Mindshare Expands Communications Practice, Adds BP, CVS As Clients

Antony-YoungMindshare is reorganizing and rapidly expanding its communications planning practice (CPP) as more clients sign on for the service. The agency’s goal is to get a majority of clients to use the capability within the next couple of years.

The CPP service is designed to help clients optimize the allocation of their marketing dollars across all communications channels including traditional and digital media, PR, customer relationship management, event marketing, branded content and more recently, mobile and social media.
 
But until recently, only a handful of Mindshare’s larger clients fully availed themselves of the unit, including Unilever, Kimberly-Clark and American Express. Those three clients essentially baked the service into their strategic planning processes.
 
But in 2012, the number of clients using the service has tripled, said Tim Elton, head of the agency’s CPP offering in North America. New CPP clients this year include oil company BP, drug store chain CVS, auto brands Jaguar and Land Rover and cruise line company Royal Caribbean.
 
“Our view is that communications planning always gets a client to a better place,” particularly in the era of paid, owned and earned media, Elton said. “Now we have a central resource group,” that will aggressively reach out to clients to pitch the benefits of the practice.

“We’re not asking” clients to do it, he said. “We’re saying they really need to start” in order to best allocate marketing resources among the myriad and growing number of consumer touchpoints. “It should become the norm.”
 
Previous agency efforts in the space were almost solely devoted to those few clients that actually embedded the capability into the frameworks of their planning processes, Elton said.
 
The North American CPP team that Elton oversees now totals nearly two dozen, including directors of the practice that have been added this year to the shop's New York, Chicago and Los Angeles offices.
 
Mindshare describes its particular flavor of CPP as “integrated commercial planning,” which is designed to position the service as one that will help drive business results for clients, said Antony Young, Mindshare’s North American CEO.
 
“It’s a big shift,” said Young. Not only is the agency adding a lot of manpower to the practice -- seven new specialists this year alone -- but also a lot more analytics to prove its worth. “Clients are looking for a lot more accountability and they like the tieback to business analytics,” he said.

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