It’s been nine months since WPP announced more consolidation inside GroupM, with its largest and perhaps best-known agency, MediaCom, merging with the digital performance marketing agency Essence. Today, that merger is finally complete, and EssenceMediacom is in business.
The agency’s U.S. CEO, Jill Kelly, has coined Jan. 31 the agency’s Founder’s Day, she told Adweek. Employees will celebrate its formal launch annually “in perpetuity,” she added. It’s one way Kelly is solidifying a distinct culture at EssenceMediacom, despite an oversaturated media agency ecosystem.
But there is a ways to go. Formalizing the agency’s brand is a mammoth task. This most recent WPP agency consolidation makes EssenceMediacom GroupM’s largest agency, with about 10,000 employees spanning 120 offices worldwide.
The agency’s client roster reflects its size and includes Adidas, Airbnb, Bayer, Dell, EY, Google, Mars, NBCUniversal, Procter & Gamble, Signet, Target, The Coca-Cola Company and Uber. And, the agency managed to retain the PlayStation account, which went into review last year after GroupM announced the merger.
This merger and others, like 2017’s MEC and Maxus union that created Wavemaker, are WPP’s effort to simplify a complex subsidiary ecosystem that confused clients. Consolidation also made practical sense for Essence and MediaCom, since the two were already working together to service the Google, Mars and NBCUniversal accounts at the time GroupM announced the merger.
“The fusion of Essence’s measurement and data-driven DNA with MediaCom’s scale and strategic expertise creates something truly unique in the marketplace,” Christian Juhl, global CEO of GroupM, said in a statement.
More integrated solutions
This combination prevents clients from having to choose between GroupM sister agencies, according to Kelly. “Clients are seeking more integrated solutions. It’s really as simple as that,” she said. Kelly, who comes to the U.S. CEO role from the CMO position at GroupM, is focusing on integration as she develops the new agency’s brand. She classifies MediaCom and Essence as having each been pioneers in their areas of expertise—linear television buying and digital media. The concept of being pioneering, or entrepreneurial, will be part of the agency’s brand.
But numerous logistical changes must be made as the large organization comes together. Just this weekend, it migrated its web domain to one referencing the combined name. Now, it’s revamping its organizational chart to ensure consistency across titles and career progression plans.
“An ideal state is that any employee on any given day will know exactly what discipline they are aligned with, they’ll know exactly what client they’re aligned with, they’ll know who they report to, and they’ll know what they’re accountable for doing,” said Kelly.