Kate Robertson explains the rationale for the name change and what she hopes it will achieve.
- Why did you decide to change the name?
We know that the need for ourselves and our clients to be transparent, authentic and fast in every single aspect of marketing communications is business-critical - the name change simplifies our own communications, and Havas is a great name.
Clients increasingly want agency partners who understand both brand and digital, who can work seamlessly across media and creative and who do the hard work of integration for them rather than leaving it to be the clients' problem. The move to rebrand reflects our desire to reinforce the structural advantage and superior integration of Havas compared with the other big communication groups.
We have worked hard across the 13 Havas Worldwide companies in the UK to embed and build digital disciplines from within and to that extent have the most digitally integrated businesses. We're focusing on collaboration - by integrating creative, media and digital, we can offer our clients a combination of creative excellence, scale, agility and innovation.
- Why have you chosen the parent company name?
The choice to replace Euro RSCG with the parent company brand will automatically increase visibility and reinforce the Havas brand. Havas' model is integrated and agile and the structure is simple.
The name change marks an evolution in the entire strategy for Havas, which is now clearer and more differentiated. David Jones, the global chief executive, is keen for the existing "legacy" business to succeed but to also develop and drive new types of business and new business models - and these are KPIs for the whole top management worldwide. In addition to that, the agencies are continuing to build internal capacity for digital.
- What was wrong with the Euro RSCG branding?
There have been ongoing issues with the Euro RSCG London name since its inception - from the merging of Eurocom and RSCG. It never really evolved as a brand in the true sense of the word and it has poor awareness in comparison to Havas.
In 2004, a decision was taken that all the companies within the group had to bear the name Euro RSCG. Interestingly, in the case of Maitland and Conran, the very obvious strength of those names as brands left them untouched.
Over the past six years, the group has done a lot of "shape-shifting": some units have been merged where their disciplines aligned - eg. in 2007, Conran and CGI were merged; in 2010, Riley and Skybridge united under the name Euro RSCG People, Euro RSCG Biss Lancaster became part of Euro RSCG (the integrated ad agency) and KLP moved across to the Arnold network; and in 2011, Euro RSCG 4D and Euro RSCG Discovery were subsumed into EHS.
This constant evolution led to weak recognition in many cases and a verbal mess. This also led to a perceived lack of unity in the UK group - even when Campaign named Euro RSCG Agency Network of the Year, the name awareness of the network was low.
- Why are you doing it now?
Jones took over in March 2011. As the Havas chief executive, both Euro RSCG Worldwide and Havas Media came fully into his control: the names didn't have to be as they were and, all over the world, many of the chief executives, and certainly all the regional heads, were very keen to have the strength of the Havas brand brought to bear.
Businesses across our agencies have been performing very well and have great momentum, and this change will further accelerate their growth under a strong unified parent brand.
- What will the 'new' Havas comprise?
The group will now consist of two main brands: Havas Media, which includes all global media agencies, and Havas Creative, which includes the Havas Worldwide network and the Arnold Worldwide micro-network and all other communications agencies.
As of today, all Euro RSCG agencies are renamed Havas Worldwide (including the Euro RSCG, Euro RSCG Life, Euro RSCG 4D and Euro RSCG WW PR brands).
The rebranding also includes the creation of Havas Digital Group, a new umbrella brand that will operate across both media and creative. Havas Digital Group will purely be a brand name as opposed to a new network or new operational division and reflects Havas' continued commitment to its digital at the core model. The Havas Media brand remains unchanged and will reveal a new visual identity at the beginning of 2013.
- What do you hope to achieve?
Greater alignment, greater efficiency, a simplified structure for our clients, greater integration and a far higher level of brand visibility for Havas as one of the world's leading marketing services groups.
- What else does the name change involve?
The rebrand will not create any changes in leadership but six chief executives across the Havas Worldwide UK Group will form the new board of Havas Worldwide UK.
Kate Robertson is the UK group chairman of Havas Worldwide London.