So why is Ikon Mumbrella’s media agency of the year? Two things: culture and clients.
While every agency talks about its commitment to staff, Ikon actually does something about it.
Even former staff members (and with one of the best staff retention rates in the industry, there aren’t that many of them) speak fondly of the company’s culture.
Most impressive is the Ikon commitment to people development, with what the agency says is an annual average of 75 hours of training per head.
Every staff member gets their own development plan, which is reviewed every six months.
Among the various training programs at the agency, one of the most intriguing is the “Parallel Universe” tie-up with Google which sees staff from the two companies swap roles to strengthen the knowledge of both. In addition, managers, planners and traders are among those who get tailored training programs.
Alongside the training, come the perks. Extra days off for birthdays and honeymoons, hampers for new parents, and an annual ski trip are among the initiatives.
The agency has set itself a target of being recognised as the best employer in Australia by 2014.
The cultural roar at Ikon continues despite the fact that founders Simon White and Gary Hardwick are no longer directly involved. Leadership is now driven by national CEO Dan Johns, who joined the young agency as client services director for foundation client CommBank nearly a decade ago.
And while CommBank was the first client, the STW-aligned Ikon is now one of the biggest Australian agency players – breathing down Zenith Optimedia’s neck for sixth place by billings nationally.
Other major clients include Vodafone, Coca Cola, Westfield, Myer and Goodman Fielder. Indeed, Ikon has strengthened its grip on both CommBank and Vodafone, winning the lucrative online search accounts for both in the last few months.
Among major new clients, Ikon began 2011 bedding in Diageo.
Meanwhile, the win of Subway helped to launch Ikon’s Brisbane office late this year.
GroupM’s biggest media agency, MediaCom – Australia’s third-biggest buyer of media – has been its strongest performer in 2011.
Though sibling agency Mindshare has also had a good 12 months, winning Unilever and hiring boss James Greet, MediaCom’s chief executive Toby Jenner and chief operating officer Mark Pejic can be even more pleased to have turned around the fortunes of the $600m agency, which was named B&T’s media agency of the year. Winning Westpac, retaining Universal and getting on the Qantas global media shortlist rounded out MediaCom’s 2011.