UM repositions as “creative connections agency” and shifts to performance-based model

By AdNews | 18 February 2015
Mat Baxter and Sophie Price

IPG Mediabrands agency UM has overhauled its company positioning, shifting away from its 'Big Boutique' message and calling itself a "creative connections agency" reflecting the broader shift the entire industry is making towards owned media. Starcom Mediavest this week also predicted that owned media would grow 3.5 times faster than paid channels.

As part of the overhaul, it is also changing the remuneration model it operates with clients away from commission for service model and transitioning to either a retainer or performance-based model.

CEO Mat Baxter confirmed the move to AdNews today, and said the new structure should be rolled out through its entire client base by mid-year.

He said the agency had been transitioning gradually with the creative connections concept coming into play in December. It was announced formally this morning at UM's annual  media upfronts.

The shift is in response to changes in the market  affecting all media and creative agencies, such as paid media is in decline while owned and earned media are on the ascent, and clients taking channels in-house.

UM's move follows in the footsteps of GroupM agency Mindshare which repositioned around paid, owned, earned media back in 2013, and spoke about it at length at the AdNews Media Sales Summit 2014. ZenithOptimedia's global push towards thinking owned first. At the AANA Reset conference in October, Belinda Rowe urged agencies to think "owned first" and not default to TV. 

PR agency Edelman is also staking a claim on the creative connections space and taking on media and creative agencies beyond its traditional PR remit.

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