The world has a lot to offer agencies and ad firms with international ambitions in 2014. As digital and mobile marketing take off across the globe, American companies with successful histories at home are getting more open to the idea of going global.
In recent months, there has been a steady stream of marketing agencies, advertising firms, and ad platforms jumping across borders. Read on below to see why six such companies tapped into new marketing and what they did to expand.
Digital marketing and ad agency VML, based in Kansas City, Mo., recently expanded its international reach by purchasing the Chinese digital agency IM2.0. VML is certainly no stranger to international offices and boasts a total of 15 offices outside of the U.S. The purchase of IM2.0, with offices in Shanghai and Beijing, was the result of a three-year review of 10 different Chinese agencies by VML.
The agency already had an Asian presence with offices in Japan, Singapore, India, and Indonesia, but it took its time finding the right avenue to break into the lucrative Chinese market. John Cook, VML's global CEO and president, told AdAge that finding a native agency was crucial because of how “complex, or nearly impossible” it is for foreign agencies to navigate the China’s digital environment. The Chinese government has a ban on sites like Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook making digital marketing a challenge for foreign agencies that are used to working with those sites.
Mobile ad giant Opera Media Works expanded its reach into Latin America this month with its buy out of Hunt Mobile Ads. The team from Hunt Mobile Ads will be working to tap into the 600 million consumers in Latin America that are rapidly adopting mobile technologies.
The timing of Opera Media Works’ expansion is in preparation for some big events coming up in Latin America—especially in Brazil. The 2014 World Cup will be held in various cities across the country, and the 2016 Summer Olympics are coming to Rio de Janeiro. By expanding now, Opera Media Works is ensuring it has a solid presence in Latin America ahead of these huge events that offer mega mobile advertising opportunities. Latin America is one of the fastest growing mobile markets in the world and Opera Media Works hopes to make the most of it.
Omnicom-owned digital agency Critical Mass announced the opening of a Latin American headquarters in San Jose, Costa Rica, in the summer of last year. The headquarters is being developed to have a hub for regional projects for clients like HP.
Critical Mass chose Costa Rica as the location for its Latin American headquarters because of the low cost of operation. Dianne Wilkins, CEO of Critical Mass, told AdAge that clients were “putting significant cost pressure” on the agency and by moving operations to Costa Rica the agency is able to cut the bottom one-third of its costs on projects. The cost savings allows the agency to add strategy and client service capabilities.
Merkle, a customer relationship marketing agency based in Columbia, Md., has had a global presence for years including offices in the U.K. and China. The shop opened up its first Chinese shop in Shanghai in 2010 and expanded its presence with a second location in Nanjing in 2013.
The addition of the second Chinese location was a result of Merkle’s double-digit growth year after year. According to a press release from the agency, the city of Nanjing was chosen because of its “exceptional local talent.” The office will be initially staffed with 100 people and Merkle expects to double the number of employees by 2014. The agency’s success is a nod to how quickly the Chinese market is growing.
The Anomaly agency, headquartered in New York City, announced last year the expansion of their global operations with a new office in Shanghai, China. The office opened in July with a staff of 20 and is overseen by Eric Lee and Eric Chau, formerly of JWT Shanghai.
In a press release from Anomaly, the reason for launching the new office is because China is a “critical market.” The agency sees an opportunity to provide different and better marketing and creative services to brands in China. Brands looking to expand in China with Anomaly include Budweiser and Diageo.
Dentsu-owned digital agency 360i made its first international expansion at the beginning of 2013 with an office in London. The U.K. office is meant to serve as European headquarters for the agency. Enterprise Holdings, the owner of Enterprise Rent a Car, Alamo Rent a Car, and National Car Rental brands, was the reason for the move. The company wanted to expand into the European market and needed 360i to help.
Also this year, 360i expanded their global footprint even further with a new location in Toronto, Canada. In Toronto, 360i partners with Dentsu sister agency DentsuBos to provide services to clients like Toyota, Lexus, and Cannon. Like the U.K. office, 360i was motivated by client needs to expand to Canada where there is already a strong client demand.