Advertising’s ‘fun culture’: The Works’ Julie Dormand on what’s changed

Mumbrella's Anna Macdonald sat down with managing partner at The Works Julie Dormand to talk about her experience thus far, Capgemini's relationship with The Works and how the 'Be Significant' platform is going.

When Julie Dormand joined The Works last year, she says she was not actively looking for a way back into the industry.

“I wasn’t necessarily thinking of coming back into a role in the industry straight away,” she says, “I’d taken a year out and I was consulting… When I heard of the opportunity, I was like: ‘okay, tell me more, tell me more’. What I love about [The Works] is there’s a real energy.”

Dormand joined the agency back in November last year as managing partner on a contract basis.

Prior to Dormand joining, The Works’ parent company RXP Group was acquired by global consulting and technology business Capgemini approximately one year ago, back in March 2021.

On being owned by Capgemini, Dormand says: “[It’s] interesting in itself being owned by a global technology business who are brilliant at what they do, but their true skill set isn’t advertising. It’s really wonderful to have the leaders who we work with at Capgemini, who can see that we’ve got complementary skills, but we don’t overlap.”

Dormand continues: “The skills really align. We do quite a lot of CRM (customer relationship management) and they obviously do platforms like Salesforce and Adobe. There’s a real connecting point as well, where we offer services that compliment for clients.”

Dormand emphasises the support Capgemini offers The Works, while also staying separate businesses. Although the relationship is under a year old, Dormand feels that is unlikely to change.

The Works launched its “Be Signficant‘ platform in October, which Dormand feels has benefited the staff at The Works.

“Sometimes you’ve got a position [and] it works to win clients,” says Dormand, “[Be Significant] works to win clients, but it also works with the people. The idea of it came from research they did with people: ‘What you want in your career? What do you want in your life? What matters to you in your job?’.

“It’s changed quite a lot in advertising. It used to be about the ‘fun culture’. Whereas now it’s moved very much to be: ‘I want to do something that’s important. I want to do something that’s worthy. I want to make the most of my time in my career, I don’t want to waste any time’.”

Before joining The Works, Dormand spent over 20 years at Mercerbell, departing in September 2020 when Mercerbell was merged with performance marketing agency Performics to Performics Mercerbell.

On a difference between The Works and her previous agency role at Mercerbell, she says: “The Works are still very entrepreneurial. It’s quite similar to Mercerbell before they were bought and acquired by Publicis Groupe. You’re running a business and making decisions very quickly on your own. You don’t have as many stakeholders up the line which allows you to move quite quickly on making decisions.”

Dormand adds: “We’re more than 50 people. It’s not a small group… if we want to do something, we talk to the two founders. We let Capgemini know it was a bit of an FYI what we’re doing, but pretty much we can do it ourselves, which is really awesome.”

Looking ahead to 2022, Dormand says: “CRM seems to be a focus, the customer seems to be a focus. Clients in-housed quite a bit of that the last couple of years. Now they’re going: ‘we need strategic partners to help us with our customer relationships. How do we engage customers? How do we retain them?’

“That’s coming back as a focus where they’re looking for partners. We’re seeing quite a bit of growth in that CRM space and we’ve one of our founders is an absolute guru of CRM.”

The culture at The Works is also a positive for Dormand, saying: “I don’t think I’ve known anyone be late to a call yet.”

Dormand continues: “To me, culture is the little things. People turn up on time and actually if you turn up on time, quite often, they’re all already there. That’s a respect thing in going: ‘we’re going to respect other people’s time’.”


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