In the last few weeks Ogilvy have launched a beautiful new brand. It’s everything you’d expect from an agency of its calibre.

It also sees the agency replace David Ogilvy’s mantra of “We sell or else” with “We change or else”.

At first glance, it’s very smart. A novel word change for a tagline which calls on Ogilvy’s heritage whilst looking forward to the new.

But thinking about it, taking the word ‘sell’ out of this rebrand represents everything that frustrates me about marketing today. Agencies are fundamentally here to help clients sell. And it’s painful to see agencies like Ogilvy aren’t anymore.

Selling is a strategic priority 

Sir Martin Sorrel, former CEO of WPP which owns Ogilvy, recently said agencies are facing the perfect storm; pressure from clients to deliver quick wins, cost cutting and technology disruption. Whilst he’s right, the bigger issue in my mind is how many agency leaders shape their client’s strategic priorities?

Sure “social influence” and “digital journeys” are good things to be doing, but their not strategic priorities for clients.

Instead of consistently focusing on helping clients sell, lots of agencies plough their energy into chasing any work or promoting the latest shiny toy. 

And what’s happening as a result? Marketing departments are putting increasing pressure on agencies and opening them up to the full force of what procurement do best…drive down agency fees.

Agencies have to work hard to create value – linking what they can offer to their clients strategic priorities. Leading with a perspective on issues like the opportunities for a client’s business model or risks in their market focus.

It will always be about selling

When I founded MomentumABM, it was to help our clients sell. In particular to their crown jewel accounts – often siloed and always complex.

We are here act as thought partners with our clients, offering a broad perspective and most of all we are here to help them sell. We’re proud of what we do and the success we bring our clients continues to rise. This dialogue is transforming the way our clients go to market.

Whatever Ogilvy’s new brand says about change, one thing that won’t change for clients is “sell or else”.