Charlotte Beers at O&M

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1. What is Charlotte Beers trying to accomplish as CEO of O&M Worldwide?

Charlotte Beers took over as the CEO of O&M in 1991. When she took over as the CEO, the company had lost some of its major accounts including American Express (its most successful account) and the company’s revenues had declined sharply. The press was calling it “Beleaguered” and predicting that there was no hope for survival. O&M had grown rapidly in the 1980’s and now had 7000 employees across 270 offices worldwide.
Beers wants to build on the legacy left behind by David Ogilvy since she feels that the company has all the right ingredients but is just not using its core strengths (the world wide offices and the creative people).
Beers wants to retain clients
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But Gertsner felt otherwise, he felt that the strength of the company lay in being big. He felt that IBM just needed to do the same stuff that they were doing, only better. But he refrained from articulating this because of the impact it would have on staff morale.
The vision was very customer focused. The customers loved the vision and what it would entail for their business. They bought into the vision readily and were very enthusiastic about it. Charlotte had taken over the responsibility of communicating with clients while the other managers handled internal communication. Since the original vision of brand stewardship was Charlotte’s, I believe she did a better job of it than the other managers.
This led to customers coming forward asking for brand audits even before the employees had a clear idea of the vision. This might have hurt staff morale; the customers knew more about their company’s vision than they themselves did.

3. Evaluate the process by which Beers and her team created the vision

Beers first identified the people who were most passionate about change. She had a brainstorming session with them to understand the key change areas. After the meeting, the team reverted back with list of “to do” items, which was then shortened to come up with the key focus areas for 1993. These key strategies were linked to the emerging vision by the declaration “The purpose of our business is to build our clients
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