Another marker has been set down for the rapid changing capabilities in agencyland with a former tier-one management consultant installed as the Australian CEO of WPP’s newly merged Wunderman-Bienalto.
Hurol Inan, the founder of local technology, analytics and digital experience design outfit, Bienalto, which Wunderman acquired three years ago, has taken over as the new boss. His charter is to reinvent the company from a digital, relationship and direct marketing agency to a broader remit covering digital transformation and customer experience design for corporates.
Before starting Bienalto, Ina spent most of his career with Accenture along with a three-year stint at Deloitte.
Inan’s plans for Wunderman-Bienalto is part of an industry-wide drive by agencies and tech and consulting firms to cut themselves into the action beyond advertising and communications to become broader business partners using technology to improve customer experience and interaction with a company across any of its channels and customer touch points.
Bienalto has been working with the likes of Suncorp, CUB and Woolworth’s Liquor Group, namely Dan Murphy’s, on their digital business strategies and technology platforms.
“The agency business used to be just based on brand campaigns and communications but now through digital there are so many possibilities for what you need to do,” Inan told AdNews.
“Solving marketing problems is significantly different today. There are multiple communities and connections. You have data, technology and you have design in there. When I say design, I mean interactions with consumers. Then there are more traditional things like brand and creative campaigns. All these need to work together to come up with solutions.”
Inan said the idea of a “one fits all” approach in communications was gone. He cited an insurance example where two customers buying car insurance might have the same need but the way they behave and the channels they use to interact and transact with a company are diverse.
Before any communications campaigns are developed, companies needed to ensure there is a seamless understanding about those customer journeys and how they can make it faster and easier for to interact through any touchpoint.
Some will want to transact online, some will want to ring a call centre and others will want both. The new requirement is for a company to know all that and allow customers to start off in a new channel where they left off on another. That, Inan said, was a technology, design and analytics challenge which needed to be addressed before any communications and creative was developed.
Inan said although his background was in consulting and technology, he did not see a wave of new executives from consulting flooding the agency world.
“Anyone from any of those disciplines should be able to run an agency,” he said. “I don’t think there is one dominant discipline anymore. Essentially it’s still relationship marketing and digital is the platform. We need to understand digital extremely well.”
He said his mandate for the first year was “growth”.
The newly merged group sees 50 people coming from Bienalto and about 20 people from Wunderman.
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