Q & A with Lisa Ross - Cause Advocacy

Lisa Ross, Executive Vice President and Practice Head
Corporate & Public Affairs
E-mail | 202-729-4000

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1. What is it that differentiates how Ogilvy approaches multicultural communications? What does Ogilvy know how to do that others do not?

What distinguishes Ogilvy is the fact that we don't recognize the word "minority". We see, just by sheer numbers, that all audiences are naturally diverse by nature. We don't subscribe to the concept that there is a minority or a majority approach to things. We recognize that communicating with a diverse population requires diverse abilities, sensitivities and contacts. Even within communities of color, one size does not fit all. Audiences respond differently to messages depending on behavioral, demographic, cultural, geographic and other factors.

Ogilvy knows how to market to audiences from a multicultural perspective that's based on diversity way past race and ethnicity. We recognize that even within race and ethnicity, there's a great degree of socioeconomic diversity, geographic diversity, and religious diversity.

We look more at how people identify themselves, rather than how others identify them. We know that in reaching audiences, they're going to be touched by how they see themselves, rather than how you see them. From a marketing perspective, this makes a big difference.

2. What is Ogilvy's greatest asset or edge in helping clients?

Ogilvy's greatest asset is its people -- the right people with the right set of skills and the right sort of can-do attitude. Our clients pay us to think, to be smart, to add value to a conversation and to an idea. Anyone can execute, but I think the most valuable asset that Ogilvy has is our approach to problem-solving and our proven ability to apply our research by thinking creatively, strategically, and in a pragmatic way.

Our multicultural communications team in particular is a great asset to our work in that it represents the modern face of America -- a cross-section of ethnic and cultural groups from urban, suburban and rural communities.

3. What makes you proud about saying that you work for Ogilvy? What is your proudest Ogilvy moment?

One of the reasons I'm proud to work at Ogilvy is that we are entrepreneurial by nature. Ogilvy is a place where if you come in with the right attitude, the right ability, you can literally do anything you want. You can build a practice, you can create a product and sell it, you can have a different approach to management. As long as it works, it's profitable, it's legal, and it's good for our clients, you can do it here.

One of the things I'm most proud of is the practice within a practice we've built addressing the needs of people with disabilities. That is a target audience and an industry that's been so greatly overlooked. We have, through our efforts in this field, been able to look at a measurable difference in corporations' viewpoints on the value with people with disabilities in the workplace. It's not a moment, but a phenomenon. Our concentration in that area, and the contribution that we've been able to make from a corporate perspective... we've been able to make a real impact through communications.