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Agility is the tool to perfecting effectiveness

Agility is the tool to perfecting effectiveness
Matt Pye, COO of Cheil UK, explains how his agency harnessed agility to boost effectiveness in a rapidly evolving landscape

As people, our lives have been transformed by technology; how we work, shop and play will never be the same again.

Today, we expect to move seamlessly between platforms, channels and devices as we search for entertainment, products and services, shop for brands and share our experiences. For many industries and companies, this expectation presents a struggle that they’re ill-equipped to address.

In a world where the Agile Consumer rules, big no longer means strong; and crucially for marketers, strategic objectives are won – or lost – in execution. Clearly, agility has become everything, and the Agile Consumer has impacted as hugely on the agency model as he or she has on brands.

The reason is simple: agile brands need agile agencies. As ever though, the practicalities are more complex – after all, how do you create an agile agency?

At Cheil, we’ve learned that a good place to start is by throwing away the old processes and building agility into our thinking and creative, while staying grounded when it comes to the purpose and value of our business.

Here at Cheil we believe that the best ideas will move seamlessly across channels, platforms, devices and media – they should move people, move brand and move product. More than anything though, they should move the world.

We manifest these beliefs through the talent we hire, bringing together a unique group of people from specialist backgrounds, but who are united by curiosity and the desire to broaden their experience and learn new skills. We call them ‘Curious Mutants’.


Three years ago Cheil UK employed 60 people – that now sits at over 250. Naturally agility becomes more challenging the larger the business becomes, so last year we introduced the RASCI model – a responsibility assignment methodology.

If you’re not familiar with the RASCI model, it works as follows;

Responsible – identifying the person that will be responsible for overseeing a project
Accountable – the people who will be accountable for the activity; from strategy to creativity to execution
Support – the people that will be supporting the project from each team (e.g. creative, TV)
Consulted – the people to speak to within the agency whose consultation will add value to a project
Inform – the people that will oversee everything that goes out of the agency

We introduced the RASCI model to help blend the multi-disciplined, Curious Mutant skill set of Cheil UK together. We use the model for every project we work on and have found it to be hugely resourceful for getting to ideas quickly, and more importantly, build creative solutions which are deeply thought through from a consumer point of view.


Another way we’ve introduced agility into the agency and work process is by using live dashboards to map the progress of a campaign.

In the era of the always-on agile consumer and social and digital information sources, we can spot very quickly if, and how effectively, a campaign is working and modify accordingly. From how many people have Tweeted the designated hashtag or uploaded the required image, right down to online sales. It enables you to act in near real time and optimise the things that are working well, and remove or tweak the elements that aren’t.


The physical space can also help with agency agility. Until a few weeks ago, Cheil UK was split across multiple offices in Kings Cross – we’re proud to say that we still managed to keep the agile creative ideas flowing despite this – but it’s better for everyone if you’re all under one roof. On May 6th 2014 we moved into a wonderful new office space at The Crane Building, 22 Lavington Street, SE1 0NZ. We now have a very agile space with war rooms, disciplines mixed together, plenty of communal space and lots of spontaneous chat.

The result, I’ll be as bold as to say, is that we are now most definitely having agile conversations on a minute-by-minute basis, and in the process, future-proofing our agency.

Matt Pye is COO of Cheil UK. Follow him on Twitter

Learn more about Agility on our ADAPT Hub full of blogs, videos and more

Last updated 28/05/2014

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