What next for WMH?

The management needs to stay focused on what has made the business so successful, principally the quality of the work – both for the consultancy’s own financial benefit (presumably there’s an earn-out to be earned) and equally to preserve and maintain an attractive environment for employees and clients alike. Second, the consultancy needs to look after its employees – the next management layer and everyone else as well. The business is only as good as its people and retaining their enthusiastic commitment depends entirely on the way they are treated and the stimulation of the work they do. This isn’t the time to risk losing key people.

Bob Willott, Founder, Willott Kingston Smith

Despite recent events, I have a hunch that the founders are more motivated by excellence than greed, assuming that the financial rewards will naturally follow (as indeed they have). Maintaining this balance in the consultancy’s new circumstances will be, I expect, its highest priority and toughest challenge.

Jim Bodoh, Director, Lloyd Northover

I am sure they will get plenty of advice, but all of the consultancy’s founders have been around the block, especially Richard Williams. I am sure this will not be the only design acquisition of the new year. Basically, the consultancy needs to stay true to its product and values and – when necessary – remind its new owner why it purchased it in the first place, because there will be either integration or interference occasionally. Also, don’t be dazzled by the ‘referral’ word – it rarely works, as the budgets will still be tight and your new colleagues will want a share. Ignore every snipe about selling out, stay positive and – more importantly – creative.

Paul King, Retail director, Vivid Brand

Don’t go into the relationship defensively and accept that being in a larger marketing services agency is part of expanding and growing. Keep your creative character and maintain what has kept you good. Exciting as being able to explore new disciplines is, try not to spread yourself too thin.

Stephen Bell, Creative director, Coley Porter Bell

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