B to D Group
Report by Craig Branigan (below) Chairman and chief executive officer
2011 was a year of growth and achievement for the Branding to Design (B to D) Group. We delivered solid revenue growth and profit improvement with several of our companies achieving record revenues and operating profits for the year. We continued to strengthen our global performance across a number of practices and we improved our showing at the Cannes Festival in June.
Through the insights, creativity and dedication of our teams around the world, we initiated new client partnerships with many respected brands, including GlaxoSmithKline, Interstate Hotels & Resorts, JX Holdings, Saudi Telecom, Shanghai Media Group, Yell, South African Airways and Best Buy. We also continued to successfully build and expand our key client relationships, delivering innovative and effective solutions for our long-standing clients. As ever, these global key client relationships continue to form the bedrock of our businesses.
Once again, our companies won several high-profile awards in 2011 and these are detailed in their respective reports. All of our companies continue to innovate, adapt and change in order to remain creative leaders of the industry.
The B to D Group garnered a number of other highlights for the year. Lambie-Nairn and The Brand Union sponsored the inaugural Cannes Also event at the Cannes Festival, showcasing the photographic talent within the global creative marketing industries. VBAT successfully launched the new corporate identity for PostNL and achieved a significant profit turnaround for the year. Addison continued to establish itself as an integrated corporate communications agency, with new strategic communications projects for BASF, BG and Zurich Financial Services. Mary Zalla was promoted to CEO of Landor, leading the agency in the implementation of its new vision and company purpose. FITCH and The Partners continued to expand their global reach, with FITCH opening an office in Delhi and The Partners opening its third international hub in Singapore. PeclersParis made good headway in growing its consulting business and achieved record-level trend book sales. At the end of the year our group launched The Mix, a website developed to facilitate greater collaboration between the B to D Group companies and our sister group, Kantar.
As a group, we continue to establish our sustainability marketing services and we work to make sustainability central to our marketing approach. Notably, The Partners created a desktop app for Deloitte, named PlanetSaver, that encourages Deloitte staff to put their computer screens into sleep mode whilst idle. After one full year of deployment in 2011, PlanetSaver had 31,000 active users worldwide and had saved 64 MWh of power. According to Deloitte’s own data, that is the equivalent of powering one small office for 16 years, brewing 1.8 million cups of coffee, or powering all of Greater London for 21 minutes.
Looking ahead, the early signs for 2012 are favorable. We are aligning ourselves with those clients, capabilities and geographies that provide the greatest potential for growth, and we anticipate another positive year in 2012.
Please see below for an overview of Addison, The Brand Union, FITCH, Lambie-Nairn, Landor Associates (which is also a Y&R Group company), The Partners, PeclersParis and VBAT.
Addison achieved another growth year in 2011. It was also one of significant development, reflecting the rapidly-changing environment within corporate communications. Major trends included the evolving societal expectations on companies, the continuing rise of regulation and the accelerated use of technology – providing Addison with clear opportunities for growth, based on its distinctive consultancy offer within the market.
Led by CEO Tom Robinson, Addison continues to expand its areas of practice, including research, digital communications, sustainability, thought-leadership communications, internal communications, as well as social media and engagement. Client relationships continue to grow across its core European markets, most notably with BASF, Zurich Financial Services and Heineken.
After a challenging first quarter in 2011, momentum grew, culminating in a very strong second half performance. This positive outcome came from three main sources: growth with our key client partners; the development of our consumer branding practice; and further expansion of the network, opening offices in Qatar and Thailand, and adding a Cape Town operation and an affiliation in Korea.
FITCH continued to grow in 2011, with a high double-digit revenue increase in North America and the Asia Pacific region. The agency welcomed many new clients including Best Buy, Staples and Nickelodeon in the US, Etihad Towers and Wafra Real Estate in the Middle East, Molton Brown and Ann Summers in the UK, and Nestlé and Pepsico in India. FITCH opened a Delhi office and garnered best-in-class design wins from Chain Store Age, the VM&RD Retail Awards and the Asia Retail Congress.
Lambie-Nairn achieved a record year in 2011 in terms of both revenue and profit growth. Led by CEO Christian Schroeder, the agency experienced significant double-digit business growth. On the heels of its first full year of trading in its three Latin American offices (Colombia, Mexico, and Argentina), the agency is now looking to open an office in Brazil in 2012.
Lambie-Nairn continued to successfully grow its business in Spain and Germany and was named global branding agency for Telefónica, O2 and Movistar. It also added a number of significant new clients to its roster, including GlaxoSmithKline, Panasonic, Telecom New Zealand, Saudi Telecom and Qatar National Hotels. Lambie-Nairn won several design effectiveness and creative awards, continuing to build its reputation as a leading screen- and digital-based global branding agency.
For Landor Associates, 2011 was a year of renewed energy. The company refocused on top-line growth and new business, introduced an exciting new vision, added energetic new leaders, increased its corporate responsibility initiatives and launched a new approach to awards.
The Partners delivered a strong performance, achieving significant growth in both London and New York. Under the leadership of CEO Jim Prior, the agency expanded its global footprint, putting a stake in the ground in Singapore.
Continuing to bolster its reputation as one of the most creatively-recognized agencies in the world, The Partners won a Gold Lion at Cannes for the third year – no other agency has won Gold more than once in the four years design has been a category. The Partners also won a Bronze Lion at Cannes, and was named Design Agency of the Year at Marketing Week’s Blades Awards and was commended runner-up in Marketing magazine’s Branding Agency of the Year.
The Partners continued to develop its thought-leadership position throughout 2011, with articles published in The Guardian, Management Today and other influential titles. With the current leadership in New York (Steven Gilliatt, managing director) and new leadership in the London office (Matt Woods, managing director) and Singapore office (Anant Deboor, managing director), The Partners have positioned the organization for another year of growth and success in 2012.
Under the leadership of CEO Eric Duchamp, styling and trend forecasting agency PeclersParis continues to be a partner for some of the leading brands in the world, providing consulting services and trend publications for the textile, fashion, cosmetics, home decoration, consumer goods and retailing industries across its main geographies of Europe, China and the US. 2011 was a year of revenue growth for the agency, based on the strength of its restaged trend books and the addition of a number of new clients including Shiseido, Elle Licensing and Wonderbra.
PeclersParis has unique creative transformation capabilities, creating value for its clients by strategically translating future innovation opportunities into tangible style and design directions. At a moment when brands really want to reinforce their emotional link with consumers, the agency leverages its experience in the fashion world to help inspire this connection.
For Netherlands-based VBAT, 2011 was a very good year. Building upon the recovery which started in the second part of 2010, a strong performance was delivered. Both revenue and margin showed significant growth.
This growth was fuelled by a number of successful new business gains: of particular note were the corporate identity program for PostNL and the store concept for Makro Cash & Carry (Metro Group). Long-term relationships with key clients such as Heineken Group, Campina and Intergamma continued to develop and provide a strong foundation for growth.
VBAT’s presence on the international stage continued with the development of successful launches for Goldberg (Nigeria), Amstel Premium Pilsner (Russia and Greece) and work for Sol beer (global).
Led by chairman/CEO Eugene Bay, VBAT has a positive outlook on the coming year and is determined to build on its momentum.