Find New Ways to Work with Clients

During his talk at Spikes Asia 2015, Andrew Benett shared seven tips for agencies operating in a post-digital world, including opening up to new models of client engagement.

At Havas, our tri-agency model based in-house at IBM Innovation Labs is a major collaboration success story and serves as a model for how agencies can partner with clients to help them innovate digitally. The relationship is built on the “Design Lab” model, now known as IBM Studios. IBM Studio is the manifestation of design thinking, bringing together groups with divergent expertise — brand design, experience design, developers, video production teams, marketing strategists, and more — to explore ideas, build things, and always keep the customer at the center of their thinking.

The Studio is purpose-built to foster collaboration. In fact, teams can literally reshape their space by moving their walls. Most important, we embed our staff directly into the IBM Studio.


As another example of new models of client engagement, Havas Work Club developed the “Ballantine’s Digital Lab.” It’s an open and democratic platform on which the latest global ideas and local market thinking are shared at an embryonic stage. The global Ballantine’s marketing community was then invited to view, comment, collaborate on, and vote for their favorite ideas.

The first cycle of the Ballantine’s Digital Lab generated participation and engagement from local markets that exceeded all expectations, and the two winning major campaigns are now under development. The Ballantine’s Digital Lab established a new way of working for Ballantine’s, and has established a benchmark for collaboration across the whole of Pernod Ricard.


Havas agency Victors & Spoils has gone beyond crowd-sourcing campaigns and actually taps into expertise outside the industry. Whether it’s a traffic cop, a flight attendant, or a farmer, they bring people from outside their walls into the advertising process. They also bring fans into the conversation early. While the team starts sketching out ideas, they simultaneously lean on consumers who truly love the brand in order to gain validation, insight, and inspiration.

When The New York Times and Bolthouse Farms asked the team to create a fictional campaign to rebrand broccoli, they picked a fight with kale, the most popular vegetable in the produce section. And it worked. In fact, three Yale University students got consumers to fund the campaign and run it all over New Haven, CT. And now, even more consumers are making the campaign happen in cities across the country and the globe.

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What are some new ways you’ve found to work together? Respond in the comments, tweet @havas, or email us at