TBWA\Dublin has strengthened its strategy team with a number of new hires and appointments including that of Ferron Pedro, who takes on the role of empathy director and Anne Cotte who joins the agency as a design thinker.
Other members of the strategy team, which is headed up by chief strategy officer Mandy Leontakianakis, include senior strategists Shane Kelly and Kathleen Moore and strategy director Aleesha Tully and support strategist Mark Haughton.
In addition to the changes to its strategy team, the agency is also taking TBWA’s famed ‘Disruption’ model- first devised by TBWA\Worldwide chairman, Jean-Marie Dru back in the early 1990s – to the next level, making it the first agency within the global network to do so.
According to the agency, this involves updating the creative process to include elements of human centred design which “creates more tangible outcomes for clients, creating solutions, rather than communications. This updated approach means our creative services are always grounded in proof, which benefits everyone involved. “
“We’re proud to be a thriving part of the Irish economy, contributing to Ireland’s creative culture along with the national and international advertising industry. However, the industry is changing rapidly and many agencies are grappling with their own positioning and offering. At TBWA\Dublin we’ve always been about Disruption®, but Disruption® is not just about disruptive work. We’ve updated our Disruption® toolset to provide end-to-end integrated strategy and creative services for all our clients’ marketing needs – not just advertising. The biggest pivot for us, was bringing the principles of Design Thinking to all phases of the strategic and creative process,” says Deirdre Waldron, CEO of TBWA\Dublin.
According to Mandy Leontakianakis, TBWA\Dublin’s CSO:“A disruptive philosophy is not nearly as valuable as a set of disruptive actions designed to get things done, better. In a global industry struggling for identity and drifting further from clarity, we believe it’s crucial the agency ‘speaks human’, to understand more deeply and connect more closely. Whether that suits the recognised conventions or not. To do this better, we’ve made a deliberate decision to organise ourselves around one principle: human-centredness. Which means an empathy-led curiosity about consumer and user needs to help us with the entire spectrum: from cultural fluency to the disruptive use of touchpoints.”
Leontakianakis adds: “Design Thinking principles, like democratic ideation, can be pulled throughout our workstream, and have already resulted in unlocking ability in the agency beyond traditional roles. The ethic also has a practical bias towards social impact and behavioural change, working off a solid foundation of community consultation. It has already yielded the foundation of bespoke research commissions at a global level as well as pitch wins in the public sector.”
According to Ferron Pedro: “I think there is such integrity in investing in an approach that places empathy at its centre, especially when there are opportunities to make things better with whatever resources we have. Often that can be as a simple as a more truthful representation of what life is really like. I’ve seen in my work from Johannesburg to Dublin, from inquiries about fuel to saving water, that local nuances and universal truths are revealed through the empathy framework. The methods are fun, honest and simple. Exploring and being curious with respondents, we discover together what motivates their choices and actions.”