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Awards case study: Find out how Man Bites Dog showed the best use of thought leadership with 600+ pieces of media coverage

Find out how agency Man Bites Dog helped Korn Ferry’s most successful campaign to date with over 600 pieces of coverage and exceeding its media target by 900%.


Marketing agency Man Bites Dog challenged the misconception that technology will make people less important in work. The agency developed data to prove that AI will increase demand for skilled talent – threatening $8.5 trillion in lost GDP.

The Global Talent Crunch campaign aimed to challenge misconceptions that technology will make people in their jobs less important. In this campaign, their client, global executive search firm Korn Ferry, positioned consultants as thought leaders and allowed for profitable conversations with business leaders and political influencers.

The campaign engaged Korn Ferry’s consultants and markers in 20 countries to deliver 600 pieces of coverage. 

By focusing on the quality of this global content, Korn Ferry’s consultants are actively using the content in consulting engagements, generating revenue through creating bespoke Talent Crunch consulting for clients.

About Korn Ferry

Korn Ferry, the global executive search firm, acquired management consultancy, Hay Group, as part of its strategy to create comprehensive people and organisational consultancy firm.


Korn Ferry challenged Man Bites Dog to create a global c-suite thought leadership campaign to substantiate its brand positioning as an organisational consultancy. 

Man Bites Dog aimed to position the firm as the go-to experts with powerful insights to share.


With claims that AI will lead to significant job losses, Man Bites Dog looked at 20 major developed and developing economies at three future milestone years: 2020, 2025 and 2030. They set out to forecast the scale, impact and timing of the talent crunch.– the next threat to hit global organisations and economies alike – demonstrating that talent should be at the heart of business strategy.

They hypothesised that globalisation, demographics and the growth of knowledge intensive industries would mean that corporates in major markets would struggle to find the skilled talent on which their future depends. Far from looking forward to a technology-enabled talent surplus, business leaders are sleepwalking into a ticking time bomb: the world’s first truly global talent crunch.

Man Bites Dog created a three-stage content programme which mapped to Korn Ferry’s services to highlight their expert consulting capabilities and generate profitable C-Suite conversations: 

  • Peak One:

    The Talent Crunch: We challenged the accepted model of labour economics, which assumes supply will always keep pace with demand, and created a new model. This generated a powerful call to action for KF’s talent services by revealing a shortage of 85.2 million skilled workers globally by 2030, threatening $8.5 trillion in lost annual GDP.

  • Peak Two:

    The Salary Surge: Showcased KF’s reward capabilities by uncovering a $2.5 trillion rise in annual payrolls globally by 2030, threatening companies’ profitability.

  • Peak Three:

    The Talent Shift: Refreshed and relaunched KF’s strategic workforce planning services with opinion research to show the C-Suite their talent blindspot: while 84% of leaders believe they will need more highly skilled workers in the future, just one in ten has a long-term talent plan.

Target audience

The campaign engaged the hard-to-reach c-Suite by connecting talent with financial performance and providing relevant country and sector data. 

This enabled Man Bites Dog to: 

  • take talent out of HR and into the news, business, sector and financial media leaders read; 
  • make leaders act by revealing a business-critical challenge they were unprepared for.

Media, channels and techniques

Man Bites Dog focused budget on creating the highest utility content for the C-Suite and earning credibility through editorial (worth $2 million). They produced local content toolkits for 20 countries, segmented by sector, including white papers, videographics, infographics, blogs and tools e.g. an interactive salary surge calculator. 

Man Bites Dog sustained impact across nine months by launching the three peaks in successive waves, each supported by targeted PR and paid social media, exclusive events, webinars and segmented email nurture streams. KF trained “business champions” in every office, promoting content through media, speaker platforms and BD meetings to take the campaign from reputation to direct revenue.

Timescale and campaign

  • Q4 2017:

    Strategy, ideation and economic research 

  • Q1 2018:

    Data analysis, narrative and asset creation 

  • Q2-4 2018:

    Integrated marcomms launch across three successive waves


The campaign successfully positioned Korn Ferry as a global thought leader on talent, generating exceptional media coverage.

  • Korn Ferry’s most successful media campaign exceeded media targets by


    and achieved truly global impact.

  • 600+ pieces of global media coverage

    (1.1 billion online readership, 178 million reach, 157K social shares) 
  • Media results drove largest ever spike in web mentions and traffic.

Supporting material supplied/Appendix

A2 Display Board

  1. Designed entry 
  2. Key image 
  3. Country Covers 
  4. Three peak covers 
  5. World map 
  6. Salary surge pay calculator 
  7. Countdown to Talent Crunch

“Being able to link talent and GDP is incredibly powerful. The Global Talent Crunch created a powerful call to action for our unique breadth of organisational services. It’s the first strategic campaign that captured the full spectrum of what we can do – only KF has the full solution to save the global economy from the impending talent crunch. This campaign not only exceeded all media and marketing targets, it is thought leadership leaders can use – generating $millions in direct revenue.” 

Korn Ferry vice chairman,

The B2B Marketing Awards 2020 Submissions are now open!

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