Looking Forward

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Lanya Zambrano

A brand expression reading "fwd.monks" surrounded by doodles.

When we started Firewood, a full-service agency built on the belief that good people are good business, we wanted to change the industry with a people-first approach. And we always said if we can move the dial even 1% on how the industry operates in order to make it a more people-friendly industry—then we've won. From the very start Sir Martin Sorrell believed in what Firewood was trying to accomplish, and in partnering with S4 our ability to move the needle grew exponentially given his influence and the much larger platform S4 brings to the table.

From day one, we set out to build a company committed to providing fresh viewpoints, doing social good, and helping people—both employees and members of our surrounding communities—grow both personally and professionally. We wanted to build something more valuable than business, something that had the potential to change the heart of our industry. The existing agency model was broken and we knew there had to be a better way.

So we created an agency built on strong values, solid partnerships, and a one-team culture of integration built on transparency, flexibility, and collaboration—a disruptive “embedded” model—that would break down traditional agency barriers and lead to higher-quality work. It was something other agencies weren’t doing, and it immediately resonated with our clients.

Over the next years our company grew to several hundred people working in seven offices spanning three continents. But we knew that to best serve our clients, we needed to scale. So we went in search of a partner who was aligned with our vision of disrupting the existing agency model to deliver speed, quality and value to our clients. A partner who could help us expand globally, offer our clients complementary capabilities and service offerings, and provide our people enhanced opportunities for career growth—all while maintaining our values and people-centric culture.

We’re excited about the recent launch of Media.Monks, our unified brand that unites 24 founding companies and nearly 6,000 digital-first experts under one (digital) roof. We’re building on existing equity from the most recognizable and established brand in the group and our new name represents our people, our shared values and our unique capabilities, and leverages the power of our collective brands.

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    Monk Thoughts What I valued most about the brand-building process is that it centered around inclusivity.
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    Portrait of Lanya Zambrano
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    We brought together many teams, individuals and resource groups all with the intent of ensuring inclusivity is at the core of our new brand promise. And while our family is growing, we remain a people-first company—we’re just adding access to global talent, expansive reach and a breadth of new capabilities. We’re extremely excited about what the future holds. Here’s what our people and our clients can expect moving forward.

    Our New Journey

    The wonderful thing about our new family at Media.Monks—and what sets us apart—is that the model leverages the best of each founding organization. Every company brings something different, and we all complement each other to bring more value to our clients. Founder buy-in is an important part of the formula. New businesses merge in a structure where the entrepreneurial co-founders retain ownership and influence over how we all build and grow our shared business into something wholly new. We’re all synched for the long haul and saying the same thing: Let's be disruptive, let's be different than all the other agencies out there, but let’s always remain true to who we are.

    “Through the whole integration process and with all the new agencies that are joining the fold, the first thing that I noticed is that we’re like-minded people,” says Michiel Schriever, Senior Executive Creative Director.

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      Monk Thoughts I’ve been around the block a few times and typically in agency land you have mergers that always involve politics and territorial battles, that's not happening here.
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      Portrait of Michiel Schriever
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      In truly integrating our people both as a culture and in our operations, we’re able to deliver content, data and digital media and technology services to our clients under a single P&L across 33 countries—something no one has ever been able to achieve before. For our clients, it means they keep the same day-to-day team they love but with seamless access to a deep pool of specialized talent and a much broader geographic reach.

      What You Can Expect from Our Bigger Family

      While our family has grown, our clients can expect the same service and relationships they’ve grown accustomed to. And we’re going to continue to foster our environment and culture. I recently spoke with one of our first employees, Laura Davis about this very topic.

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        Monk Thoughts The caring attitude that Firewood has always had about its people as well as our sense of compassion, empathy, and always approaching things from a perspective of humility, that’s what we bring to the table.
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        Portrait of Laura Davis
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        What we bring with us is all that makes us unique and everything that we started at Firewood: our highly collaborative embedded model of client partnership; our business acumen and operational expertise in digital marketing; and our values, our sense of family, and the importance we place on the employee experience—all of which makes for better work, better output and better results for our clients.

        “Firewood is a people-centric organization. And when I say we’re focused on people, I mean our employees, our team and our clients,” says Amy Michael, Chief Client Officer. “Firewood culture and organization is structured around client empathy and partnership—and that’s what we bring to our new organization, we aren’t in business if we aren't delivering excellence for our clients.”

        “I really believe in all that we built at Firewood—what we do, how we treat our people, and how we move forward in the industry with our clients—we’re doing something right,” says  Maridette de Guzman, Managing Director in San Francisco. “And we are bringing that part of our Firewood heritage to build a better work environment, a better employee experience, and a better place for everybody—all of our people and our clients—to exist.”

        Looking Forward

        New adventures can be rough and sticky at times, especially when building something that hasn’t been built before. We’re changing the landscape and there will be bumps in the road, but Juan and I couldn’t be more excited about what the future holds.

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          Monk Thoughts When people ask me, what are you all about? I’d still have the same answer. We are a people business that does marketing. Since many of our senior leaders are now part of the Media.Monks leadership team, we’re confident that our values and culture will live on.
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          Juan Zambrano
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