Advertising Week Europe

Advertising Week Europe 2017 Official Guide

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Page 272 of 299

I ALLOFUS ACCEPTTHAT THEECONOMICS OFPRINT PUBLISHING HAVECHANGED, BUTTHEREIS STILLROOMFOR INNOVATION. AWE 2017 271 Innovation and Efficiency How can an innovative company be efficient? Very easily it seems. Take the world's largest company and have a look at how they approach their business. They place innovation at the very heart of the company and have the highest research and development spend (as a percentage of turnover) of any major tech company. Paradoxically, they also have the absolutely lowest manufacturing and distribution costs of any tech company (per percentage turn- over again). This ruthless supply chain efficiency is originally what Tim Cook brought to Apple when he was hired by Jobs. So how does this apply at Dennis? We place innovation at our very core. We are always looking at new ways to engage customers or further our business. When we innovate, we consider how we can create or adapt a brand to meet an emerging need. How will it fit into the audience's busy day? How can we inspire, entertain or inform them? We answer this before we think about the platform or business model. These must inevitably and obviously be decided but we never lose sight of our customer as we make these choices. All of us accept that the economics of print pub- lishing have changed but there is still room for innovation. What has changed is the reduced time you will have to make print profitable, so we work hard to make sure our cost base and product agility match this. This is where the efficiency comes in. We are always striving to do more, for less. We run our businesses as efficiently as possible, cre- ating more time and cash to innovate. It is a virtuous circle that has fuelled the company for many years. Indeed, it has allowed us to grow strongly (every year for the last 9 years) at a time when many media owners are shrinking. Long Term and Agile Again, can these values really be in balance? At Dennis, our profits go to developing and planting the Heart of England Forest. This is an ambitious, charitable project to plant a 30,000 acre native broadleaf Forest in Warwickshire. So we are owned by a charity with a very long term goal—the Heart of England Forest has a 100-year business plan. As a company, we are imbued with an in- credibly long-term and meaningful purpose. Yet at Dennis, we value agility above almost all else. We realise that to still be relevant, we need to be more fleet of foot than our competitors. To do this we adopt an agile approach not just to our digital products but to our print adventures too. We talk proudly in the company about how we launched a print magazine in 7 weeks—that's from the knockings of the original idea through to product in consumers' hands. Collaborative and Individually Bold We also realise that being agile means work- ing tightly together. Some of the projects we work on as a company involve over 50 people at any one time, often spread throughout the UK. As a company we run all our comms through Slack, a product more often found in the tech industry. Not only does this dramat- ically reduce our dependence on internal email but it also means that every project is visible to all. And that top can talk to bottom and left talk to right. It's unified our comms far better than we could have hoped. To balance this we also celebrate being bold. This stems from our roots where our founder Felix Dennis always stated 'that it's far easier to just do it and apologise later". This ethos, that encourages all Dennis staff- ers to make bold decisions, often ones that swim against the tide, makes us different. It is also no coincidence that we have won over 99 awards in 4 years, many of them for out- standing individual performances. Professional and Fun Our last set of values relates to how we view our work. We pride ourselves on feedback from our agency customers that Dennis is always a pleasure to deal with. We do simple things like call back when we say we will, answer the phone and solve problems as often as they crop up. And we like all of our output - be it our brands or our communica- tions - to look and feel professional. But we've never lost our sense of fun or mischief. We still like to play as hard as any other company I know and Dennis has a vi- brant and occasionally unruly social culture. Again, it is no accident that these are rules that our founder Felix Dennis lived his life by and are now as much part of our DNA as our other values.

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