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Vincent Dsouza

W1035501

Charlotte Bears took over as the CEO of Ogilvy & Mather at a difficult time. The company had
been founded by a visionary 38 years Englishman named David Ogilvy who had inculcated the
company with a distinct culture and from HR perspective an unique way in which employees
worked. O & M had an impressive list of clients including Campbell Soups and American
Express. A bunch of CEOs after David did manage the company well, but lacked the visionary
and distinct style of working which people associated with O & M. The company also faced a
hostile takeover on May 1989 by WPP Group which demoralized many employees and
management who opposed the take-over.

As a result the CEO, and many other creative

executives left the company. Due to the turmoil the company lost many clients like AMEX,
Campbell Soups and others with a decline in revenues.
In midst of all this the Charlotte Bears was appointed CEO when the existing incumbent stepped
down. She was faced with the following huge challenges

Restore the brand value of O & M in the eyes of both customers as well as employees

Reacquire the clients that were lost like AMEX, Campbell Soups and others

Restore employee morale and confidence in the brand of O & M

To build on and carry the values inculcated by the founder

To remove the beleaguered tag attached to O & M brand name in Media reports

At the onset , she sent out a Hello video to all the 7000 employees which reminded
employees that it was high time to pull up socks and take the company on a new path, the video
also reminded employees of the heritage and values inculcated by the founder and was an open
invitation to pitch in.
From an HR and Political Frame, just by sending this Hello Video , Charlotte created a sense
of urgency and threw the gauntlet down for people to pitch in rather than just sit on side lines.

Vincent Dsouza

W1035501

From a Structural , she did not follow a strait-jacket method of sending office memos and from
the Cultural Frame she was sticking to the innovative culture which was lost for some time in
O& M
Charlotte Bears was effective in the sense that she did rally together a band on employees and
management staff who shared her beliefs and vision that O & M needed to start on a new path.
She also met with clients and attended presentations together with the staff and intervened when
necessary. She also fired those staff who were not ready to implement what she had asked them
to do. She met with Wall Street investors and emphasized the quality of O&M work rather than
just crunching numbers data, with clients meeting she got a sense of what they expected from
O&M. The CEO also made all employees, investors and clients aware that she was brand
focused in her manner of thinking, she emphasized this in all her meetings so people were aware
that O&Ms culture was brand focused starting with the CEO
Charlotte bears wanted to provide O&M with a vision. The company had a vision which was
given by the founder and had got lost along the way. What Charlotte did was articulate that
vision building on the core ideology of the company. To achieve this end she got together the
same team of people who shared her need for change and direction, this group was called thirsty
for change . After several brain storming sessions and painful process the group including CEO
came up with the vision statement To be the agency most valued by those who value brands.
In my opinion yes this vision statement does fit into the criteria of a vision statement. A vision
statement has to

encapsulate the Core Ideology, Core Purposes and Envision Future of the

company. The core ideology never changes over the span of time, but core purposes can change

Vincent Dsouza

W1035501

over the length of time. Now coming to the Envisioning the future, all stakeholders must be able
to look at the statement and know what the company intends to do in the future.
The vision statement provided all stakeholders with a clear sense of direction that O&M was
going to chart in future and it could be communicated in under 5 minutes to any person. The
vision statement was also original, in the sense that it captured the essence of what the founder
imbibed in the company along with the direction for the future. The vision statement was
accepted by all stakeholders including employees, clients, Wall Street investors and the media,
all of whom had the underlying feeling that O&M was a directionless entity. In a nut shell the
vision statement conveys the idea that O&M is a company that cares about your brands.
Beers spent the initial few months on identifying who shared her urgency for a change and also
the goals and direction she had for O&M.

From an HR and Political frame she deliberately

kept the roles and responsibilities of people vague, so that they would stretch themselves into
doing tasks.

Thus she narrowed down to a group of higher management staff and other

employees who were labelled as thirsty for change .

From a HR frame, this was a high

involvement process as the initiation took place with the hello video so employees knew what
to expect and to contribute. From a Political Frame she had certainly chosen the staff with great
care, this is not to say that other staff lower down the ranks did not share the need for change or
had no ideas to contribute, but the group chosen by Charlotte was made up of high ranking
executives in key positions, this resulted in a strong alliance with top management from different
offices worldwide. From a Cultural/Symbolic frame, the group was chosen only of those people
who shared the O&M values and wanted the company to take a new direction.

From a

Structural frame, all the group members were holding key positions and managing entire regions
and areas under their control.

Vincent Dsouza

W1035501

Beers deliberately did not increase the group size as the group of 8 to 10 people is an ideal
group to manage as per prevalent management theory. Make the group too small of 3 to 5
people and it looks like a cozy club or a clique, and will be regarded as such by the other
company employees. In that event whatever the good output that comes down from such a group
will be regarded as being dictated to or ordered about. Conversely when a group exceeds the
size of 8 or 10 it becomes unmanageable to achieve any consensus or get any meaningful results
out of the discussions. The group frequently gets bogged down by discussions and call for
votes on even the most trivial issues.
Charlotte managed to hold several meetings, in May she invited the thirsty for change group
for a meeting in Vienna and then in August the same group conveyed in English resort of
Chewton-Glen.

The Vienna meeting gave the members a theoretical model namely the

McKinsey 7-S model to base their discussions and ideas on. This meeting led to the idea of
brand stewardship, which had been missing for some time in O&M.
From a Structural Frame & HR Frame work this was a smart thing to do as normally meetings to
discuss how changes should be implemented in a company tend to go off-tangent. The group
also got split into creative types, structural type, financial types, and so on, when discussing what
needed to be done. Now this inter-group differentiation was important from the Political frame
because Charlotte could identify the key hot buttons of individual team members. From a
Cultural frame, group members also had something to chew in their minds about what needed to
be done, they could digest and mull over points for future. Further from a Political frame,
Charlotte was regarded by key management members as the proper person or right fit to lead
O&M, thus she unknowingly reinforced her position and image within company.

Vincent Dsouza

W1035501

In August when the group reconvened in Chewton-Geln, the member had a list of 22 action
items they felt were high priorities. Now from a Political frame, Charlotte went through the list
and narrowed down to 3 action items which were needed to be done. This action was important
as all members felt that at least their points/ inputs were considered by the CEO and they were
making a change in the company. From an HR perspective she gave an opportunity to all
people to participate and thus no member felt excluded from the decision making process. From
a structural frame, she stated the obvious fact that all action items cannot be done at once, rather
action items needs to be broken down in small series of steps for the larger goal. From a
Symbolic/ Cultural frame, she reminded that the purpose of O&M was to build clients brands
and picked only those action point initially which would align with building client brands.
The group hammered out a Chewton-Glen mandate for the next line of managers. This mandate,
focused on brand stewardship and was initially not well received even within the group as some
felt that it was a short term strategy. The meetings were necessary as all employees needed to
buy in and let ideas sink in everyones mind before taking the next step, this phase was the
storming phase. However Charlotte managed to get considerable buy in from the clients who
connected with some person who was passionate about the emotional content of brands and
brand stewardship. From a Political frame this was a smart move as O&M won back the AMEX
account which got positive coverage in the Media. From the HR frame the re-acquiring of
AMEX boosted employee morale and spirits, now employees were ready to push themselves and
felt charged up. From a Cultural frame the winning back of AMEX and other brands meant a
great deal as those brands were considered the baby of O&M.
In hindsight once the thirsty for change group had accepted Charlotte as their leader she
overcame that first big hurdle and overall here leadership style was effective as she made the

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final decisions after giving a chance for all to discuss. Her management style could at times be
described as autocratic as she first conveyed ideas like brand audit first to clients and the
employees came to know many times through the clients when they demanded that service.
From an HR frame this was not a proper thing to be done as most of the employees were left
clueless and frustrated when the clients asked them for something they had heard directly from
Charlotte, like brand audit.
Also initially from an HR and Structural frame , ideas like brand stewardship and brand audit
were not communicated properly to the front line staff, only those key staff members who
interacted with Beers understood those ideas. She also had formed the WCS (World Wide client
Services Structure) and from a HR and Structural frame this was a cause of great friction
between local offices and the WCS offices in terms of client revenue sharing, local resources
preferred to work in WCS rather than local offices as WCS had the mandate over all
international client accounts , so local offices were not able to retain talent. From Structural and
Political frame , there was a clear lack of authority between WCS and local offices
The key challenges facing Beers at the end of the case are

Getting the whole company to understand / adopt the brand stewardship philosophy

Adjusting structure to new priorities

Ensuring collaboration between WCS and Regional office

Losing momentum

Charlotte was great in getting the thirsty for change group to buy in her ideas and concepts,
however she was not greatly successful in getting lower management and front line staff to buy
in the ideas of brand stewardship and brand audit. This may have primarily been due to the
fact that front line staff were caught by surprise when the clients asked about those 2 concepts

Vincent Dsouza

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during their interaction. Her main challenge would be to get middle management and front line
staff to have same missionary zeal as she did towards emotional content of brands. This is not
to say that the front line staff did not share in emotional connect of brands, they most certainly
would and once O&M started to gain back huge clients the lower line staff would automatically
get enthused about the company
At the start Charlotte deliberately kept every ones roles and responsibilities vague in the hope
that they would stretch themselves, but as the company became more established it would fall
back in the trap it was earlier namely getting caught up in the structure and forgetting the main
goals. She needed to implement an HR strategy because though she inspired her company,
increased employee confidence she did not lay any ground work for percolating the vision and
zeal in a top-down approach. She also focused only on emotional content of brands and did not
lay out specific guidelines or structural process to implement this. Nor does the article mention
the future flow-chart to be followed when brand concept change
Beers started the WCS offices which was out of synch with the existing structure of O&M. This
structure changes caused a lot of friction between local offices and WCS. Now WCS was
responsible for international client account and local offices focus was on small local brands.
But since WCS handled more prestigious clients the creative staff from local offices preferred to
work for WCS rather than at local office, this lead to flow of talent to WCS and not local offices,
this is viewed negatively from HR frame. So from a structural frame there was no clear authority
and lines of responsibility between WCS and local office. From a Political frame this caused
conflict in several areas like revenue sharing, costs sharing and co-ordination.

From a cultural

frame this kind of dual offices never existed before in O&M. Thus one of the main tasks facing
Beers was how to ensure collaboration between offices for the companies priorities.

Vincent Dsouza

W1035501

Losing momentum is one of the greatest fears that have come true for many companies and
organizations. Take the example of NASA after BHAG Sending man on the Moon and safely
bringing him back, was over, NASA has just operated as another space agency. Similarly as per
the article Charlotte has not set the BHAG which will sustain the company for next 5 to 10 years,
all this could result in O&M losing momentum. She could have accepted some trade-offs and
settled for a slower pace change, which would have resulted in longer turnaround time. But this
was unacceptable given the fire in the house situation at O&M, hence she had to set up WCS and
do all other actions which were necessary