Visual Jazz, which was acquired by Aegis Media in 2010 as part of its acquisition of the Mitchell Communication group, and Isobar Sydney have been operating as two separate offices but it "made sense" to bring both teams under one banner due to their close working relationship, said Jean Lin, CEO Isobar Asia Pacific in a phone interview with Campaign.
The new entity, which combines Isobar's Sydney office and Visual Jazz's offices in Melbourne, Sydney, and Canberra, will be one of the largest digital creative agencies in Australia with a staff of more than 180.
"Both Visual Jazz and Isobar in Sydney share the same vision, and we wanted to ensure that they were viewed as one team," Lin said. "After evaluating the situation in Australia, it was in our best interest to merge the two as Visual Jazz Isobar, setting the platform for a more aggressive push in Australia."
Merging strong local brands acquired by the network with the Isobar name has been part of its global branding strategy since 2010, Lin added. The initiative was to ensure the consistency and coherence of the Isobar brand while also respecting the local flavour and culture of the local acquisitions.
The method has worked well for the network, primarily because of its strong focus on culture and respect for the founders of the companies it acquires, added Lin, who founded Wwwins in China—now known as WwwinsIsobar.
"During the acquisition process, the Isobar global team and CEO is heavily involved with getting to know the local team and founders," Lin said. "Beyond capability and financial performance, they look for a cultural fit. By the time we [founders] join the group, it felt like we worked for a bigger version of the same company we've always run. It's a reason why so many founders have chosen to stay with the Isobar network after being bought out."
Konrad Spilva, one of the founders and the current MD of Visual Jazz, is no exception. He will stay with the network and be MD of Visual Jazz Isobar, reporting to David Stephenson, MD of Aegis Media Pacific’s Digital Creative division. The Sydney office of Visual Jazz Isobar, which now will have a team of more than 30 people, will be led by Grant Henderson as general manager and Verity Tuck as senior account director, overseeing client services.