Meet Jess Roberts, Chief Client Officer at OMD UK

We sat down with Jess Roberts, Chief Client Officer at OMD UK, to hear more about her 20 years at the agency and what’s changed since she started out.

Hi Jess – good to see you. Please can you explain a bit about your role and what you are responsible for?

Thanks for asking me to part of the “Meet” series on the OMD UK blog.

I became Chief Client Officer in July after working in various client facing roles at OMD UK.  It is the perfect role for me as I love getting under the skin of clients’ business and developing service and communication models that will drive growth for their business.  We have a varied client base made up of many of the UK’s favourite brands: McDonald’s, Boots and Channel 4 to name but a few and are especially proud of how many long-standing clients we have.

How has the landscape changed over the past two decades?

Over the (many!) years I have worked in media the landscape has changed beyond description.  I joined the industry in the late 90s and we “worked hard” planning the handful of channels at our disposal.  In those days we mostly worked with the creative agency as part of a full service team and our role was very much focused on the media laydown.  Now we work very much as an equal strategic partner with the client and creative agency and plan across a plethora of paid, owned and earned channels.  My job is to build client teams and service models that are shaped around their individual needs and will deliver on our shared ambition for their business and better connect with our clients’ customers/consumers. So, for example, clients like Disney need teams that are able to maximise the impact of their owned content before moving onto paid.

And how do you see it effecting our clients’ business?

When we were developing our new agency mission and strategy, we wanted to make sure we created something that was going to address the real challenges our clients have with connecting with consumers in today’s more complex landscape – so we asked our clients what kept them up at night. Alistair Macrow, the CMO of McDonald’s, summed up the challenge beautifully: “customers are more demanding, more diverse and harder than ever to reach – practically and emotionally”.

What do you think your clients are looking for in great client service?

A few weeks ago, as part of the client development and service module of our in-house training programme – OMD Academy, I ran a Q+A session with two people that used to work at OMD UK and are now clients at McDonald’s and easyJet.  It was interesting to hear them talk about what mattered to them and it was relatively simple stuff;

  • TLDR – this syndrome is alive and well amongst our clients. So keep it short, relevant and properly formatted
  • Opinion matters – be the expert, tell them what you think and what it means for their business
  • Every encounter with them in person or via email counts and it’s you who makes the difference.

How are you planning for 2016?

We have just kicked off our client development planning process for 2016.  Each client has a mini board, made up of business, digital, investment and strategy directors, who are responsible for developing a longer-term plan for our clients’ businesses built on an understanding of how their business will grow over the next few years and defining our role in helping them deliver that growth.  It means that the overall team across OMD UK is aligned around clients’ objectives and, as we develop responses to individual briefs, we can ensure they are laddering up to the client’s overall vision.


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