By Published on .

At a gathering of U.S. employees last week, Leo Burnett Co. Chairman-CEO Rick Fizdale announced a reorganization into "mini-agencies" built around brand teams and a spinoff of its media department into an independent division.

"Putting this organization in place will be an act of joy, because it advances our determination to reinvent Burnett in a way that allows our clients and people to experience the values of a small agency without depriving anyone of the resources of a big agency," said Mr. Fizdale to employees.

Each mini-agency team, the number of which have not been disclosed, will have its own management and will be staffed with personnel from client services, planning, creative and production departments; it also will include specialists from the media division.

The media division, called Starcom, will be headed by Jack Klues, worldwide media director, and Bob Brennan, U.S. media director. Unlike Burnett's previous spinoff of Giant Step, media will remain housed in Burnett's Chicago headquarters.

The new structure will begin to be implemented in November, when the first two units begin operating; all units will be up and running by spring 1998.

Burnett also will introduce a package of proprietary research tools called BrandPath within the next 90 days.

This restructuring is far more radical than Burnett's introduction of brand teams in 1995, according to an agency spokesman. The groups working on each account will no longer be housed in their respective departments on different floors, but instead will be grouped together, he said.

The smaller group structure will ease communications and create a more entrepreneurial environment for staffers, Mr. Fizdale told employees.

"It's what smaller agencies have been selling to clients today .*.*. separate units dedicated to a piece of business," said Alan Krinsky, partner in ADvice & ADvisors, New York. "They're grappling with what a lot of agencies have been grappling with."

For example, Mr. Krinsky noted, N.W. Ayer & Partners has restructured around brand teams, as did D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, although DMB&B eventually decided to return to a more traditional pyramid structure.

The traditional agency structure works better when the agency is dealing with a large client like Procter & Gamble Co., not the smaller, more streamlined clients who are becoming prevalent in corporate America today, Mr. Krinsky said.

When a company hits a lull, it can't hurt to give it a jolt by reorganizing, and it can re-energize the staff, said consultant Alan Gottesman, managing director, West End Communications.

"Sometimes when you're in one of these funky periods, you're better off doing

Most Popular
In this article: