WPP brand agency merger named as Superunion
In September 2017, Transform magazine reported on the surprise merger of five of advertising firm WPP’s leading brand agencies, including Brand Union, The Partners, Lambie-Nairn, Addison Group and VBAT. The supergroup has today revealed a new visual brand and verbal identity, bringing together the varied expertise of the five agencies under one coherent brand.
Named as 'Superunion,' the global agency is headed up by former global CEO of the Partners and Lambie-Nairn, Jim Prior, and former CEO of Brand Union, Simon Bolton, acting as global CEO and executive chairman respectively. With 23 offices across 18 countries, Superunion employs a network of 750 people and experienced $100 million in global client billings in 2017 – a single-digit percentage growth on 2016.
Speaking to Transform magazine in September, Jim Prior explained the reasoning behind the merger. “We’re responding to the needs of the client and aligning to the needs of the market. It’s about being on the front foot, it’s about generating a next-generation business model in the branding space that enables clients to get the services they want… and with a simpler interaction, simpler journey and simpler relationship… This is not a reactive move.”
Commenting on the announcement, Prior, now global CEO at Superunion, says the resulting combination of expertise offers the design and brand world a refreshing perspective and sees the agency work with a diverse roster of clients. “The world needs creative solutions to stimulate growth, in a way that traditional approaches alone cannot achieve, which is why we have formed Superunion,” says Prior.
“That creativity has to be applied at the centre of the business, where it can affect things like innovation, product and service, recruitment and retention, culture change, people’s experience of the brand, and the driving purpose of the organisation,” he explains. “It will offer more integrated services, high level strategic relevancy and closer connections to audiences, building stronger brands that drive our clients’ success.”
Simon Bolton, executive chairman at Superunion, agrees. For Bolton, the creation of Superunion offers clients a long-term perspective on building brand success. “We want our clients and their brands to build great, mutually beneficial relationships with their customers, various stakeholders and society at large,” says Bolton. “While it’s a big goal, we believe it gives them a much bigger chance of long-term success. Using our core principle of creative optimism and bringing the power of creativity to organisations, we are creating union that drives business growth.”
Currently on Superunion’s client list is global drinks giant Diageo, international football governing body FIFA, automaker Ford, airline British Airways and telecommunications giant Vodafone. And, given the evocative name, ongoing expectations for Superunion are high. Driven partially out of cost-saving necessity and partially from the need to cater for an increasingly global roster of clients, the coming months will determine how the newly-named Superunion fares in the face of strong industry competition.
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