Starcom Preps New Org Structure: Will Split Into Client, Agency Teams

During its first 100 years, the advertising business had been known for teaming experts in two disciplines: copywriting and art direction. And during the past quarter century, media shops for aligning another two: planning and buying. But if Starcom CEO John Muszynski is right, the future of Madison Avenue requires the collaboration of two new areas of expertise - "activation" and "captivation" - and he's aligning his entire 825-person organization around them. In a new organizational blueprint unveiled last week, Muszynski said Starcom's U.S. operations would be restructured under four new divisional presidents responsible for ushering the Chicago-based agency into the future. In the next several weeks, he will reveal another phase to the reorganization that divides the agency's rank-and-file under two areas of focus: client leadership teams and agency leadership teams.

The new Starcom staff organization, Muszynski tells MediaDailyNews will complement the new management team he put in place last week by focusing the agency's personnel on specific client-focused or agency-centered needs.

"I'm creating two additional teams," he explains. "One is going to be a client leadership team. The other is an agency leadership team."

The client teams, he says, will focus on account related issues such as client relationships, the allocation of talent to specific accounts and the right mix of agency products needed to service their business. The agency teams, he adds, will focus on the Starcom's infrastructure - especially how human resources are organized and supported to ensure the client teams can deliver.

"On the agency side, we tend to take people for granted. The focus will be things that may not be clear to the outside world, but which are very important internally," he says, citing such areas as the finance, human resources, and public relations departments. "We're all going to get together and deal with these things as a team rather than as individuals," he says, adding that details of the new Starcom organization would be disclosed in the next several weeks.

Meanwhile, Muszynski tipped his hand with the new management team, and its focus on the new activation and captivation disciplines. By activation, Muszynski means the work Starcom does to activate its clients' businesses, including research, strategy, planning, and buying. By Captivation, Muszynski means the ways the agency demonstrates the results of those activities to its clients.

Starcom's activation efforts will be overseen by two executives - Steven Feuling and Chris Boothe - who will focus on the agency's consumer and media services.

Steven Feuling, who joined Starcom a couple of years ago as the agency's chief marketing officer from a top marketing position at Kmart, will head Starcom's activation efforts, serving as president-chief consumer officer, overseeing the agency's consumer context planning functions.

"He has to make sure the entire organization attacks problems by first unearthing and uncovering insights about the consumer. And then linking actions to those insights to action plans," Muszynski explains.

Boothe, meanwhile, moves to president-chief activation officer, a new title that consolidates all of the Starcom's media-buying departments under one executive. Booth, who had been executive vice president-group client leader, and had been overseeing Starcom's local broadcast buying group, succeeds Elizabeth Herbst-Brady who had also overseen national broadcast buying, but has also been given responsibility for other media-buying departments such as print, outdoor and digital media. Brady left the agency recently to go back to the media sales side at MyNetworkTV.

"He is going to be the link between strategy and activation," says Muszynski, "When a planning group comes up with an idea or a game plan on how to go after a consumer insight, Chris' team is going to activate that idea across a lot of different investment areas."

To ensure Starcom captivates its clients with those efforts, Muszynski named Andrew Swinand president-chief client officer from executive vice president-group client leader. Swinand will work closely with client counterparts, and Starcom's account and research teams to develop measures of accountability or what Starcom calls "ROO" (return on objectives).

"He's also going to be responsible for the captivation elements, which is another way of looking at accountability," says Muszynski. "He will be making sure our clients are getting the desired outcome and developing ways to justify it."

As an example, Muszynski cites the kinds of deals Starcom cut with Court TV a year ago that were believed to be some of the first ever that tied TV upfront advertising buys to audience guarantees based on some measure of engagement. Starcom and Court TV have never spelled at the details of those deals, but Muszynski says they are a foundation for the kinds of media buys Starcom expects to make with all media, and which tie results back to some form of client accountability measure.

In some ways, the fourth new Starcom president, Kathy Ring, who becomes chief executive officer of the agency's Los Angeles operations - and mega client Walt Disney Co.'s account - has the toughest job of all. "She has responsibility for integrating and implementing all of those functions in L.A.," Muszynski notes.