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Joining forces - the power of putting heads together

Jon Artolozaga

Director General Intelligence







Collaboration between the companies that support a brand can deliver clear value to a business; in fact, by focusing different areas of expertise on a common objective, it’s possible to create an environment in which 1 + 1 does not make 2, but 3.


This truth applies in many sectors, but has special potency in a business as complex as marketing, which includes interconnected but very different areas of expertise, including research, brand strategy, creativity, and media planning and buying. These all generate points of contact with the consumer, and should present a single, consistent vision of the brand. In this era of integrated marketing, it makes sense to manage all these activities in an integrated and collaborative way between companies. WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell calls this kind of collaboration “horizontality”.

Putting horizontality into practice requires overcoming internal challenges for the benefit of the client brand. It starts with developing a better understanding within one company of the services offered by others that can support the client. It also involves shaking off the habit of considering other suppliers as competitors rather than collaborators. Team spirit does not just happen; it has to be nurtured. As synergies develop, the power of working together becomes clear, and becomes self-perpetuating. What starts as collaboration can even lead to the launch of jointly developed tools and products.


In Spain, we are linking the people and capabilities within different WPP companies to bring about results for brands that follow that magic mathematical formula: 1+1 = 3.


Examples include work done for Danone by MediaCom, Kantar Worldpanel and Kantar Media. This partnership has made it possible to understand the impact of the media spending on the business, and to recommend the appropriate levels of investment to maximize returns. At the same time, by targeting communications at known buyers in the category, using the Targeting Consumer Ratings system, we have been able to identify new sources of growth for Danone brands, and focus campaigns on these areas.


For the bank BBVA, Kantar Millward Brown and Mindshare jointly worked alongside BBVA as it carried out its digital transformation, crystallized in the campaign “The revolution of small things”. As a result of this campaign, BBVA has managed to increase its brand value, is perceived as more relevant and stands out in a highly competitive market.


When one of the Henkel brands needed to increase its penetration and capture competitors’ customers, we needed a more effective approach to media planning. MEC and Kantar Worldpanel formed an alliance that allowed us to plan and buy television air time in a way that targeted those who consumed more. Buyer-based planning improved all sales metrics, achieving a one-point increase in penetration and a 7 percent increase in spend per buyer.


Pernod Ricard also improved market share in 2016, using the Live Panel study, done by Kantar TNS, for MediaCom and other GroupM companies. This allows us to identify the most relevant touchpoints for different audiences and then direct communications to them using programmatic advertising. Xaxis technology then allowed us to target look-alikes using known consumer profiles; market share for Pernod Ricard brands is already rising.


And for Turespaña, which wanted to promote Spain as a tourist destination that offers much more than sun and beaches, MEC worked with Kantar Millward Brown to measure current levels of knowledge about Spain in different countries. This understanding guided the development of campaign messages that could alter consumer perceptions.


The resulting campaign was tracked across Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Latin America and Asia Pacific. Brand metrics increased 100 percent more than other similar Millward Brown Benchmark campaigns. The results of the campaign were: 75 million tourists to Spain in 2016 (a record number) with an 8.4 percent increase in expenditure per visitor (also a record). In total, 1.8 million visitors were influenced by the campaign.


These examples demonstrate how "horizontality" is not just a concept; a good idea. Today it is a reality that helps to grow brands and businesses.