WPP's Grey launches consultancy arm
- WPP-owned Grey Group is launching Grey Consulting, a new global enterprise practice, the company announced in a news release.
- Leo Rayman, who has been CEO of Grey London since 2016, has been named CEO of Grey Consulting. A search for a new CEO of Grey London is underway.
- Grey Consulting will focus on three areas: business and brand design, innovation and digital transformation. The new group will draw on Grey's existing resources, including technology teams and creative experts.
Agencies' business struggles, including growing competition from global management consultancies like Accenture and Deloitte, show no signs of cooling, and there's been a ramp up among the major holding groups in forging into consulting services to combat these threats. News of Grey Consulting's rollout comes in the same week Omnicom announced a majority stake in Credera, a provider of management and technology consulting services. Kantar, which, like Grey, is owned by WPP, also introduced a dedicated consulting arm at the beginning of the year.
Whether grown internally or through acquisitions, consulting offerings from old guard agencies come as a recognition of how marketing is becoming more data- and technology-driven, and the challenges in combining technology with creativity. Brand clients have often grown frustrated with traditional ad agencies' lack of agility in responding to these needs. Eighty-four percent of surveyed multinational brands think agencies struggle with marketing technology, according to a recent report by The World Federation of Advertisers and The Observatory International, which has led a high number of marketers to put their accounts into review.
Grey's expansion into consulting comes as parent company WPP faces some considerable business struggles. Founder and longtime CEO Martin Sorrell stepped down in April, and has since launched a shell company called S4 Capital. S4 Capital already ran up against WPP when both vied to acquire the digital creative agency Media Monks earlier this summer, with the former winning out. Given stagnant growth elsewhere and WPP's sheer size, there's also speculation that the ad holding giant could be broken up. It was reported earlier this year that Kantar could be spun off for $4.8 billion.