At the behest of its largest client, Chrysler Corp., Bozell Worldwide's Southfield, Mich., office has received ISO 9001 registration, which certifies that a company has fully documented business processes resulting in quality management and quality assurance.
Bozell undertook the certification after Chrysler asked that the agency verify that it was compliant with the ISO certification requirements--something the automaker's marketing department was also verifying. The requirements for ISO registration were developed by the International Organization for Standardization in Geneva, Switzerland.
The agency decided to go an extra step and achieve full registration, which has been required of automaker parts and component suppliers for the last decade, said Janet Mendenhall, Bozell's managing partner and ISO 9001 task force leader. She said Bozell is the first major advertising agency to be ISO-registered, but expects others will follow.
Bozell earned its registration from Underwriters Laboratories, which observed the agency and its employees over a nine-month period.
Some of the agency's creative processes did not fit into the linear ISO models typically used by manufacturing companies. Bozell challenged the traditional ISO thinking and ultimately introduced a new circular method of process documentation.
"Initially, it was very threatening to everyone, creative especially, to think 'How does this fit us?'" Mendenhall said. "Our whole product is ideas and emotions; you can't put it on an assembly line. At the beginning, for a little bit, we were like the round peg in a square hole."