How OMD solved its complex cross-disciplinary content needs with Canva

About OMD

Headquartered in the heart of New York City, OMD(opens in a new tab or window) is the world’s largest media network, building a team of 13,000 within 140 offices in over 100 countries. Integrating innovation, creativity, empathy and evidence to make better decisions, faster, OMD has built a global footprint into virtually every market on the planet.

As the main media brand within marketing services giant Omnicom, OMD is closely affiliated with advertising networks BBDO, DDB and TBWA and has helped further the brand resonance among heavyweights such as Apple, McDonald’s, Nissan, Google, Disney and Wells Fargo.

OMD itself is a huge global brand, meaning that it not only needs to manage the brand consistency and controls of its clients; it also needs to manage its own brand distribution and representation in multiple complex markets.

Named Adweek’s Global Media Agency of the Year in 2019 and 2020, OMD is also currently ranked the world’s most effective media agency network in the Effie Effectiveness Index and remains the most medaled media agency at Cannes with 38 Lions across 2020 and 2021.

OMD uses Canva to create sleek content quickly

The challenge

With diverse teams all over the world working on thousands of briefs simultaneously, it’s easy to imagine how the many presentations, social media posts, and internal communication assets were moving with OMD’s ecosystem at one time.

Working across multiple time zones, as well as on the ground at live events like SxSW, CES, Advertising Week and Cannes Lions, the need to create sleek content quickly — with input from global team members — has been mission critical for OMD’s teams including marketing managers, social media managers, designers, account managers, media buyers and planners.

The pandemic exacerbated these challenges as OMD’s huge global workforce switched to working from home.

As Michael Rivera, Associate Director of Marketing Sciences from OMD USA reflects, real-time collaboration has been a cornerstone in their continued success. “We work with many various departments and teams, oftentimes remotely given the circumstances with the pandemic, and a lot is done virtually. So there’s a lot of real-time collaboration happening at all times.”

Jennifer Contreras, Integrated Media Planning Manager from the OMD USA team says it was frustrating having to rely solely on the team members who had reasonable design skills to create visually appealing decks.

“PowerPoint decks were time-consuming to create, and other platforms were difficult to use and took a lot of effort. I would always get overwhelmed using it,” she says.

“It was difficult not having a centralised platform for design tools and docs. People were creating their own designs and creative assets, and there was an opportunity to streamline sharing of material across the team,” says Jennifer.

Delays on sharing files and the inability to share feedback and make edits quickly meant that the internal review and external approval processes could take longer than necessary, meaning there was a lot of last minute deadline stress.

The Solution

Multiple OMD teams signed up with Canva Teams clients right before the pandemic, a stroke of good luck as Michael says that Canva was instrumental in supporting his team’s ability to work remotely.

Michael has seen how having access to Canva has allowed the team to collaborate efficiently on documents and presentations with each other and their clients — something that simply wasn’t possible before.

Danielle Le Toullec, Director, OMD Worldwide Marketing and Communications based in London, says that during the pandemic, OMD utilized Canva’s platform to create sleek thought leadership content across social and internal and external newsletters. As the world pivoted to virtual events, the platform was key in creating quick turnaround, high quality designs. The company has also undergone a global rebranding earlier this year, which was made much easier by having Canva’s Brand Kits available to the global business development leads around the world.

Removing bottlenecks to streamline workflows

8 months into adopting Canva, OMD’s global marketing team now uses Canva for almost everything — from creating social media assets across LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram, to internal communications visuals and recruitment assets — all with real-time collaboration.

Michael says, “The beauty of [Canva] is it just expedites conversation — I love that everything’s right there, in one spot. As opposed to waiting for somebody to open a PDF or download it, you can tag them and they can simply reply.”

The Canva Teams solution removes the need to send large files, which means there’s no firewall issues or uploading enormous files to file transfer protocols (FTPs).

“We really appreciate how easy it is to share links and templates directly with clients. Sometimes my clients will pop in and be like, ‘I like this idea’ and I’m like, oh yeah, that’s right. You have it too,” laughs Michael.

“I love the ‘leave-behind-ability’ so that clients can make comments and continue the conversation, even though the presentation is over. It cuts down on back-and-forth emails and waiting for responses. I think that has been a big win for us because it helped us take our strategy off the slide into the real world much sooner than would have happened otherwise.”

Telling better stories with presentations

As the world craves visual communication more than ever, in part due to the rise in social media communication and emerging online channels, Michael has seen the benefits of using presentations as a vehicle for stronger communication internally and for client communication. “So many people have Zoom fatigue from constantly staring at their screen, so any little bit of enjoyment that you can create with the shortcut features is a total win.”

Fun elements like Canva’s drum roll and confetti feature have brought a sense of joy into meetings.

“These fun aspects help engage the audience and make it a lighter experience for the team. These features have also been a big hit with clients — it’s definitely made them happier too,” he says.

Jennifer’s favorite presentation features are the frames and stock images. “The phone and the laptop frame have been my best friends when it comes to making a mock. And it’s just so much easier than before. I also love the fact that Canva has quite a bit of diversity when it comes to stock images,” she says.

Designing detailed presentations is an everyday activity for many of OMD’s employees so Canva’s time-saving benefits have been embraced with open arms. “I have always loved making presentations, but with Canva, it’s much more fun because you have the opportunity to design so much quicker. Before, I really did pride myself on being able to make PowerPoint presentations look nice but it would take so much time. Something that would take me two hours to design on PowerPoint takes less than a few minutes on Canva.”

"Canva makes things simple in the best way possible. Simple is not easy. And I think Canva does a really good job of empowering you to keep things simple, which is oftentimes the best way to educate and instruct people."
Michael Rivera
Associate Director of Marketing Sciences, OMD USA

Saving time with professional-looking designs, everytime

Canva has saved the team countless hours on designing especially when it comes to visually representing visual data points with Canva’s stock graphics & icons — allowing them to meet tight deadlines, with a renewed sense of ease.

“Our team put together a data-led campaign report within 48 hours. Previously, that process took much longer using PowerPoint and inter-team approval processes.” Michael says.

Jennifer also recalls a time when there was a tight deadline that needed to be perfectly executed. “We had a presentation that was coming up within 20 minutes and we were still making updates to the slides. And that’s something that we wouldn’t have been able to finish in time using PowerPoint. With Canva, we were even able to make updates during the presentation.”

Danielle says that her favorite features of Canva are the social posts and animated communications that can be exported to a singular URL. She is excited for the PDF importer to be rolled out (currently in beta) — she is anticipating it to be a ‘game-changer’ — as well as the data visualisation tools and real-time collaboration features. “If you need something that’s quick and easy to use, that enables you to have control over your brand and its execution on a very large scale, I would definitely recommend Canva.”

Michael and Jennifer agree that Canva’s presentations have taken the fear factor out of presenting for their teams, empowering them to start inspired and create without any hesitation. “Canva makes presenting fun. It sets a very different mood — it’s more playful and joyful. I know that the team feels more at ease and less nervous when they’re presenting in Canva.


Canva has become seamlessly embedded into OMD’s business processes with more teams adopting it day by day, making life easier, happier and more efficient for everyone. 8 months in, and the business development team is now using Canva presentations for select client presentation documents and follow-up communications.

The Marketing and Communications team use Canva for internal and external marketing material including social posts, newsletters, infographics, and thought leadership documents. They especially love the Canva integration with their Hubspot CRM, which reduces friction and saves even more time.

The teams are testing the talking presentations for internal staff communications and updates in order to maintain a human connection with the CEO’s vast global teams.

Danielle says, “We are in communications and face-to-face engagement is so important. And if you have a piece of content that is just words on a page, that’s one thing. But if we can get our CEOs in the corner speaking to our people, that’s very valuable to make sure that everyone around the world feels like they’re part of the family. And getting that contact on a one to one personal level.”

Some of OMD’s partners have even started using Canva to build out their proposals after receiving an OMD proposal or pitch deck.

Jennifer says, “They’ve started using Canva and it’s been awesome.”

Michael says, “Canva makes things simple in the best way possible. There’s an old adage that I remember. Simple is not easy. And I think Canva does a really good job of empowering you to keep things simple, which is oftentimes the best way to educate and instruct people. So I love that.”