Octopus CEO explains shift away from "traditional" agency model

Octopus Group has rethought its agency structure with a view to breaking down silos and keeping the company agile in a fast-changing market, co-founder and CEO Sandy Purewal has said.

Octopus CEO Sandy Purewal: rethinking agency model
Octopus CEO Sandy Purewal: rethinking agency model

The technology PR agency has restructured and switched to charging clients for outputs rather than time as it seeks to focus on delivering sales growth for tech brands.

Purewal said the new structure, developed over 18 months, is based around a "brand-to-sales" approach.

"It’s hard to put in any pigeonhole, and that’s deliberate," he said.

Citing the agency’s previous "traditional" model based on account executives, account managers and account directors, Purewal said: "We have doubled in size and we have ambitions to double again in the next few years, and we felt that structure wouldn’t allow us to do it," he said.

The revamped agency now comprises relationship managers, project managers, engagement teams and specialists, with all teams operating under a central P&L.

The restructure is designed to create tangible outputs and outcomes for clients, he claimed, using content to create outcomes such as an impact on sales. Instead of selling time as before, Octopus will sell its services on a product basis, with clients paying for outputs.

"Each product has an output, and the outputs add up to create outcomes," Purewal explained.

"We had several P&Ls, and it’s the traditional agency approach," said Purewal. "One P&L unites everyone with a single focus, and makes the business easier to run."

He added that the strategy was designed to keep the business agile. "The reality is the industry is changing. The pace of change is fast and it’s being driven by technology."

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