In addition to the global mandate, Stolkin says TTB is being oriented to source talent from all across the communications spectrum. "Everyone is doing more—media agencies are doing content, ad agencies are doing communications planning, everyone is doing digital. Talent has shot up the agenda." He also notes the growing mandate to bring talent from other creative fields into the ad world. "We need to know the interesting creative guys at places like P&G and MTV, too. We are starting to move people from different creative businesses into agencies." According to Gallop, who is working in an advisory role with the company, a lot of the big talk about talent in the industry these days is just lip service. "Talent is all too often not valued, fostered and rewarded in the way it should be, as the fundamental driver of any agency's business success. And when you don't really value people as you should, you don't know how to get the best out of them and you don't know how to provide an environment that ensures you do that. That's one of the things TTB intends to help agencies manage."
One of the main challenges for the company, of course, is simply overcoming the industry perception that the best talent wouldn't go through a recruiter and "that headhunters are a negative, that they destabilize the business," says Meredith. So the company, she says, is modeled to work with talent and talent hunters on a more long-term, strategic basis, coaching talent, advising agencies how to maximize the talent they already have, and offering talent negotiation assistance, in addition to placement. Stolkin says the company employs "talent strategists" (not headhunters, please) with experience in the industry and provides incentive for them to create long-term partnerships rather than just moving bodies. To that end, the company eschews commissions; instead staff get a share of 25 percent of TTB's pretax profit, based on a range of performance markers that may have nothing to do with volume of placements. The company's intentions are announced in no uncertain terms with an eye-popping logo created by designer and former BBH and Lowe creative John Hobbs. The TheTalentBusiness.com site was created by Mediahive. (TI)