Ogilvy Rebrands and Restructures in the Face of New Industry Challenges

    By Robert Cameron - Jun 6, 2018
    Ogilvy Rebrands and Restructures in the Face of New Industry Challenges

    Screenshot from the splash page of the new Ogilvy website

    Industry giant, Ogilvy, has unveiled a global company rebrand and reorganization, after more than two years in the making. The agency-wide change has been a primary objective of John Seifert since he was promoted to chief executive of The Ogilvy Group.

    “This has been an 18-month journey for our brand and the largest transformation in the history of our agency,” said John Seifert, Chief Executive, The Ogilvy Group. “To meet the changing needs of our clients, we’re taking a bold step to redefine our company and build a new model for our industry, which we helped to create over 70 years ago.”

    John Seifert


    Founded as Hewitt, Ogilvy, Benson & Mather in New York City in 1948 by the late David Ogilvy, the company has expanded to a global network of 131 offices in 83 countries with more than 16,000 employees that comprises an array of brands includes Ogilvy Public Relations, its Ogilvy & Mather advertising agency and Social@Ogilvy.

    Under the umbrella of holding company WPP, the organization covers a wide range of businesses and practices, including advertising, PR, branding and identity, shopper and retail marketing, healthcare communications, direct, digital, promotion, and more.

    With such reach, the organization has over the years come to look less like an agile agency than a holding company of itself. That’s a major drive behind Ogilvy’s effort to is rebrand and restructure to simplify its offering to clients.


    The integrated Ogilvy brand, which has dropped the “Mather” from the name, brings together the three distinct units of OgilvyOne, Ogilvy & Mather Advertising and Ogilvy Public Relations along with various company sub-brands and specialty brands “under a single, unified group with a common identity, positioning, client service model and P&L.”

    In short, the rebrand and reorganization mean that all the vast array of offices and areas of expertise, that was prior to the change run as largely separate business units with their own financials, will now operate as one company.

    All of this comes as Ogilvy has recently made progress to streamline its operations — moves that this year alone saw multiple rounds of small layoffs culling between 2 and 3 percent of total U.S. staff

    Changing times, new challenges

    The move by Ogilvy comes as the advertising industry faces various new challenges from clients looking for less expensive and more efficient options, transparency and the rise of new players in the arena such as tech giants Google and Facebook.

    The advertising agency sector is dealing with various headwinds, from clients cutting costs to concerns over ad-buying transparency to the rise of tech giants such as Facebook and Google. In reaction to the changing times holding companies have turned to strategies that seek to align their agencies in more efficient ways that allow clients greater options and choices with who they work within the network.

    This has led to the forming of groups such as “Team Energy” at WPP, which was a tactic bringing together different agencies, including Ogilvy, to resign BP earlier this year following a competitive review.

    For Ogilvy, this has manifested in a more streamlined approach to match the needs of brands in today’s “noisy, hyper-connected world.”

    As they put it on their new site:

    Today the world is fragmented, chaotic, even unpredictable. Brands offer focus. To make the most of that opportunity, brands must have meaning, coherence and shape. We design the brand; we turn the brand into an experience; and we communicate the brand’s story. We make brands matter.

    “Today, there are more opportunities than ever before to shape every aspect of a brand’s needs,” said Seifert. “The scale and diversity of our global network is the source of our strength. At Ogilvy, we design the components of a brand, create experiences around a brand, and communicate about a brand. Our new organizational design will empower our people to put clients at the center and create sustained brand value on behalf of our clients for years to come.”

    ‘Re-founded’ Ogilvy Built on 5 Key Pillars

    New organizational design

    A transformation from a matrix-managed holding company of sub-brands to one brand represented by twelve crafts and six core capabilities along with a new operating system

    – Our crafts: Creative, Strategy, Delivery, Client Service, Data, Finance, Technology, Talent, Business Development, Marketing and Communications, Administrative, and Production

    – Our capabilities: Brand Strategy, Advertising, Customer Engagement and Commerce, PR and Influence, Digital Transformation, and Partnerships

    New consulting offering

    Building on the success of OgilvyRED, an enterprise offering called Ogilvy Consulting, will focus on the areas of Digital Transformation Consulting, Growth, Business Design and Innovation and will work horizontally across all of Ogilvy.

    New brand identity and design system

    A new identity and design system, including a redesigned company website reflecting the “One Ogilvy” brand.

    New partnership model

    Use an integrated network business model, which establishes a “formalized global partnership structure” to “ensure that the diversity of our leadership – across markets, capabilities, and generations – better represents our brand for the greater good of the company today and tomorrow.”

    New global digital platform

    The creation of a knowledge-sharing, professional development and customized community-networking tool called Connect – to train our people and bring the right teams together to best serve our clients.


    Commenting on the “refounding” Tham Khai Meng, Chief Creative Officer, The Ogilvy Group said: “Our creativity is the foundation of Ogilvy’s global network and the most powerful competitive advantage that we have. We are building on the creative heritage of David Ogilvy to fuel our future.”

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