The logic behind the realignment of Brann Worldwide, with headquarters in Wilton, Conn., and Boston-based Arnold Worldwide under Arnold Worldwide Partners is to give both agencies the tools they were missing to better compete for clients looking for integrated marketing and one-stop shopping.
Brann's CEO David Finkel described Brann as "an odd duck" because it was a large-scale direct shop without a general agency affiliation. "When clients become really big, often the general agency comes in and throws their weight around. For Brann to compete for big, multinational clients, we need a general agency to pitch with," Mr. Finkel said, adding that Arnold, previously with just a small, Boston-based direct unit, can also benefit from the partnership.
"We pitch integrated solutions to our clients," said Ed Eskandarian, chairman-CEO of Arnold Worldwide Partners, which includes Arnold, Brann, Magnet Communications and McKinney & Silver in the U.S., as well as agencies abroad. "We really needed a global direct-marketing capability if we were going to deliver on that promise of integrated communication."
Messrs. Eskandarian and Finkel as well as Euro RSCG Worldwide Chairman-CEO Bob Schmetterer and Havas Chairman-CEO Alain de Pouzilhac were involved in the decision to align Brann with Arnold instead of Euro RSCG, which already has a global marketing service network. "The big goal was to diversify the marketing services capabilities within Havas," Mr. Finkel said. "We felt this provided a balance."
Arnold, whose major clients include Volkswagen and the American Legacy Foundation, had worldwide revenue of $272 million in 2000, according to Advertising Age figures. Brann, with global revenue of $254.8 million last year, serves clients including Sears, Roebuck & Co., Peugeot and Tricon Global Restaurants' Pizza Hut. The two agencies do not currently share any clients.
Brann and Arnold will continue to operate separately with stand-alone clients, but will come together when it makes sense for existing clients or to pitch new business, which they did earlier this month for an undisclosed project. Brann could also partner with other agencies under the Arnold Worldwide Partners umbrella, said Andrea Franklin, Brann's exec VP-chief strategy officer.
Brann and Arnold have put together a new positioning equation which states that Arnold's "brand essence" philosophy-rooted in the rational and emotional aspects of branding-added to Brann's mission to create "relevant brand connection" with consumers, equals total "brand value." That value is achieved by what the two agencies call "across the line," multichannel, integrated communication efforts, said Ms. Franklin.
"The positioning is certainly sensible, but I don't think it's necessarily breaking a lot of new ground," said Michael Mesic, Brann's former marketing director, who is forming an independent marketing consulting firm. "Integration is a great goal for both companies and for people in the industry in general, but the fact is that advertising and direct marketing have different purposes and different means," Mr. Mesic said.
"I believe it's important for Brann to have a connection to an agency, or otherwise they would not be involved in the pitches they would like to be involved in," he added. "I have my doubts about whether it will work."
Arnold Worldwide Partners is encouraging employees to make it work by offering them financial incentives to share clients across agencies. Moreover, although the agencies will operate separately, they contribute to the same profit-and-loss statement, Mr. Eskandrian said. "All the business flows to the Arnold Worldwide Partners' bottom line, and that also is very key."