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Agency Life

Ahead of the Pack

Ahead of the Pack

Sulaiman Beg

Sulaiman Beg

March 12, 2019

“Our success is proving that you can be both a great hunter and a great farmer,” says Havas Media Germany’s Sven Traichel.

"Congratulations belong to all our people at Havas Media Germany—everyone has contributed to this great success."

Havas Media Germany CEO Sven Traichel shares how the agency has spent the last decade growing business, which led to it recently being named Agency of the Year in Germany.

 

Congrats on being named Agency of the Year at the German Media Awards in Munich. You also picked up two Gold awards in the Content and Audio categories. How’s it feel to be at the top?

Thanks. Congratulations belong to all our people at Havas Media Germany—everyone has contributed to this great success. And it feels wonderful. While the awards for Audio and Content honor two great cases from last year, proving that our current product is at the top level, the Agency of the Year award is a recognition of our great work over the last 10 years. This is really an outstanding moment in the collective career of everyone at Havas Media Germany.

What can you tell us about the agency’s outstanding growth story over the past 10 years?

We have moved from Rank 15 to Rank 5 within the last 10 years and grown our billings by a factor of 10. This is an accomplishment unmatched in the German market and is fueled by two drivers: We have been very successful in winning new clients with pitches, and we are very successful in retaining these clients. While many agencies go for the short-term win, we look for clients that have a probability of staying with us for many years. This, of course, requires that we also maintain a full focus on our client service and keep our promises from the pitch. Our success is proving that you can be both a great hunter and a great farmer.

How have advertising and the media landscape changed in Germany in the past two decades?

As in all markets, the last two decades have been driven by digital transformation, increased fragmentation, the rise of data and technology, and growing consumer mistrust in advertising. As we have been able to grow massively in this dynamic and challenging environment, I’m sure we’re in good shape to successfully tackle the upcoming challenges as well.

In the last year, what do you think has been the agency’s biggest accomplishment(s)?

As with every year in the last 10 years, we are very proud of winning new clients and retaining existing clients, enabling us to deliver sustainable growth and keep on running like a German car motor. Creating a great working climate is one of our top accomplishments, and the two awards for DEKA and Lorenz show that we are also delivering a great product to our clients.

"We look more for doers than talkers."

Agency culture is a huge part of your success. How do you motivate the team to keep driving client business forward?

Recognition through awards is a great motivation for everybody, but of course, we encourage numerous activities to keep our staff motivated beyond that. We put a lot of effort into very agile and innovative education programs inside Havas Media in addition to using the Havas Group networks. The whole Vivendi world offers our employees a fantastic range of individual career and personal development. We have even initiated a motivation team, a team that creates motivational activities at a weekly level, but which also includes taking the whole agency on an overnight trip every year to have fun together. This helps us maintain a great agency spirit that we are very proud of. We also run monthly agency breakfasts with news from the board to keep everyone informed and involved and to foster a climate of trust. This spirit and trust is something we experience when working with the global leaders of Havas Media as well. So our thanks also go to Yannick, Peter, and all our other global leaders who enable us to replicate this great working climate locally.

When adding to your team, what do you look for in a potential hire?

We look more for doers than talkers.

How do you promote teamwork?

The new global structure of Havas Media has really helped us to cultivate teamwork. We are able to work in a very cooperative and positive way with our global top management and to promote this climate at a local level. Last year we underwent internal restructuring in which we moved part of the media planning teams back to the clients to encourage integrated solutions on a client team level. Also, of course, all our common activities, along with benefits such as free sports membership at our neighboring fitness studio, are fostering teamwork at Havas Media.

If there’s one piece of advice you’d give to agencies looking to be recognized as best in class in their local markets, what would it be?

In the framework of the German market, I would say that agencies with high stability in management have been more successful than agencies with a lot of changes. Success does not come overnight. So my very stereotypical German advice is: Make a plan and make it happen.

What’s next for the agency?

We are very excited about the recent awards, and it is a great motivator for moving on with our agency growth. We do hope to move closer to our siblings at Havas Creative and Vivendi, to collaborate and create more common work on clients. We are also looking forward to rolling out our new Meaningful Media approach that will help us position ourselves as thought leaders in the industry.

"Congratulations belong to all our people at Havas Media Germany—everyone has contributed to this great success."

Havas Media Germany CEO Sven Traichel shares how the agency has spent the last decade growing business, which led to it recently being named Agency of the Year in Germany.

 

Congrats on being named Agency of the Year at the German Media Awards in Munich. You also picked up two Gold awards in the Content and Audio categories. How’s it feel to be at the top?

Thanks. Congratulations belong to all our people at Havas Media Germany—everyone has contributed to this great success. And it feels wonderful. While the awards for Audio and Content honor two great cases from last year, proving that our current product is at the top level, the Agency of the Year award is a recognition of our great work over the last 10 years. This is really an outstanding moment in the collective career of everyone at Havas Media Germany.

What can you tell us about the agency’s outstanding growth story over the past 10 years?

We have moved from Rank 15 to Rank 5 within the last 10 years and grown our billings by a factor of 10. This is an accomplishment unmatched in the German market and is fueled by two drivers: We have been very successful in winning new clients with pitches, and we are very successful in retaining these clients. While many agencies go for the short-term win, we look for clients that have a probability of staying with us for many years. This, of course, requires that we also maintain a full focus on our client service and keep our promises from the pitch. Our success is proving that you can be both a great hunter and a great farmer.

How have advertising and the media landscape changed in Germany in the past two decades?

As in all markets, the last two decades have been driven by digital transformation, increased fragmentation, the rise of data and technology, and growing consumer mistrust in advertising. As we have been able to grow massively in this dynamic and challenging environment, I’m sure we’re in good shape to successfully tackle the upcoming challenges as well.

In the last year, what do you think has been the agency’s biggest accomplishment(s)?

As with every year in the last 10 years, we are very proud of winning new clients and retaining existing clients, enabling us to deliver sustainable growth and keep on running like a German car motor. Creating a great working climate is one of our top accomplishments, and the two awards for DEKA and Lorenz show that we are also delivering a great product to our clients.

"We look more for doers than talkers."

Agency culture is a huge part of your success. How do you motivate the team to keep driving client business forward?

Recognition through awards is a great motivation for everybody, but of course, we encourage numerous activities to keep our staff motivated beyond that. We put a lot of effort into very agile and innovative education programs inside Havas Media in addition to using the Havas Group networks. The whole Vivendi world offers our employees a fantastic range of individual career and personal development. We have even initiated a motivation team, a team that creates motivational activities at a weekly level, but which also includes taking the whole agency on an overnight trip every year to have fun together. This helps us maintain a great agency spirit that we are very proud of. We also run monthly agency breakfasts with news from the board to keep everyone informed and involved and to foster a climate of trust. This spirit and trust is something we experience when working with the global leaders of Havas Media as well. So our thanks also go to Yannick, Peter, and all our other global leaders who enable us to replicate this great working climate locally.

When adding to your team, what do you look for in a potential hire?

We look more for doers than talkers.

How do you promote teamwork?

The new global structure of Havas Media has really helped us to cultivate teamwork. We are able to work in a very cooperative and positive way with our global top management and to promote this climate at a local level. Last year we underwent internal restructuring in which we moved part of the media planning teams back to the clients to encourage integrated solutions on a client team level. Also, of course, all our common activities, along with benefits such as free sports membership at our neighboring fitness studio, are fostering teamwork at Havas Media.

If there’s one piece of advice you’d give to agencies looking to be recognized as best in class in their local markets, what would it be?

In the framework of the German market, I would say that agencies with high stability in management have been more successful than agencies with a lot of changes. Success does not come overnight. So my very stereotypical German advice is: Make a plan and make it happen.

What’s next for the agency?

We are very excited about the recent awards, and it is a great motivator for moving on with our agency growth. We do hope to move closer to our siblings at Havas Creative and Vivendi, to collaborate and create more common work on clients. We are also looking forward to rolling out our new Meaningful Media approach that will help us position ourselves as thought leaders in the industry.

Sulaiman Beg is Havas' Director of Global Internal Communications. He has never eaten canned tuna fish.

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