Whether it’s cracking communications strategy, or tackling a huge transformation programme, here at The Maverick Group when we need stand-out strategy, we turn to one man (well, and his team of virtuosos): Jamie Chadwick. As our Group Head of Strategy, Jamie leads the PULSE team; giving insights and shaping strategic direction across The Maverick Group.
In an industry full of fluff and hot air, Jamie is as no-nonsense as he is practical. And this straight-talking approach to strategy is what both we, and our clients, love about him. And he is someone who absolutely loves his job, otherwise, he’d be off to France to start a vineyard…
You’ve been at The Maverick Group for just over a year now. What’s it like and why do you enjoy it?
TMG is a very adaptable business. I joined mid-pandemic and I was impressed by the way the organisation and everyone within it switched to a new remote team environment so seamlessly. I was also impressed by the way the leadership of the business used the pandemic as an opportunity to find a new operating model that helped people take more control of their working preferences. Clearly many businesses have now followed suit, however The Maverick Group did it early without looking to see what everyone else was doing. They just knew what was right, and did it. Which is pretty much the mantra for how all decisions at Maverick have been made in its 20-year history.
I’ve also found the breadth of strategy projects at the business far greater than at any other agency. We are working on communications strategy, brand positioning, insight development, business strategy and transformation too. This has been the most enjoyable aspect of working at the Group; not being pigeonholed by clients and therefore free to solve business problems outside of the normal advertising agency scope.
When you arrived the strategy division was very much “work in progress”. Can you tell us more about the PULSE proposition?
The great thing about arriving when PULSE was undefined was that it could be shaped into what the group needed and wanted it to be. There has always been the scope to be more than a communications agency, so from day one we addressed this. The opportunity to move into the business consultancy space was clear and obvious and we have big clients that trust our approach and our thinking.
Our core proposition is to be the insight and strategy engine of the group. Everything we do is underpinned by research, and this part of our PULSE offering is led by Surraya [Sumner], our Insights Director, who brings enormous experience and understanding to the business. On top of this foundation of insight we serve strategy three ways: communications strategy, brand strategy and business strategy. We think that this reflects the needs of the group now, but importantly it supports clients’ future needs, too.
You’ve already grown the team with some great hires; what are the future plans for PULSE?
We are going to build an even more robust strategic process into the business. Ultimately PULSE is responsible for the effectiveness of our output. Building a flexible but rigorous approach to solving client challenges across all business units is the 2022 plan. As this plan materialises and we win more new business, we will be looking to grow the team steadily, bringing more of the very best minds in the industry into the PULSE team.
Where do you see the big opportunities for PULSE and The Maverick Group?
In the advertising space and the business consultancy space.
The advertising space needs disruption; the way pitching is done needs disruption too. Our bank of relevant and recent case studies is expanding at a rate of knots and this is making it easier to get on the right pitches. When we have a chance, we invariably take it.
The other huge opportunity is consultancy work. Driving impactful change, especially cultural change in organisations, is a huge opportunity for us and we are looking for new business prospects that want more of what we are already to offering to world class brands including DHL, Coca-Cola and Manchester United.
What do you love about strategy and why?
It’s great to make complex stuff simple.
If you were to give advice to someone looking to get into strategy, what would that be?
Don’t let theory blind you from reality. The perfect answer on paper is not always the perfect answer in practice. Understanding how to balance this reality is the key to becoming an effective strategist.
If you weren’t in strategy, what do you think you’d be doing?
I’d be in shorts and a t-shirt, with the warm continental sun on my back, tending to my grapes in my French vineyard, thinking about what I was going to buy from the market for dinner.
So, that’s Jamie Chadwick, strategic leader and wannabe vigneron. Perhaps it’s no surprise that he’s allergic to highfalutin’ industry waffle, instead preferring the disciple of pragmatism. Jamie is a master of bold but calculated moves who keeps his feet on the ground.