Bulchandani described it this way in an interview with Ad Age last year: “We were on mute.”
Today, however, the market is hearing Ogilvy loud and clear.
Bulchandani, who has since risen to global CEO, has rebuilt the agency by hiring heavy hitters including North America President and Chief Creative Officer Chris Beresford-Hill and Global Chief Creative Officer Liz Taylor.
Bulchandani, one of the rare women of color to hold a CEO title in the industry, has worked hard to diversify the agency, which now counts among its leadership Maria O'Keeffe, global chief people officer, and Stacey Ryan-Cornelius, global chief financial officer. This year, Ogilvy hired Darla Price to become president of its New York office, succeeding Carina De Blois, who was elevated to chief operating officer for North America.
The agency’s renewed attention to client service has also paid off, with organic growth from existing business up nearly 9% and U.S. revenue rising approximately 8% in 2022, its second consecutive year of growth. "The last two years have been quite spectacular as it relates to growth," said Bulchandani.
That progress has also been noticed by the agency’s parent company, WPP. On the holding company’s third-quarter earnings call, Chief Financial Officer John Rogers said of Ogilvy: “It really feels as though we have started to turn the corner in building that new business momentum, so that’s a really positive sign.”
The agency attributes the turnaround in part to getting its different disciplines to work together, via a single P&L, to offer holistic solutions for brands. “The biggest difference right now is that everything feels like it's there,” said Taylor. “We can solve their biggest problems using creativity in all the different ways that we know how. When I started, it was like whack-a-mole.”
“Every day all of us are so committed to making it safe for our teams to bet on better, bet on better ideas, bet on better talent, and push them to find the great and not worry about whatever else,” said Beresford-Hill.
In the case of H&R Block, that idea was to turn the notion of tax season as a dreaded annual rite into a celebratory event like Christmas. “What we wanted was [an agency] to make us a little uncomfortable,” said Jill Cress, chief marketing and experience officer at H&R Block.
Ogilvy, she said, “really helped us understand the psychology behind [the joy of getting a tax refund] and that created a really seamless bridge into the way we went at the creative.”