Customer Engagement Agency of the Year 2020: Wunderman Thompson
We won Campaign's Customer Engagement Agency of the Year 2020
Published by Campaign:
It was a big call when the high command of WPP took the decision to ditch the venerable but ailing J Walter Thompson brand, which dated back to 1864, and merge it with Wunderman, the winner of this award in 2019. However, within a year, the resulting agency, going under the moniker of Wunderman Thompson, has snatched Campaign’s Customer Engagement Agency of the Year title with aplomb.
Despite having to bring 650 people together, and the logistical challenges of merging the two agencies, it is to its credit that the new entity won eight significant clients and produced award-winning work. There was also eye-catching organic growth, including 100% on GSK and 200% on Selfridges, showing that the agency is living up to its purpose to "inspire growth for ambitious brands".
It has also produced a wealth of work showing off its capabilities across creative and CRM. For BT Sport (pictured, top), before the football season had even started, it "leaked" the "19/20 script of the season" to the biggest names in football, who took to Twitter with their reactions. YouTube pre-roll content featuring football journalist James Richardson teased fans with extracts from the script, while players pledged to prove it wrong. The follow-up was a national DOOH, press and social campaign, "Unscripted". The word "unscripted" subsequently became more searched for than "Brexit", "Boris" and "Fantasy Football", while BT Sport went on to record a 30% increase in subscriptions for 26% of its 2018 budget.
Meanwhile, the agency helped Samsung smash targets for the launch of its Galaxy S10. With several product launches in the same period, the agency developed a complex CRM programme incorporating pre- and post-launch phases across direct and digital channels. Consumer journeys were personalised with the volume of communications increasing as people interacted with the campaign, and a personalised "onboarding" programme delivered insight-led enhancements to improve customer experience.
And let’s not forget the scoring of a mobile first with its AR app for Sensodyne that allowed users to assess their tooth sensitivity. Having launched in Germany, the plan is to roll it out globally over 2020.
On the new-business front, wins included Duracell on brand, Toyota on CRM, Centrica on digital and an experience win for HSBC pensions, which resulted in a 600% increase in new-business revenue. Over the year, 65% of opportunities were converted. Wunderman Thompson also scooped more than 40 awards across creativity, effectiveness and B2B during the year at shows ranging from Cannes Lions, The Clios and Caples to the D&ADs and the DMAs.
Inbound job applications rose by 670% as more than 100 new roles were created. Meanwhile, the agency managed to keep churn rates below the industry average, at 16%. This could have something to do with a determined focus on people, which brought investment in the agency’s "People Team", with key appointments in diversity and inclusion, learning and development and talent acquisition. "Learning labs", a "well mind" programme and a new LGBT+ team are just some of the developments launched over the year to nurture and empower staff.
"A really good performance – lots of good work, new-biz wins and cultural initiatives," one judge said.
At the outset, Wunderman Thompson’s goal was to "perfectly blend creative, data and technology" to "build the agency of the future". The past year shows it has set itself on the path to achieving this.