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The House of Communication in New York has been open since the beginning of May and, with 65 colleagues and exciting customers, it is already “fully operational”. It also has a roof terrace with a spectacular view of Midtown Manhattan.
“If you can make it there… ”
The Serviceplan success story feels a bit back-to-front: first the world, then America… Following our achievements in Germany, we had set our sights on a targeted programme of international expansion across the three major economic areas. We would have started helping to shape the American communications scene earlier if we could, but from a business point of view, it made more sense to go to Asia first. In 2018, the moment finally arrived: we made it anywhere, so we will make it there, too.
When it became clear that our next step would take us across the pond, we immediately decided upon New York, and specifically Manhattan, as the location for our office. It hasn’t lost any of its appeal and it’s still “the place to be” for the creative industry (and it isn’t used for the opening titles of all those blockbusters for nothing). “It’s not that everything is better here, but it does make you improve a little each day,” said Stefan Schütte, Head of our New York office, to me recently. For me personally, the roof terrace with its view over Midtown Manhattan is still a dream come true, along with the jogging route in Central Park, an unbeatable part of New York.
The right team makes “ÜberCreativity” happen
The complete range of services for customers and our integrated communication approach are reflected in our new House of Communication’s management team. Serviceplan New York is led by Nick Johnson, along with creative director Jay Benjamin and strategist Nick Chapman. Stefan Schütte is overseeing integration within the House and in relation to Germany, while Suzanne Reeves-Lau is responsible for accounts as Group Director and Sarah Samshidi is responsible for Serviceplan Solutions in her role as Account Director. Ben Gaddis, President of T3, has already moved in with his team, while Ellie Bamford and Erik Dochterman are in the swing of things in their roles as managing partners for Modco/Mediaplus. Together, this management team is already operating successfully in almost every American industry and customer segment. Most of our 65 colleagues are either American or have many years of prior experience in the American market. But there’s always room for transatlantic exchange.
Bringing our independence, integration, innovation and internationalism to the land of opportunity
The mindset of our House of Communication in New York is built on the same values that have ensured success for every other Serviceplan office and division: independence, integration, innovation and internationalism. This creates the ideal environment for ÜberCreativity and minimises the barriers between communicative disciplines, cultures and markets. We can then implement ideas that only become possible when the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. I get goosebumps whenever that happens – even after 30 years in the communications industry – because that’s how Best Brands come about, just as they do at every Serviceplan location.
Serviceplan is heading to the Big Apple and taking with it everything that has already made the agency group a success in Europe and Asia: innovation, integration and internationalism. Our success is built on this combination and on ensuring the measures we adopt work well together. We’re not fixated on being “Number One”, but on being the best for our customers. I don’t know what the global communications market will look like in the future. One thing’s for sure: we’re prepared for anything.
Creative and stable
Serviceplan creates these conditions across the business in order to favour external expansion and ensure internal stability. Externally, this means ensuring we continue to grow steadily and organically in the years to come, including in America too now. While internally, every employee must have the opportunity to express their creativity and develop themselves further, across countries and the individual divisions. In all honesty, that was another reason for our terrace in Manhattan. And by the way, the next New York Marathon is on 4 November. By this time, Serviceplan New York will have been up and running at its location near Central Park for a little while. So who knows? We may find one or two European Serviceplan employees looking forward to a welcome drink at the Tavern on the Green – as they drag themselves round the last couple of miles of the marathon course.
Germany meets America – a recipe for success
Serviceplan is the only independent German agency group to have established a foothold in the USA. For this very reason, we will bring traditional German virtues to New York and mix them with the spirit of America. And the customers love this blend of American zaniness with German tenacity and drive. Even in New York, where “anything goes”, this combination is out of the ordinary.
When we Europeans think of American brands, the names of tech giants and convenience brands, such as Coca-Cola and American Express, spring straight to mind. But there are many archetypically American brands that lots of Europeans have never even heard of. We find these brands especially exciting and are looking forward to seeing what kind of business the Manhattan crew might attract. Our portfolio has already gained one such customer in Brighthouse Financials.
I’m filled with nervous excitement about this new opening and the fact that something we’ve prepared for so carefully is actually finally happening. Our ambition to make it happen right here in the birthplace of advertising, amongst the inventors of PR and the pioneers of digitalisation, continues to drive us all. Shall we, Big Apple?
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