The Art of The Creative Relationship: TK Maxx and Wieden+Kennedy Reveal All

October’s Festival of Marketing saw Oystercatchers sit down with two iconic brands – one agency side, the other client-side, to explore one of the most enduring relationships in our business and one we’ve worked with since 2014.
The Art of The Creative Relationship: TK Maxx and Wieden+Kennedy Reveal All

Catrina Funk, SVP, Group Brand & Marketing Director of TK Maxx and HomeSense, and Helen Andrews, Managing Director of Wieden+Kennedy London joined Oystercatchers Chair Suki Thompson to find out exactly how the relationship works.

Here are just a few of the take-aways that inspired us ….

How to get your marketing team really focussed on creativity

Catrina: “It’s about three key things: process, shared ambition and having fun together. The real key is shared ambition to do great work, effective work, bold work across all channels. Having fun together, building trust together is super important – and feeling free to fail.”

What inspires an agency to do great work for a client?

Helen: “We do really brilliant work for clients who love their brands. When we first met Cat and the team, we could sense the energy around the brand. And that resonates and inspires us to do wonderful work. Cat and the team have created such a strong culture that when people come and go that sense of energy, pride and ambition remains.”

The winning combination of wild creativity and button-ed down process

Catrina: “Wieden’s ability to lay on the process, the structure, the on-time, and ‘budgetness’ actually helps the creativity because you can spend your precious time together talking about strategy in the work.”

Getting the fish on the table

Catrina: “Having that honest, transparent chat about what’s really going on.  Not beating around the bush. Or being afraid to share what’s really on your mind- whether it’s client or it’s agency. When someone says I’m about the get the fish on the table - what this really means is, I’m going to say something that makes this whole room uncomfortable. This might be a difficult conversation but it’s important to me and I think we should have it.”

Helen: “It basically means you waste no time through politics or misunderstandings – for instance, if the team isn’t feeling it, we know, we talk about it and get to the heart of it quickly and move on. You just get to concentrate on the things that matter.”

Strangers can’t team

Catrina: “You have to build the relationship, you have to put the time in – it’s like your friends, your family, your partner – you have to invest the time. To keep that going during lockdowns, we’ve had a lot of fun on Zoom - Zoom parties, teams parties; we just take time to be personal and to remember to ask each other what’s going on outside of work. We’re also trading on 3-4 years in person and hopefully, we can all get back together and find that sweet spot, that mix, of this new agile way of working with old school in person.”

Helen: “We love the fact that Cat and the whole team treat us as human beings – seems an obvious point but people often forget this. It’s always felt like we’ve always had each other’s best interests at heart – both as people and as commercial entities.”

2022: The one thing that will make a difference…

Catrina: “Innovation all around. Being in real life with real humans, and getting off the screen, being present, out there and out in the world. I really look forward to that.”

Helen: “I am very excited as an agency and as an industry – we’ll use everything we’ve learnt and everything we’ve missed during the pandemic to really crack a new way of working – which is super exciting.”

Gill Huber, Managing Partner, Oystercatchers remarked, “A brilliant and positive relationship – we’re always pleased at Oystercatchers when it does work, and you can see the power of the relationship. Huge thanks to Cat, Helen, and Suki for bringing us insights and practical tips.”

To see the full conversation, use your Festival of Marketing pass to access it on-demand here.