技术变革，VR、AR的兴起，人工智能的革命，也将连同整个世界政治经济形势的变化，对广告业产生震动。变化是一刻不会止歇的，我们能做的便是因势而谋，顺势而动。而在追逐与改变的过程中，历史对我们意味着什么？
Tim Delaney’s best partner, CEO of Leagas Delaney, over thirty years of experience in advertising, how to keep being passionate and moving forward?
Smart Thinking Beautiful Work
- Interview of Margaret Johnson OBE, Global CEO, Leagas Delaney
Early autumn, in Shanghai
The morning of Anfu Road at French concession, fresh and serene.On this shorter than 1km road, there are various cosines, cafes and shops, moreover, shanghai dramaart center is located here makes this street one of the most artistic streets in Shanghai.
And of course, Leagas Delaney's shanghai office is on the road, same as the previous one on Gaoyou Road,low profile and boutique.
The key personnel of Leagas Delaney, Tim Delaney has been well known by people. But besides creative part, the rest boring, but essential to the daily life parts are Margaret who’s in charge with. This is Leagas Delaney’s global CEO Mrs. Margaret Johnson OBE. Since Margaret joined Leagas Delaney in 1995, she has witnessed Leagas Delaney’s journey from London to Europe, and now all over the world. Tim responses for creativity, she is in charge of strategy, they two together will carry Leagas Delaney forward to a better future.
Margaret is rarely taken interviews and her title of OBE (OBE: Order of the British Empire, who also received the honor are Jin Yong, Donald Tsang, JK Rowling, David Beckham, and etc.), make her more mysterious to the outside world. But her kindness quickly narrowed the gaps down when we met the first time.
"Every time I come to China, I can see different things" Margaret praised. When Margaret first time to Shanghai in 2009, each visit after that, developments of urban construction, technology, people's lives and all other aspects amaze her. "For example, the developing of WeChat in recent years, makes peoplepay by bar code at most of time, which is still not happening in many places in Europe." Changes are also reflected on advertising industry, more and more influential local brands have the demands for advertisements and become self-generated in China. As the rapid development of China in the world, the interest of international brands for China market is increasing as well.
Leagas Delaney saw the potential of Chinese market, and opened its Shanghai office in 2009. The original intention was for the pitch of Skoda, but accidentally, the first project is the Swedish Commercial Business Development Expo. In the past seven years, Shanghai has brought new opportunities and challenges to Leagas Delaney. Facing the one of only cyber market here, the team needs to keep up with the trends and react quickly to present localized ideas with rigorous thinking.
Shanghai is the 7th branch of Leagas Delaney, as a creative agency known forits ‘global soul’, Leagas Delaney has offices in London, Hamburg, Milan, Shanghai, Tokyo and Los Angeles. The scale of Leagas Delaneydoesn’t seem to match our impression of a boutique agency, but Margaret tells us that Leagas Delaney does not want to become a media empire like WPP, who is always following the steps of clients, their interests, and selecting the places only have the most strategic meanings to their clients. "Currently, Leagas Delaney offices have covered where we need, but who knows the future" which means Leagas Delaney will not stop expandingas long as it’s benefitial to clients.
Theconflicts between localization and brand consistency is inevitable for a boutique agency from London to the world. For Leagas Delaney, the adaption of local culture always comes first, that is why Leagas Delaney is using local staffs and management team. In addition, strong corporate culture runs through every corner of Leagas Delaney no matter which offices, you can feel the same culture." It is hard working spirit, the payout of " if you don't come in on Sunday, you better came on Saturday", the equality and encourage to young creative talents, rebellious and insanity, curiosity to exploration, creating the ultimate, and experiencing lives...
36 years, history defines now
After graduating from the University of Edinburgh, Margaret entered Unilever Foods with a MBA and a bachelor degree of commerce. Short-term of working in client side soonmade her realized thatagency that she was dealing all the time was where she wanted to go. After she worked as a strategy director in Mars, Diageo and Procter & Gamble, she was brought to Leagas Delaney at a day of 1995, where she started to work with Tim for more than 20 years.
"Tim never has a day of saying ‘that’s not very good, but it can go out the door’, he always put 120% of the efforts, and he has huge integrity and passion for this industry for decades”.
It applies to Margaret as well. She was the head of strategy for UK when she first joined Leagas Delaney, and then became the head of strategy in Europe. In 2004, she was appointed to global CEO, during this time, there were many outstanding achievements and difficulties as well. For Margaret, the charm of this industry is it constantly reinventing itself and fresh challenges everyday. Leagas Delaney is the case too, everyday has its new challenges, which makesMargaret believethat "we would dobetter."
Leagas Delaney was founded in 1980, comparing to many new design and IT-oriented creative agency, its 36-year history is very extraordinary. The history is Leagas Delaney most valued asset. ‘History does not only mean the past, it also defines now, tells who we are, and it is also the foundation of future.Lots of people and clients choose us not onlywe are a creative land, but Tim also set a very high standard and we’ve maintained that for 36 years.’
Apart fromcreativity and craft skills, Leagas Delaneyis continuing doing the pro bono work for charities as well. "Commercial success is not all, and everyone has the responsibilities to give back to the community,by using their own expertise and skills to do things that good for the society." The ideas that Leagas Delaney created for the United Nations Development Program, the World Food Program, anti-trafficking organizations and other NGOs, has the same high-level qualities, which let us see thehumanitarian spirit ofthis boutiquecreative agency.
"Good" clientrequires both sides
A successful campaign, not only requires good ideas from agencies, but also the supports and cooperation from clients, particularly for the independent creative agencies. A good client is like Nike for W + K, Under Armor for Droga5, and of course, Patek Philippe for Leagas Delaney.
Leagas Delaney seems to have a long relationship with clients, such as this year is the 20th year of Leagas Delaney to be the advertising agency for PatekPhilippe, And the phrase of "you never really own aPatek Philippe, you merely take care of it for the next generation’ is still being used till now. "We are always trying to provide the best ideas for our clients, and keeping us familiar with their business, which ensure them will have an effective strategic plan. More importantly, LeagsDelaney truly likes its clients, enjoys discussing ideas and strategies with them, and treats clients like friends that Margaret believes clients can feel it.
Therefore, when many are complaining about clients killthe ideas and creativity, Margaret believes that clients and agencies are one, you can not put aside yourself to blame clients, and to be a good client have to have a good agency behind. "A agency must truly consider and care for clients’ interests." Because this is the only way that client will trust, accept, and execute agency's proposals. Although sometimes we’ll have different angles or having communication difficulties, overall, the relationship between Leagas Delaney and clients is constructive, and this is the only way to create good ideas.
Of course, the first meeting with a client, you must be sure that whether you can meet each other's requirements, have a clear understanding of your ability. The second is to see whether both sides share a mature culture, work style, and etc. Tim has a saying, "only writingfor the brands we respect."
Truly love to enjoy
Being in anindustry for so long, seeing many young people come and go, what kind of people are needed and qualified for this industry?
"First of all, one needs truly love to be persevere". Leagas Delaneyalways gives young people opportunities to help them grow project by project. And only those who really love the industry, happy to see clientbenefitsfrom their own efforts can survive through the boring work, and ultimately success. Margaret also encourages young staffs to learn more about clients, listen their concerns and desires, to understand what can really help clients, meanwhile establishing a trusting relationship is very helpful for your focus at work.
Love is also Margaret’s tips for balancing work and life. If you truly love, work will become enjoyment, not pain. Staying optimistic and positive attitude is very important, when you have overtime works or difficulties, need to adjust yourself to deal with changes. "I'm lucky to have a supportive husband and who is very proud of my career." Margaret's voice is filled with happiness and gratitude when speaking of family. The support of family and colleagues all makes work easier.
For advertisers, the work is far more than the 8 hours in office, more efforts are outside the offices, such as the needs for various information and understanding of popular culture. Margaret said that she normally read at least two books a week, all types, but she prefers novels more. And she is also a "news fan", to keep up what is happening now. Movies are her favorite too, Margaret watched many movies on the plane due to the busy life, and she always watches the Oscar award-winning filmsbecause it is an important window to understand recent pop culture.
This famous ‘The Girl on the Train’ is Margaret’s new favorite
"Curiosity is important. Curiosity means you always have an open mind to culture.I like popular culture, usually read a lot, and also listen to audiobook while walking. I’d like to go to museum and gallery if I have time". It is a must for advertise man to see more, the more you’ve seen, you realize the less you know.As long as you remain curious, you know you remain engage to the wor, and everyday you are learning new things.
Talking with Margaret, one will unconsciously be attracted to her smile and enthusiasm. Margaret was born in Spain, and she spent most of her childhood in Spain and Mexico, and came to Scotland for college. And because of this job, Margaret has the opportunity to go to many interesting places and meet interesting people all over the world, and she enjoys it. In addition, she loves food, keen to discover good restaurants, and bring family and friends to taste... "A advertise man, has to be a master for life first", Margaret is undoubtedly the best evidence of this sentence.
Q & A:
Working with Tim for over twenty years, what kind of person he is in your eyes?
Tim isridiculously driven to do the right thing whatever that takes, and a very funny and charming person. Although he is a copy based creative, he has a great respect for strategy, he use his strategy to inform creativity. I like to work with him, we respect each other, trust each other. He is one of the most influential people to me regarding on work.
How does Leagas Delaney try to differentiate itself to other boutique agencies?
We’ve been going for 36 years, so comparing to other small boutique agencies, we are more mature. For example, we already have a certain scale with years of experiences, and we are international whereas has a lot big international clients, And we are able to keep the spirit to be young and active, boutique like combine that with lots of international experience and personal experience, which is why clients like to work with us.
Do you see any differences of clients in different countries?
Today’s world is highly globalized, all the clients are worried about the same thing, they’re worried about digital, and how digital affects our business. And all the clients are worried about the purchase is getting smaller, and more channels to spend them in, they’re all very similar. They have different personalities, Italian people are different clients, but they are worried about the same thing, whether I come here or America, I find same concerns.
What kind of actions that Leagas Delaney will take to maintain its leading position in the industry and achieve new successes with all the changes in this digital era?
We have leaders who are proficient in the digital field, and they really understand the digital tools and how best to use it of helping and guiding clients. At the same time, the future will need someone who is more concentrate on one specific field, rather than trying to be an all-around player. No one can excel at everything, and you will need partner with like-minded firms for areas you are not very good at. And for Leagas Delaney, our advantage is the idea and creativity through our works.
Howdoes Leagas Delaneytrain new comers?
Examples are very important. Leagas Delaney gives more opportunities and encouragesnew employees to take part in the on-going projects, learn from the experience. And no one can always make the right decisions, and a relatively relaxing work environment can create more possibilities.
I heard that you were a co-chair of ‘Tiffany Circle’ can you tell us more?
Tiffany Circle wasoriginally set up in America, is a group of currently 900 extraordinary women around world who help to support the work of the international Red Cross and Red Crescent Society. And tiffany circle is a new way of fund raising, every woman that joins paying 5000 pounds, and that money goes directly to support projects we chose for the Red Cross.
I think it opens your eye so much everyday to what is happening. Women are tend to be more venerable, in times of crisis than men, yet women are often most stronger people to help the community to recover after crisis, so I am humble everyday to see how a bit little support can make such a difference to people’s lives, so it hasn't changed my spirit, because I’ve brought up very young to give back to communities, it does open my eyes everyday to how much work has to be done.
What sentiment to share with the advertising industry of young people?
It is still one of the most exciting and desirable areas to enter. Here, as long as you really hard to keep curious, and constantly explore, will soon be able to make great progress. People often ask me, what is the secret of success, my answer is always "very hard to work." As long as the true love, willing to pay, the industry will not let you down.
In the interview, Margaret summarized 2016 as "year of change", whether UK left the EU or US president election, will give the world a huge change in the pattern. And the technology revolution in communication, the rise of VR, AR and artificial intelligence, will affect the advertising industry along with the political and economic situations of the world.