Colenso evolves agency model, announces new initiatives

Colenso BBDO has announced a new agency model, with a focus on creative collaboration, clients’ customers and new ways of working.

With initiatives including Colenso&Co, ColensoCX, Colenso Ventures and Colenso Studios, it is the result of changing client and customer needs.

Managing director Scott Coldham says the challenges demand it re-assesses how it remains relevant and it has pursued the things it believes will help ensure creativity continues to flourish.

“We’re conscious of three key areas: how we collaborate to solve problems, how we evolve towards being an agency that represents not just our clients’ brands, but their customers too, and how we disrupt old processes.”

One of those new initiatives, called Colenso&Co, has seen the agency call on partners to have a physical and a virtual seat in the agency to foster collaboration when client problems or opportunities arrive in the agency.

Knowing that often the solution isn’t in advertising, Colenso’s partners include Facebook, Google, Perceptive, Scion and Soul Machines.

Creative chairman Nick Worthington says it wants to ensure it’s seamlessly exposing clients to the best thinking.

“When casting, we can call on these partners to build truly cross-functional teams to solve for the outcome.”

Worthington adds that partnering with those companies isn’t necessarily a new thing for the industry, however, formalising a process that benefits from their collective thinking power is.

“It enables us to get better, without necessarily getting bigger,” he says.

The next initiative, ColensoCX, follows the merging of Proximity and Touchcast into Colenso BBDO back in 2016. The purpose of the merger was to enhance the agency’s direct, digital and data offering, and it has since been building on those capabilities with the Clemenger Group acquisition of customer intelligence agency Perceptive in June last year.

Now, the agency is set to welcome a new member to its senior management team from Accenture Singapore in the middle of the year.

Each acquisition has led to growing the CX, business transformation and growth expertise that’s since become engrained in the Colenso culture.

About the growth, Coldham says how companies re-organise themselves to outpace change and stay ahead of the consumer is increasingly putting pressure on the shape of its creative product.

“We will continue to enhance our capabilities to keep pace with change and simplify clients’ business problems, extending our creative thinking beyond traditional communication-led briefs.”

And as well as extending its creative thinking, the agency is also adapting its team structures, skill sets and approaches to ensure more ideas happen, more often.

Those changes include the appointment of head of innovation and ventures Gavin Becker, from Made by Many in New York back in 2015, and Colenso Ventures, designed to help clients develop new products, new services and new business ventures to help them move into the white space so often monopolised by start-ups.

This presents a completely new way of working. Short sprints that embrace live prototyping of ideas and consumer engagement with them – giving organisations newfound confidence to pursue initiatives.

According to Colenso, the offering is gaining real traction, especially with brands that are experiencing strong new market entrants or require different routes to market for their products, services and experiences. 

The final change is seen in Colenso Studios, a collection of the agency’s traditional studio function, creative technology, social, production experiential and its in-house content business, Flares.

Led by COO Paul Courtney and his creative group heads, it enables the agency’s clients to access the ‘doing’ capability of Colenso with ease when speed, accuracy and quality are paramount.

It’s also priced to reflect this, as Studios is managed with streamlined processes to deliver on time and on budget and to the agency’s standards.

For clients with existing frameworks or brand platforms, global material to adapt, or simple local content and delivery requirements in any channel, this offering provides access to Colenso in new ways.

Reflecting on the evolution of the agency model, Coldham says “everything has changed, and nothing has changed”.

“While we’ll never walk away from the brilliantly beautiful power that creativity can have to affect change, how we get to it and deliver it requires an appreciation of the significant changes that are happening in our industry, and our clients’. We’re confident these gestures will help forge another successful chapter for our creative company.”

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