Code Worldwide

How PHD built a global collaboration culture through technology?

Gael Angoula

Gael Angoula

Marketing Manager

PHD is a global media planning and buying network.

Back in 2012, it was starting to become clear that media agencies’ core proposition was beginning to erode.  Their monopoly on audience data and media buying power was been attacked by ‘Big Data’ and ‘D.S.P’s (Demand Side Platforms), provided by the media owners themselves.

PHD has long been a clear intellectual leader in the industry, and whilst technology has been commoditizing other agencies’ positioning, PHD saw the opportunity to use technology to re-affirm this leadership to its clients.

Code Worldwide wanted with PHD to create a Media Planning and Operations system which melds data with game-theory and social software: Source.

Source introduces scientific rigor into idea generation, using data to inspire and identify opportunity, rewarding collaboration and creating a single methodology which works globally and locally.


Source is built as a global multi-player game, one you win by essentially doing your job right.  Each action you take in Source (segmenting an audience, contributing an idea, optimizing reach etc.) earns you ‘Pings’.  You can track your performance versus your local and global colleagues on leaderboards.  By gamifying the planning process, Source reinforces every day with every action the culture that PHD wants to create.

Source is inherently social.  Planners from all PHD’s offices are encouraged and empowered to collaborate, and rewarded when they do.  Source creates a common platform and process for collaboration and allows employees to share ideas, get instant feedback from colleagues and mobile panels and validate their thinking with experts around the world.

The impact of Source has been significant, winning business, awards, further enhancing PHD’s reputation as the industry’s innovator and creating a new culture within the network. This is how Source changed the game. Technology Leadership to respond to Technology Challenge.

It works – 1,500 media planners in 75 countries are using Source each day.  Within 3 months of using the service 75% of PHD employees from CEO’s to trainees were active in Source and generating ‘pings’.   The media planning for key clients including Lynx, Ben & Jerry’s, GSK, Surf, Kraft, Magnum & Unilever are now planned each day in all PHD’s offices using Source.

PHD was awarded Unilever’s global planning account in June 2012, following a final shoot-out against WPP’s Mindshare. The agency also handles the media planning and buying for Unilever in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, New Zealand, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.