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Wunderman’s Star Within WPP Continues To Rise

It’s been a particularly busy couple of weeks for Wunderman, one of the largest digital agencies in the WPP network of companies. Since the beginning of June, the company has:

  • acquired an agency in Spain called The Cocktail;Wunderman logo
  • forged a partnership with Salmon, a U.K. based commerce agency that is also part of the WPP network, to create a new division called Wunderman Commerce;
  • announced creation of an AI services division built on Microsoft Azure, called, appropriately enough, Wunderman AI Services.

To top it all off, WPP also recently announced that it would be folding Wunderman’s sibling agency, POSSIBLE, into the Wunderman organization.

Why Wunderman?

WPP has no shortage of successful and growing digital agencies within its network, yet Wunderman stands out in a few ways. First, is its sheer size and geographic scope. The company had over 9,000 employees across nearly 200 offices worldwide even prior to joining with POSSIBLE, making it the larger of the two entities. As even the largest agencies struggle to offer their services in a consistent manner across geographic regions to meet the demands of global clients, and as more traditional global consultancies like Accenture and Deloitte move increasingly into the digital arena, that geographic scope is a competitive advantage for Wunderman.

Second, Wunderman has several years of making organizational changes to better serve clients in the digital era. In 2013, the company combined over 20 different units into four worldwide divisions:

  • Brand Experience: multichannel customer acquisition
  • Consumer Engagement: customer retention and loyalty
  • Data and Insights
  • World Health

Third, the agency’s leadership has been focused on becoming more strategic. Wunderman’s CEO of since 2015, Mark Read, was formerly the CEO of WPP Digital. His experience and perspective provides Wunderman with a view of how the agency fits within the WPP network as well as in the industry amongst its competitors. One of Read’s first moves was to bring on a CMO to guide the agency in how it could improve visibility of its successes and strengths, and present a more cohesive story to the marketplace.

Positioning for the future

The latest announcements from Wunderman illustrate that the agency is continuing to position in ways that make sense to continue to meet changing client needs. Strengthening its bench in a large market like Spain through acquisition of a reputable agency like The Cocktail allows Wunderman to better serve both Spanish clients and global clients that require a local presence in Spain. In addition, more and more organizations are looking at their technology investments in terms of solutions rather than products: being able to implement a commerce solution, as Salmon does, as part of a larger digital transformation intiative that may also involve integration with a WCM, CRM. or other system.

Furthermore, as more organizations explore the potential for AI solutions, it makes sense for Wunderman to be able to offer its clients AI services. This is a much more pragmatic approach that contrasts with that of Publicis, which sees AI as a way to solve its own organizational problems. Notably, Wunderman made its AI services announcement at an appropriate venue: a major Microsoft conference, where the audience was likely to have the senior technical executives that would be interested in such services and have the budgets to fund their purchase, rather than at an awards focused event geared to advertisers and marketers. like than Publicis did for Marcel at Cannes.

Wunderman’s recent moves make sense for an agency looking to stand out as a leader within its parent company and improve its competitive positioning as a digital partner for global organizations.    If you’d like to delve further into how Wunderman might be the right fit for your technology implementation or digital transformation initiative, please feel free to contact us.

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