Ben Bold
Jan 16, 2020

Mindshare forges closer links with Neo to unite brand and demand

'Refocus' will result in number of new roles across Mindshare and Neo.

Mindshare global chief executive Nick Emery
Mindshare global chief executive Nick Emery

Mindshare is integrating its media capabilities with the skills of performance marketing stablemate Neo in a move designed to tighten ties between brand-building and demand.

While the two WPP shops will retain their corporate identities, cultures and client rosters, their integration will result in a number of key changes to both agencies’ offerings.

The first is called Outcomes, a results-based unity using 5,000 specialists (from across Group M and WPP) that will target addressable media for both Mindshare and Neo clients. Its focus will be on areas such as social media, search, programmatic, performance analytics and ecommerce. Supplementing this, Mindshare will launch an "Acceleration" planning approach that will be delivered by the Outcomes unit to connect brand-building media planning and buying to performance and sales.

Secondly, Neo will be "transformed into a full-funnel agency with a performance attitude". Essentially, this means that the agency will be able to tap into Mindshare’s scale, tools and technology.

Finally, Mindshare has created Change, a transformation consultancy designed to help brands tackle challenges around working models, data and technology – ultimately to drive sales. A "hub" structure will connect Group M and other WPP agency talent, whose specialisms come from disciplines outside media and marketing, including management consultancy, data and analytics.

The refocus will also see the creation of a number of new roles. Speaking to Campaign, Mindshare global chief executive Nick Emery said: "There will be positions within Neo because as a performance agency it needs to have more generalist strategic brand-building capabilities. And vice versa, there will be positions within Outcomes, leadership positions by region. We’ll look for a global lead for that."

Meanwhile, the launch of the Change consultancy will see the appointment of leads for Mindshare’s global markets, "so there will be 10 people who will lead Mindshare Change in the major markets – New York, Shanghai, Mexico, London etc", Emery explained.

He is insistent that the changes represent a refocus of the agency rather than a restructure and it's a shift driven by clients, who in the past 18 to 24 months have been wanting to talk about three key subjects.

The first is around how they can get brand and demand working together better – and this is an area that Emery is clearly passionate about.

"The point is the integration of the two," he said. "You’ve either got specialist digital companies or you’ve got old-fashioned brand companies, both of which are valid. But no-one is putting the skills together.

"Then you’ve got CEOs and CMOs obsessed about digital transformation, who want a change-management organisation that can go into the CEO or CMO and talk to them about how structurally they need to change. It’s a thinner layer of people, but people who have worked at management consultancies or with different backgrounds. So how do you package that up for clients?

"And at the opposite side of spectrum is the question: how can you give us low-overhead activation across all our media, not just our digital media?"

The ultimate aim for Mindshare, Emery said, is to be entirely accountable, to be paid not on the basis of an annual retainer but on what "we sell for them". He added: "But the only way you can get to that is if you unite the services of brand and demand. Otherwise you’re at opposite ends of the funnel and you’re not integrating it."

Emery continued: "So yes, that’s the objective. But unless you structure and unless you give people a service that is easy to buy that offers a solution around that, then you never get to that. I think what’s happened with a lot of organisations is that they haven’t embraced that.

"That’s why the integration of brand and demand to drive outcome at scale is the point. How do you do that? You do that by creating a change-management consultancy, you do that by organising all your outcome-based delivery to one place, and you have a system and structure and a way of working which is a process to deliver. It’s not overly complicated, but a lot of people aren’t doing it because it takes a lot of work."

WPP folded Neo, then known as [email protected], into Mindshare's wider performance group in 2017.

Campaign UK

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