In 2000, Bates needed to reposition the company globally (200 offices in 80 countries) to make Bates more relevant in the marketplace. Paul lead a worldwide team of executives to explore the true essence of the Bates brand. A comprehensive brand assessment was conducted across 6 continents including hundreds of interviews with Bates leadership, personnel, competitors, industry experts, the media and search consultants.
For years Bates had been searching for its past glory. Bates always stood for a no nonsence global advertising powerhouse that always produced hard hitting, in your face messaging that built business such as M&M Mars, Colgate, Warner Lambert and Miller Beer to name a few. As a consumate innovator, Bates created many industry firsts including the first online consumer research, the first digital technology (interactive) department, the unbundling of the agency model, the "Think Global, Act Local" concept and most importantly the creation of the USP (Unique Selling Proposition).
Known as "the thugs of Madison Avenue" clients often came to Bates because they had to. At Bates core, its essence was no nonesense, hard hitting effective communications THAT WORKED!. You may recall some of the iconic tag lines which have become idioms in their own right: "Melts In Your Mouth, Not In Your Hand." (M&M Mars), "Two, Two Mints In One" (Certs), and "Tastes great, Less Filling" (Miller Light). At its core Bates was about getting clients superior results.
But when Paul was named global Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of Bates Worldwide in 2000, It was an agency who had lost its way. With more than 200 offices across 6 continents - each working Independently and often at odds with the global brand's positioning, it was constantly reinventing itself when it should have, with the dignity and strength that it had earned as the World's premier powerhouse global advertising agency, been comfortable in its own skin. Paul knew that for Bates to succeed it needed to be true to its core reason for being. So Paul set out to develop a new global positioning.
First Paul went into the archives finding documents dating back to the "Mad Men" days of the 1950's and 60's to understand the DNA of what Bates was about in it's glory days. His goal was to find a positioning that would be realistic yet inspiring across the global network, yet appropriate for the time and authentic to the brand. Paul dug through mounds of correspondence: letters and memos from the founders, company wide documents reflecting the culture and practices of the day, and papers written by thought leaders such as Ted Bates - himself, Bob Jacoby and the infamous Rosser Reeves, who invented the USP. Paul was in his element - reaching back through time to pull the soul of the brand into the reality of the day.
Next he embarked on an exhaustive research project, interviewing heads of the 200+ offices exploring issues such as regional perceptions of Bates' SWOT, issues that were within their contol and out, etc... It was very sophisticated research against very specific aspects of the network. In Asia, Scandinavia, and South America Bates had a great creative reputation, yet in North America and Europe the creative product was struggling. The information derived from this activity was instrumental in understanding the different perceptions around the world.
Six months later - Paul led the global planning team which coined the phrase "Return on Imagination" It became a global rallying cry for everyone in the organization to bring their talent to bear to drive client success and it is still in use today across the Bates network.
As a member of the Global management board Paul reached out to the regional CEOs across the world to create a global initiative to be called the "Bates World Team", comprised of the top 80 movers and shakers in senior leadership positions among the 6 regions worldwide including North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Australia, and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The Bates World Team mission was to implement and drive through the "Return on Imagination" strategy globally. Paul went on to manage the team enabling Bates to target and win new accounts globally and change perceptions regionally.