Q&A with Nicky Unsworth about the formation of Tribe Global


By Stephen Lepitak, -

January 27, 2012 | 4 min read

BJL managing director Nicky Unsworth discusses the formation of international marketing group Tribe Global.

How long have the agencies been working on establishing this group?

We’ve all know each other for over five years and we know each other exceptionally well. We’ve been discussing this for a couple of years but it’s been over a year since the idea gained momentum and we’ve had three meetings in that time period, in Luxembourg, Brussels and Amsterdam, and now in London for the launch. We literally signed all of the legal documents yesterday.

It’s being run out of Amsterdam, so all the legal have been signed in Holland. We’re actually intending to run it like a company, so Ian Wright from Family will be employed Tribe Global. He’ll be taking some time out of Family and spend time leading this. There is also a board of directors, with the chairman Daniel Eischen, I’m vice chairman, the secretary is from Holland and the other board-member is from Minneapolis. So you’ve got a real spread of markets there. There will be quarterly board meetings and an annual network meeting, which this year is going to be in Mexico.

One of things we have been working on is our new business strategy, so we will be targeting clients jointly. There are three strands of activity; new business, knowledge sharing across markets – we’ve just been discussing putting together a social media offer, and the third will be sharing between the agencies. We are already auctioning swapping personnel, for example one of the guys in Mexico who is doing exceptionally well, is going to come and work with one of the UK agencies. That’s something that hasn’t happened yet but we plan to ensure that our people get the type of experience that they would at a global agency.

It’s a great team. We’ve all known each other well and the companies have been selected through the culture within the agencies and their skillsets. The Mexican agency is one of the biggest independents in the Mexico for example. We’ve identified markets where we have gaps. We had a couple of agencies in yesterday pitching to us to join too.

You must be looking to the Middle-Eastern market though?

That is one of things we have been discussing. Between us, three or four of the agencies have already had trips to China, so we’ve already started looking at agencies out there and we have a couple of conversations underway and we have a couple of contacts out there. Meanwhile, one of the agencies may end up opening an office in China while another already has clients like Three and Audi that they’re working for. China is probably one of the ones that is at the top of our list at the moment. We have some Eastern European markets as well that we’re looking to recruit within, so Poland and Russia too.

What changes will this mean for BJL, if any?

Most of us have already worked with international clients and this will consolidate the opportunity and put us in a better position to work with our existing clients on an international basis and new clients internationally. It also allows us to tap into best practice from other agencies, so other agencies who have a new initiative, or a specialist skill or a piece of expertise, then we will share those more readily.

Supposing that one of the companies within the group falls into trouble, how does that affect the group?

We are all actually very good friends and know each other well. If one agency got into trouble, there would be no impact. We are all retaining our own agencies, but what you would find would be that everyone would rally around to help them. That’s the great thing about the collaborative nature of something like this. It wouldn’t impact materially on any of the agencies as we are all retaining our own equity.

The agencies included in the group are BJL, The AdStore, Family and Complete Media Group from the UK, Steam (Netherlands), Dagré (France), Interact (Luxembourg), defacto.X and Punktzwei Markenagentur (Germany), gkBrand and Bolin Marketing (USA), Gaudelli MCW (Mexico) and Tempest Advertising (India).


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