Jens Mayer has built his career helping brands build strong relationships with the people that matter most to them, through live and digital marketing. He leads Jack Morton Worldwide’s (JMW) offices for the German-speaking market. With more than 20 years of experience in the brand experience industry, the JMW German offices are showing significant growth while following Jack Morton’s Worldwide ‘employee engagement’ mantra. We talked to Mayer about the importance of employee engagement, culture inside the JMW, as well as about brands and live events that are his expertise.
The value of Jack Morton comes from our employees
Q: You have been the Managing Director of the Jack Morton Worldwide’s German Offices since 2013. Your offices grew by 50% last year, making it the fastest growing office out of the entire worldwide network of the Jack Morton. What is your secret?
We’re still the youngest office out of the entire network so, whilst we’re very proud of our achievement, it should be seen in the context that it’s easier for us to grow at that rate in comparison to the more mature offices. There is no real secret. We invested in a very talented team. We over-index on our creative team so we’re really focussed on design and new ways of connecting and incorporating innovative technologies and new ideas into brand experiences. Lastly, we’re very focused on creating effective experiences for brands by genuinely adding value to the people that experience them.
Q: Jack Morton Worldwide is dedicated to culture of employee engagement. Why is employee engagement important?
The value of Jack Morton comes from our employees. They are the most crucial element of our business. We believe that if people enjoy what they do and feel at home and comfortable where they come in everyday, that’s when you get the best from them. Happy and motivated employees is what we aim for and we try our best to keep them happy.
CES 2019, Photo credits: Jack Morton Worldwide
Every employee, regardless of position, has a voice and will be heard
Q: How do you engage your employees? And how do they respond?
There’s a series of engagement strategies we use. On a professional level, we have 360 performance reviews annually and we create development plans with each employee to strategize their growth within the company. We also encourage open feedback throughout the hierarchy so every employee, regardless of position, has a voice and will be heard. Social activities, both inside and outside of work are an important part of our culture – we have very active social committees in every office.
Q: How important is the culture of inclusion: keeping in mind how in recent years an increasing number of companies has been putting emphasis on fair inclusion of women, LGBTQ, for example? What is the Jack Morton’s share in that regard?
We work very hard to incorporate a holistic culture of diversity at Jack Morton, integrating inclusion into our every day. We promote growth of our talent within the agency and ensure that all promotions and new hire opportunities are based on merit and performance. We also work hard to ensure recognition and celebration of diversity is woven into the fabric of our culture in an authentic way. Our DEI Council and ‘I am Jack’ teams run initiatives globally and we’re very lucky to have many members of staff across our offices who work proactively on numerous actions and awareness activities such as #Stickittosexism, Emotional Wellness Month and International Women’s Day.
Q: How do you manage to combine the cultural differences in the office (I assume there are not only native German speakers in your office, but people of several cultural backgrounds) with the Jack Morton Worldwide’s employee engagement goals?
In the German offices, we’re very diverse. Most of the employees are not native German speakers. We operate as one Jack, based on respect and communication. We’re a global agency with global clients and global employees. There was nothing we had to specifically focus on or manage to incorporate the varying cultures. It’s already in our DNA.
Q: How does employee engagement reflect in your Jack Morton Worldwide’s work with clients? Does it impact people’s relationship with the brand?
Our people are our brand ambassadors. The work we do in brand experience can be highly emotional and it impacts our clients and audiences on a personal level. So naturally, the degree to which our employees are happy and engaged with our own brand impacts on how they engage with clients and the quality of the experiences we create. This is just one of the reasons why employee engagement is so critically important.
Q: How much of your philosophy of employee engagement is used in the events that you prepare for the clients? How do clients respond?
Our philosophy is people. Our employees are our most vital asset because they define us as an agency. Our mantra is to Do something extraordinary – we cannot achieve this without the commitment and dedication of our incredibly talented people. Our clients work with us because of our people. This gives us our culture, our values and our reputation.
Q: Which Jack Morton Worldwide’s live event has been your favourite one and why?
All of the work out of the German offices seem like my children. I can’t really pick a favourite! But if we’re referring to work we create across our Jack offices, I think the work we’ve done with WE ARE Pi for Desperados to create ‘Deep House’ was exceptional. It really was a ground-breaking experience, which captured people’s imagination and truly connected with its audience. To be perfectly honest, it was a really kickass event!
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We want to push brand experiences to the next level so we’re able to define industry, rather than follow
Q: JMW’s clients are like Google, Airbnb, Reebook, … In fact, JMW in the past 12 months worked with 1/3 of the Fortune 100. What about your German office?
We’re still growing in Germany. We’ve done some work for Google as well as adidas, Skoda, Novartis, HERE, Sabic, MAN and many others. Our clients tend to be more European focussed but it’s also common for us to collaborate with other offices around the world. As I said earlier, it’s one Jack.
Q: What are the future predictions and plans for the German offices of the JMW?
We’re hoping to keep up the growth! It might not be 50% but we’re still targeting a high number this year. Our aim is primarily focused on developing the right team by hiring the right talent and keeping up the sales. We are and will continue to be one of the key players in the German market. We want to push brand experiences to the next level so we’re able to define industry, rather than follow. We’ve taken great steps in this direction with the launch of our global innovation practice, Genuine X, which works to help create the future of brand experiences through harnessing the opportunities presented by innovative technology, content and data. Lastly, we’re going to continue doing what we’ve always done, which is execute great brand experiences!