MullenLowe Profero shifts towards CX and appoints new MD

Rosie Baker
By Rosie Baker | 16 November 2016
Richard Szalay, Chris Henderson, Ashadi Hopper and Rebecca Ringrose

MullenLowe Profero is shifting its business towards customer experience and has promoted Chris Henderson to managing director to replace Dave Bentley who is stepping down from the role.

Bentley, who has led the agency for eight years, is understood to be spending time with his young family before taking on another venture. Henderson was formerly client services director at the agency.

The former digital agency is evolving its offering to deliver more in the customer experience (CX), UX and consultancy space. Henderson tells AdNews the shift is a recognition that the role of digital agencies has forever changed as it's no longer a specialism.

"Historically we've been known as a boutique digital communications agency, and we still retain those roots but the opportunity is more in CX, UX, digital design, digital transformational and consultancy,” he says.

"Ten years ago [digital agencies] were invincible because no one could do what we did. But now everyone else had caught up and that eroded our competitive advantage to some extent. This is how we've evolved.”

He describes the agency as “a bunch of problem solvers” developing products and services that help clients achieve both rational and emotional connections with consumers.

"What technology is doing is commoditising marketing ... It's hard to gain competitive advantage with pure branding ... Creating an emotional connection across every touch point is the definition of customer experience strategy," he adds.

Henderson believes the shift isn't a million miles from the work it is already doing for clients in designing customer experience and retail engagement platforms, so the agency has "rungs in the board" in this space.

The agency, which is around 44 people strong, has doubled in size over the past two years and is moving into bigger offices in 2017. It is currently recruiting a group account director to replace Henderson's former role and lead client service.

CX brings the conversation beyond marketing to the CIO and CTO and combines technology, data and creativity, and Profero isn't the first agency to see the opportunity and shift towards customer experience and go beyond a traditional marketing entry point.

This time last year AdNews introduced the 'Customer Experience Agency if the Year' category in recognition that it is a growing space. Lavender repositioned itself as a CX agency and appointed Lachlan James to lead the push, M&C Saatchi launched Lida its CX agency in 2014 and Mercer Bell, which was this year acquired by Saatchi and Saatchi, has ramped up its message. 

The AdNews Agency of the Year Awards are open now, To enter the Customer Experience Agency of the Year category, as well as the rest Click here. The entry process has been simplified with an online hub this year to make it easier and less time consuming. We've also added four new categories which reflect the evolution of the industry.

Production Agency of the Year, Brand of the Year, the People and Culture Award and the In House/Bespoke Agency of the Year Award. For more information check out the awards page.

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