Tuesday, June 17

Pietro Leone : "Affiliation is not the right solution for CEE"


Pietro Leone is CEO for EMEA at Geometry Global, and was also the Regional Director of Grey/G2 who concluded the WMC/Grey affiliate.

His response to our remarks on the Hullabaloo/TBWA affiliation are therefore pertinent, and perhaps surprising.

“While you are right that the region as a whole requires too much management attention compared to the benefits, it is still (with Russia) a region of 450m people, delivering up to $100m in annual revenues” he wrote, “If it was your company, would you give up $100m in revenue for an affiliation fee?”

“So while I agree that the network model needs to evolve, affiliation is not the right solution. Fewer, and better offices, is the way to go. We need to concentrate the capability in fewer offices, and develop a breed of people with tools and skills unmatched by local agencies. The real issue in CEE today is that many good people trained by international agencies have opened their own agencies; until network agencies concentrate on improving daily delivery, these local agencies will always win based on the perception that they provide the same quality of service more cheaply.”

“ At Geometry we have a strategy for the whole region, which will build a ‘value gap’ between us and the rest of the pack. “Value” comes not just from the size of the business and the clients we have, but from the equity you build into the brand. This is what worked in the WMC/Grey deal; the combination of a great local entrepreneur (Tomas Vondracek) and a reputable brand on his shirt.”

“We remain committed to CEE with a ‘fewer and better’ approach.”

It’s an interesting viewpoint, which probably cannot be properly evaluated until some of Geometry’s plans for the region –and of course the Czech Republic specifically- are realized; in the meantime, it’s a thoughtful addition to the debate. Does anyone want to comment on it?

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