#oneteam and Media: Built on a Strong and Sustainable Hybrid Model

June 14th, 2022 | , Raphaël Metter-Rothan, Media Director, Desjardins/ Charles Beaulieu, Partner and Chief Innovation Officer, Glassroom

image of row boatThe traditional advertiser / media agency relationship has been the subject of much discussion and questioning. Taking stock of the current situation means taking into consideration a number of the following issues: a loss of trust in agencies, the survival of the local media ecosystem, the increased sophistication of campaigns, and a growing need to use advertisers’ data despite its sensitive nature. No matter how we look at it, one thing is certain: many brands are looking to play a bigger role in their media activities.

Thankfully, a truly collaborative approach exists, by which the advertiser can contribute expertise and strategic input as extensive as those brought by the agency, and where the agency can continue to add value, while remaining profitable. This approach is called #oneteam, and it’s what Desjardins and Glassroom have been cultivating daily for the past three years.

Built around the idea of complementarity, it’s an interesting model that involves a large team of media experts: professionals from both Desjardins and Glassroom work together using co-construction rather than the more traditional ping-pong method. This model asks the brand to reinvent its role by rethinking how it works – both internally and externally – what it contributes, and what value it can add. For its part, the agency must rethink its business model to adapt to new needs, learn to work with, not for, and help its client build a strong media practice—one that will continue even after the relationship ends. Experience shows that the key to a strong hybrid approach lies in the vision of a shared, joint project, the development of a decision-making mechanism based on sustainability, and radical transparency.

A joint project

It all starts with a joint project and shared vision that must be established as a team. Most of the time, the brand will initiate the discussion, but it cannot mandate the project. The advertiser, the agency, and their respective employees must believe in and be proud of this joint endeavour, which involves a media approach that’s specific to the brand.

This requires creating a strong, ambitious vision and going beyond simply developing and executing campaigns. While they should be people’s primary focus, these campaigns should not be an end in themselves. Rather, each activity should serve as a steppingstone for those that come next. A joint vision gives the team a clear direction that aligns all projects and creates recruitment synergy in terms of both talent attraction and retention.

A decision-making mechanism based on sustainability     

Sustainability. We keep talking about it because it plays a central role in #oneteam’s added value. One of the biggest advantages of the model is that it allows for the development and documentation of an advertiser-specific strategic approach that will be relevant over the long term, beyond the life of a single campaign, beyond the advertiser/agency relationship and long after those who instigated the project have moved on. This way, expertise isn’t lost during transition periods, and there’s less need for renewal since evolution and innovation are an inherent part of the continuous thought process.

The result? Everyone wins. For the advertiser, for example, there are fewer barriers to changing agencies, since media expertise no longer relies primarily on that service provider. For the agency, the method presents a rare opportunity on multiple levels: it fosters thinking beyond briefs and campaigns in the day-to-day, promotes thinking about the longer term and curbs judgment based exclusively on the latest campaign.

Radical transparency

Any collaboration worthy of its name requires a high degree of transparency that far exceeds the agency’s business model. #oneteam requires significant openness on everyone’s part. Whether from ourselves or our teams, we demand constant communication, where everything (the good, the bad, and especially, the ugly) is shared continuously and with kindness. Radical transparency also means the absence of the personal agenda. There’s only one goal, shared by all. Victories are celebrated as a team, and defeats are handled as a team. Individual success should only come from your ability to make your colleagues shine. As the saying goes: If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, though. There are numerous challenges and adjustments to be made. This approach requires the advertiser to develop a strong media specialization to increase the added value of its media activities at both the strategic and operational levels. It, therefore, requires a greater commitment to these activities and a fair bit of internal change management so that experts can deliver at their full value. For the agency, this new way of collaborating can be uncomfortable, as it challenges its current structure and processes. Most importantly, there are many nuances to the model that are critical to its success: it’s important to protect them, ensure they’re well understood and nurture them into a sustainable and robust approach.

#oneteam has completely changed the way the media teams work at Desjardins and Glassroom. After three years, we’re more convinced than ever that it’s the right way to go. It’s allowed us to take on ambitious projects and mobilize teams, even during the labour shortage. Without a doubt, this collaborative model fits our respective and shared DNA.

headshot of Raphaël-Metter-RothanRaphaël Metter-Rothan, Media Director, Desjardins 

As Desjardins’ Media Director, Raphaël manages the leading cooperative financial group’s strategic media planning and digital media campaign management and optimization for all national initiatives across multiple channels.

He is the driver behind Desjardins’ performant media teams, sustainable paid media presence and in-house media specialization and he also successfully launched an innovative one-team collaborative approach between the brand and their media agency.

Prior to joining Desjardins, Raphaël spent more than 10 years at several leading advertising and media agencies in Europe and Quebec, including Publicis and Zenith Optimedia.

When he’s not at work, you can find him running mountains and soaking up the view.

headshot of Charles BeaulieuCharles Beaulieu, Partner and Chief Innovation Officer, Glassroom

It was at Bos and Adviso that Charles developed his cutting-edge media expertise with a focus on digital data synchronization and analytics. Shaw Communications, Desjardins, Air Canada, and the Quebec Toyota Dealers Association, amongst others, have all applauded his ability to maximize ROI. Ask our partner and general manager and he’ll tell you that the secret to a successful campaign lies in data optimization and business intelligence. With Glassroom, Charles has made it his mission to disrupt the way things are done in the industry by championing a culture of integrity, compliance, and knowledge transfer.