The exception among the network’s 22 Asia-Pacific offices is recently acquired Trio Isobar, which will continue to retain its dual-brand.
The rebrand is significant, as Isobar is known for allowing its acquired agencies to retain their individual identities. The has also retained many of its agency founders post acquisition—a considerable achievement when 70 per cent to 90 per cent of mergers and acquisitions fail.
“The move is voluntary, and the initiative is led by our local leaders, who believe in a coherent Isobar brand,” said APAC CEO Jean Lin. “I built wwwins. For me to say that it should be now named Isobar, it means I really believe and am committed to the network and think it will bring us to a better place.”
Isobar, which was founded in 2004, is not your traditional agency network, explained global CEO Mark Cranmer. “We didn’t start around one footprint or one team," he said. "Instead the network was built, largely through acquisitions, around an idea: No other global agency network’s quite like us.”
Cranmer added that the network has been most successful in local markets where agencies retained their “founding pioneer spirit”. “That they are offering to rebrand indicates that they’ve come to a stage where they’re comfortable working within the network,” he added.
The move also benefits clients, said Lin. “We want to make it easier for them to engage with us and for us to deliver ideas and solutions.”
Plus, the collection of individually named agencies can be hard to wrap your head around, admitted Cranmer. “If we find the situation confusing ourselves, what more our customers?” he laughed.
While there is no formal global push toward a single brand, the movement is not confined to Asia-Pacific, as agencies across the globe are likewise jumping on board.
Cranmer commented that while Dentsu was not driving the initiative, it was highly supportive. “I’ve been four years in this role and there is a fresh surge of energy behind this business at a global level," he said. "There’s been a real sense of support from the wider group owner Dentsu.”
The network has no immediate plans, however to bring any of Dentsu’s media agencies into the Isobar fold.