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WPP announces cross-industry programme for senior business leaders

Forms Institute for Real Growth in collaboration with Facebook, Google and other well-known organisations to help organisations focus on sustained, long-term ‘real growth’

WPP has announced the formation of the cross-industry Institute for Real Growth (IRG), a programme to help chief marketing officers and other senior business leaders to drive more effective growth strategies.
The not-for-profit, independent institute, co-founded by WPP with Facebook, Google, Kantar, LinkedIn, the NYU School of Professional Studies (NYUSPS), Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford and Spencer Stuart, aims to help organisations focus on sustained, long-term ‘real growth’ by equipping leaders with best practice approaches to their strategy, structure, capability and leadership.

Participants in the programme benefit from a curriculum approved by the IRG Founder Advisory Board and will receive an NYU School of Professional Studies Certificate of Completion in Real Growth Leadership. The programme comprises a series of workshops that provide close collaboration with peers, the latest in-depth research, world-class case studies, expert speaker insight and individual coaching, personalised to each attendee’s leadership and organisational business growth needs.

At the first in a series of IRG events, WPP shared new findings from the comprehensive global study, differentiating growth over-performers from underperformers. Speakers at the event in New York included co-founders Carolyn Everson, Vice-President of Global Marketing Solutions at Facebook; Bethany Poole, Director of Ads Marketing at Google; Mike Romoff, Head of Global Agency and Channel Sales at LinkedIn; Michael Diamond, Academic Director of Integrated Marketing and Communications at NYUSPS and Greg Welch and Tom Seclow, Consultants at Spencer Stuart.

Over the last year, a team of 20 WPP strategists and consultants interviewed around 500 senior business leaders and evaluated over 1,500 online survey contributions from 73 countries to identify seven building blocks for real growth. The study incorporated an AI analysis of over 3,500 publications and a behavioural analysis of LinkedIn data from over 800 million connections across three million employees.

Key findings from the global growth study revealed:

Growth over-performers expand the definition of the market they compete in and offer ever-evolving experiences to their consumers.

Over-performers embrace a ‘whole-brained’ approach; unlocking the power of data with insights and combining technology with creativity.

Organisations that are more open and better connected both internally and externally outperform their competitors.

Organisations that set ‘humanised-growth’ objectives — in terms of value to their customers, their colleagues and their communities — can expect to drive more sustained business growth results.

At the Institute for Real Growth’s first event hosted by WPP in New York, Mark Read, CEO of WPP, said, “Clients tell us that sustained top-line growth is their number one priority but they face increasing challenges in delivering it. 

“The results of our comprehensive global study confirm that sustained growth requires the disciplined execution of integrated strategies that combine data and technology with human insights, creativity and innovation.

“The Institute for Real Growth brings together influential partners to help organisations focus on long-term success, and promotes winning approaches based on unrivalled knowledge and expertise, academic rigour and transformative ideas.”

Carolyn Everson, Vice-President of Global Marketing Solutions at Facebook, said, “I’m honoured to be a part of the IRG as it gets right to the heart of what every leader is focused on: growth. I applaud the IRG for endorsing a humanised-growth approach — sustainable business results always start with people.”

Michael Diamond, Academic Director of Integrated Marketing and Communications at NYUSPS, said, “The NYU School of Professional Studies is grounded in applied research taught by a distinguished practitioner faculty. We are delighted to collaborate with the Institute for Real Growth to provide senior-level marketing executives with the knowledge and insights they need to succeed on a global scale.”

Marc de Swaan Arons, co-founder of the Institute for Real Growth, said, “Together with my co-founder Frank van den Driest, we have expanded on WPP’s global growth study to create an industry-wide programme that is focused on helping senior leaders make better marketing decisions and influence better business decisions. IRG is the only platform where growth leaders can learn from world-class over-performers and topic experts and collaborate with peers to solve their specific business growth challenges.”

The Institute for Real Growth is run by the same team that led WPP’s Marketing2020 and Insights2020, two industry-wide studies conducted by Kantar that featured in the Harvard Business Review and identify how to organise marketing functions in a digital age, as well as how to use the role of an insights function to help drive customer-centred services.

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