Longtime WPP executives Joanna Seddon and Nik Gharekhan, who helped found and lead several of the holding company's consulting practices—most recently leading brand consulting at Ogilvy—have branched out on their own.
The vets have launched a new brand consultancy, Presciant, with a focus on "branding in M&A, brand architecture, brand creation, brand valuation and budget setting and measurement." The two are based in New York, working remotely.
Seddon says that because the firm—which is comprised of a core team of seven people and a network of other consulting professionals who are tapped to help out on projects as needed—is not tied to a holding company, it carries less overhead and "no bureaucracy," so work gets done quicker and clients always have access to senior leaders.
"It's a perfect moment," Seddon says. "Brands have never been more important. We're focused on making your share price go up. It's about getting CEOs, CFOs, non-branded people to make the right brand decisions. Marketing has been dumbed down to commercials. We need to rescue it, elevate it and put marketing where it belongs, which is in the board room."
Gharekhan adds that, with the pandemic, "growth" is obviously at the top of the agenda for CEOs. "There's nobody better to influence customer demand than marketers," he says.
Seddon and Gharekhan are longtime partners and pioneers in the consulting space—having spent the past 10 and nine years, respectively, at Ogilvy leading that division. Seddon, who was the president of global brand consulting at Ogilvy, says she was eventually fired in September after an incident in which she criticized a junior employee over a typo in an internal meeting. Gharekhan says he quit soon after.
Ogilvy declined comment.
Before Ogilvy, Seddon and Gharekhan both founded Millward Brown and Kantar's strategy consulting unit. Seddon served as CEO of that unit from 2005 to 2010, after which she joined Ogilvy. Gharekhan was a founding partner and managing director of Millward Brown and WPP from 2004 to 2010. He joined Ogilvy as a senior consulting partner in 2011.
In 1997, Seddon also founded IPG's FutureBrand, which Gharekhan joined as an engagement director in 2002.