WPP's data and investment division Kantar yesterday unveiled Kantar Consulting, a sales and marketing consultancy designed to help brands meet the demands of modern marketing and ensure future growth, according to news made available to Marketing Dive.
Kantar Consulting merges four specialized Kantar shops — Kantar Added Value, Kantar Futures, Kantar Vermeer and Kantar Retail — and rolls out with over 1,000 thought leaders, analysts, software developers and consultants. Clients include Unilever, Pepsi, Tata, Bayer, Amazon and Walmart and regional brands such as JBS, Pladis, Alibaba and RBS.
The group looks to distinguish itself not only by helping brands formulate strategies, but also by helping them execute against those strategies and implement them holistically into organizations. Phil Smiley, CEO of Kantar Consulting, said in a statement that the goal with this approach is to sustain growth long-term.
Kantar's new, streamlined consultancy arrives at a time when more marketers are demanding that their marketing services providers get simpler in their structures. Many legacy brands in categories like CPG and retail might be pushing for this consolidation as they tighten budgetary belts due to stiff competition from e-commerce disruptors and shifting consumer attitudes toward their businesses — challenges Kantar Consulting aims to meet with its focus on data and expertise drawn from across Kantar Value, Kantar Futures, Kantar Vermeer and Kantar Retail.
"Brands are questioning the value of 'brand.' Even things like purpose-driven [marketing] — they know it's important, but does it drive revenue or other business results?" Beth Ann Kaminkow, the North American head of Kantar Consulting, told Marketing Dive.
The marketers that can't peg down where their work tangibly benefits their business could find themselves in a precarious position this year. Forrester Research recently forecasted that more CMOs will be replaced by chief growth officers in the boardroom in 2018, and Kaminkow echoed those findings. Kantar Consulting could help marketers overcome modern digital challenges by breaking down silos between sales channels and brand marketing talent in companies, according to Kaminkow.
Kantar bringing four of its pillar brands together under one consultancy also reflects the larger role consultancies are playing in the industry as marketing success is defined more frequently by hard numbers and data. Companies like Accenture and Deloitte have been snapping up more big-name brand clients in recent years, and though some analysts agree that their immediate threat to traditional agencies is overstated, Kantar Consulting could signal the start of a broader trend from the major holding groups as they try to spotlight their consulting services.
"We are creating Kantar Consulting to fulfill our ambition of bringing a deeper, more rounded consulting offer to our clients," Eric Salama, CEO of Kantar, said in the release. "Alone and in combination with other capabilities, Kantar Consulting will be a core part of Kantar and WPP's success in the future."