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The Rise and Rise of Dentsu in Australia



The agency has has a presence in Japan for over 100 years, but its recent growth in Australia is quite remarkable

The Rise and Rise of Dentsu in Australia

As a network, Dentsu has always been strong in Asia, but in Australia it was a different story. Just a few years ago Dentsu in Australia was a team of four people housed in one satellite office...

Jump forward three years and, in 2018, the Dentsu brand in Australia has grown to 260 people, become BWM Dentsu, and expanded across Australia - with a presence in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. 

So, what is behind Dentsu's stratospheric growth in Australia? 

Acquisition of forward-thinking businesses

In 2015 Dentsu Aegis Network (DAN) acquired 51% of BWM Group in Australia, who subsequently rebranded to BWM Dentsu - adding significant scale and kudos to the Dentsu creative agency brand in this market.

This was the first of a series of strategic acquisitions designed to further strengthen Dentsu's local market offering. BWM Group was an established Sydney and Melbourne-based creative agency boasting one of the longest founding partnerships in advertising history and a long and enviable client partners list.

BWM Dentsu then identified the opportunity to build out an integrated PR business; fusing several of BWM Dentsu's PR assets with Dentsu Aegis Network assets. This resulted in a 90 strong PR and social business that included consumer agency, Haystac and the Cox Inall speciality PR businesses, including Cox Inall Ridgeway, Australia's most reputed Indigenous affairs agency. BWM Dentsu also carved out a more fluid and agile approach to content production, by bringing in a Spark - a successful content business - and relaunching it as Haystac Content.

The next bold move was for BWM Dentsu to take on and integrate Toyota's flagship Sydney agency, Oddfellows, into the group - Toyota being one of the long term and significant client partners of Dentsu globally.  

Collaborative partnerships within the group

The agencies within the BWM Dentsu Group are encouraged to collaborate - both within the immediate Group and more broadly within Dentsu Aegis Network - wherever possible. 

Commenting on the BWM Dentsu Group's cohesive ways of working, Paul Williams, Group CEO for BWM Dentsu, said, "We're very fortunate to have BWM Dentsu, Haystac and the Cox Inall agencies all under one roof in both Sydney and Melbourne. As a result, our teams work closely together on projects where we can all benefit from close collaboration of different talents. Some of our best creative work to date has been the result of working on opportunities shared across not only our own group, but across the whole Dentsu Aegis Network."

Enhanced and awarded creative product 

In 2018, Dentsu took home 2 Effectiveness, 7 Gold, 11 Silver and 5 Bronze Awards at ADFEST in Asia - its best haul yet. 

This was followed by BWM Dentsu walking away with 1 Gold, 1 Silver, 4 Bronze and 1 'Grand Prix for Good' Lion awards at Cannes in June this year.

BWM Dentsu attributes its recent awards successes to a number of key things; firstly, the creation of the DAN Creative Council, a body formed of key senior creative representatives from across the Group, with a shared goal to drive and elevate the creative output overall, established and chaired by group CCO Rob Belgiovane. In addition, this year's influx of industry recognition has also been propelled by dynamic direction from  Belgiovane and ECDs Amy Hollier and Asheen Naidu.

Amy Hollier leads the BWM Dentsu creative team in Melbourne, sharing expertise built over her time working in both Europe and Australia. She has been a driving force in Kmart's reinvention, a relationship BWM Dentsu has proudly held for eight years, as well as running the Toyota, and Latitude Financial Services accounts. Her career passion is to help not-for-profits achieve meaningful results, which aligns with some of BWM Dentsu's recent noteworthy work.

For Asheen Naidu, who leads the BWM Dentsu creative team over in Sydney, it's his love of ideas that gets him up in the morning. With a career spanning twenty years across South Africa, Singapore, New York and Australia, he has been fortunate to collect more than one hundred industry awards. He has worked across a wide variety of brands in every conceivable category, including Qantas, Toyota and the ALS Association.

Secondly, its host of driven and passionate client partners, who recognise the value of strong and effective creative and its potential to positively transform their brands, so have chosen to invest accordingly.

Thirdly, a focus on melding creativity and strategy to drive transformative 'Organising Ideas'.

BWM Denstu harnessed this way of thinking for their work for BabyLove. Identifying the Organizing Idea of, 'Perfect is what you make it', as a direct retaliation to the picture-perfect world of its competitors, BabyLove used this as a platform to define a tangible and emotive opportunity. 

In a recent award-winning example, the team identified that parents love sharing pictures of their newborns on social media - unless the baby comes prematurely, when parents worry about the reaction of their friends and family. So BWM Dentsu created 'Premmie Proud' in partnership with Babies Foundation and the world's No. 1 baby photo sharing app. It's a new range of photography designs created specifically for premmie babies, so parents can proudly share their little miracle with the world and receive messages of love and support from family and friends. 

In addition, an ambition towards searching out proactive opportunities with true scale and impact beyond their existing client-base has led to some headline-grabbing pieces of work. 

Most recently, BWM Dentsu and Haystac launched 'Project Revoice', an ambitious project designed to re-create a human voice, after it is lost to Motor Neurone Disease (MND). To do this, they worked with Pat Quinn, co-founder of the 'ALS Ice Bucket Challenge' who lost his voice to MND a year ago, and partnered with Lyrebird and FINCH to reconstruct his voice from old recordings. 

They now offer a free 'voicebank' service, so that anyone who's been diagnosed with MND can record their voice before they lose it, in the hopes that they never have to. 

Finally, the drive towards improved and regular collaboration between BWM Dentsu Group and DAN agency partners, including Columbus, Cox Inall Change, Dentsu X, Haystac and Vizeum, all of which were major contributors towards the final creative awards tally that helped Dentsu win the Network of the Year crown for APAC. 

A stand-out example of this best in class collaboration is the 'Disappearing Persons' campaign, that transformed the way Queensland Police protect missing persons in their vast state.

Together, with the behavioural change team at Cox Inall Change, BWM Dentsu led the development of a new tool to help Queensland Police locate missing persons, with the general public playing a vital role. The campaign harnessed the power of Snapchat to create fresh urgency around images of missing teenagers. At the time of writing, 94% of alerts have assisted in a missing person being found - just one of the reasons the campaign recently won the Gold in the 2018 Adfest awards for - Best Use of Social Media and Earned Media.

Putting their people first

BWM Dentsu also won the 2018 Tambuli Agency of the Year award. As part of becoming Agency of the Year, BWM Dentsu re-looked at how they trained and developed staff. 

Says Belinda Murray, MD, BWM Dentsu: "Conventional career plans felt like they were created at the start of the year, and then left in drawers for 12 months. We wanted to change this and truly drive a high performance and inclusive culture. We have done this by establishing a performance development plan that is a living document, designed to evolve as the employee develops, and allowing for real-time feedback for quick correction of any developmental areas". 

From an employer brand perspective, BWM Dentsu brought in helpful benefits and policies; like 4 weeks paid and 8 weeks unpaid parental leave, and 5 days paid study leave, to help ensure staff retention and attraction. 

BWM Dentsu is off to a flying start in 2018, with award winning work on Qantas, Queensland Police, Jemena, The Victorian Government and BabyLove in market, so there's no doubt that Dentsu will be looking to challenge again for the accolade as the best network in Asia.

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Dentsu Creative Australia, Fri, 27 Jul 2018 04:05:07 GMT