Forging an integrated group strategy

The client
Our client on this assignment was the local franchise of a leading international advertising agency that operated as a Group Company made up of six independent agencies, each led by a CEO and focused on a distinct line of business development strategy, brand management, publicity and media relations, adverting and other areas.  These companies operated as separate companies that were sometimes in competition with each other despite being members of one Group.  The companies were served by a Shared Services function, to which each company paid a contribution for various shared services, including tenancy  and other common overheads.
The client was wanted to develop a consolidated business plan, based on independent company strategies across the six companies.  This entailed development of separate, but integrated business plans for each company, as ell as the development of independent budgets.
Client requirements
The client specifically wanted to achieve the following:
1.  development of independent strategic plans for the six companies
2.  determination of each business' key areas of strategic focus
3.  development of detailed business plans for the respective businesses to give each business a growth plan through the next five years.
The client was also keen to evaluate the extent to which the six businesses were complementing each other, and whether, indeed the Group structure was optimised, considering that employees across the six companies were fairly well-versed with media agency work all round, but were each only working in one company.
Our approach
Working with the respective  CEOs and their staff, our work on this assignment entailed the following for each company:
1.  determination of the business' mission and vision statements to serve as a platform for the development of subsequent, differentiated strategic directions, without contradicting the Group's overarching goals
2.  articulation of the company's core performance objectives
3.  evaluation of the company's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to determine its viability and positioning within the group
4.  profiling of the company's competencies as a basis for the development of operating models to support the its strategic deliverables;
5.  setting of the Agency’s strategic deliverables and their respective attainment targets
6.  development of a performance to monitor and evaluate Agency operations
7.  determination of a basis for the monitoring and evaluation of individual performance through the planning period.
Significant outcomes
In a bid to offer comprehensive, end-to-end agency solutions, this client inadvertently created various redundancies in work process design, human resource capacity, and in other areas too, which unnecessarily increased their overheads and sacrificed profitability.  It was also somewhat difficult to independently evaluate each company's productivity since it was not uncommon for more than one company to be working for the same client at the same time - sometimes without clear lines of responsibility.
We reviewed the business' structure and aligned it to its budget new budget proposals, which saw the successful roll out of out of five-year strategic plans for four of the six companies, with the other two companies getting absorbed in the four.  Despite various changes in the Group's leadership and management structure, the four businesses held together and made a big contribution to the Group's consolidated results over the next two years.
ARTEMIS Transition Partners

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