WPP's Possible Media Touts Scale As Client Boon
Upon hearing the news that WPP Digital merged four disparate digital assets into one unit, the question on everyone's mind is how the restructuring will benefit clients -- if at all.
"Everyone will benefit," assures Trevor Kaufman, formerly CEO of Schematic and now head of the new unit, Possible Worldwide, which encompasses Bridge Worldwide, BLUE, Quasar and Schematic.
Insisting that both agencies and clients were pulling for the merger, Kaufman says the scale and global reach that it offers can't be underestimated.
What about clients' fear that their relationships will suffer under the new structure? "They still have exactly the same team that they had yesterday," Kaufman promises. "They shouldn't be worried about attention."
For Kaufman, the merger squares evenly with his bigger-is-better philosophy regarding digital agencies. "Digital agencies should be bigger than traditional agencies, because the number of skills required is greater," he says. "All the applications -- mobile -- all the conversational stuff ... and you have to have a general strategy ... and all the measurement and analytics."
Adds Kaufman: "The trick is to get bigger, but not doing it in a slipshod way."
To avoid the latter, Kaufman -- along with the other shop heads -- spent over a year conceptualizing their ambitions.
While the new agency's international reach offers a huge advantage -- half of its assets are presently in Asia -- agreeing on its home base was one sticking point, Kaufman admits. "We had four companies that really wanted to get together, but none of them happened to be in Western Europe."
The new firm counts 18 offices and approximately 1,000 staffers across the globe, with operations in the United States, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa.
Along with aligning dissimilar financial and technological systems, another issue was agreeing on the firm's name and graphical appearance. "Naming anything is difficult, and naming an agency is really difficult," Kaufman acknowledges.
In the end, the name came from Brand Union, a WPP consultancy, while the graphics were handled internally. "It was the most optimistic -- the boldest," Kaufman said regarding the name Possible Worldwide. "It's the way we look at the world, rather than [the way] we look at ourselves internally."
Officially global CEO of Possible Worldwide, Kaufman is joined by Jay Woffington as global president; Michael Graham as COO; Bob Gilbreath as chief strategy officer; Diane Holland as CFO; and Harish Bahl as chief production officer.
Nick Worth is serving as president, Americas, while Kenny Powar is serving as president, Asia Pacific and Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Clients include AT&T, Barclay's, BBC, Comcast, Dell, Dow Corning, General Mills, Luxottica, Mazda, Microsoft, Nokia, Orange, P&G, Samsung, SAP, Southern California Edison and Starwood.