Like his WPP Group boss Sir Martin Sorrell, Enterprise IG head Dave Allen thinks big. Last year he spoke of building a £300m global brand experience business with Brian Shepherd, formerly head of Caribiner Worldwide’s International Communications Group, alongside the main identity offer. Now the elements are in place to allow him to pursue this and other dreams (see “DW200102020001”).
The reshuffle of WPP design interests under The Brand Union umbrella gives Allen a powerful new job and an even greater remit for expansion. He’s been active in doing deals and setting up offices, most recently in The Netherlands with the acquisition of Visser Bay Anders Toscani, in Denmark with a Copenhagen office and shortly in Japan. His sights are set on other Asian countries, including Thailand.
But there’s more to it than that. By bringing brand specialist Tutssels into the fold, Enterprise IG has acquired considerable expertise with consumer brands to complement its corporate portfolio. This will enable it to compete more effectively in this sector against the likes of global rivals Interbrand and FutureBrand, as well as giving Glenn Tutssel and his team a fantastic opportunity to service big international brands through Enterprise IG offices without over-extending themselves.
By setting up Enterprise XP under Shepherd’s direction, Enterprise IG has not just added events to its repertoire. It has built in a capability to hang on to clients long after an identity programme is completed and to get even deeper under their skin. Shepherd sees great opportunities to help clients address internal communications and nurture their staff, while Enterprise IG’s focus has traditionally been on the outward-facing aspects.
But there is more. Tutssels Enterprise IG has found an executive creative director of international standing to complement the skills of its own executive creative director Jon Turner. While WPP is striving to build a reputation for creativity through acquisitions such as The Partners, its identity arm is quietly following suit.
However, Shepherd is promising a different way of working. While Enterprise IG has grown through acquisition or by opening offices – methods close to Allen’s heart – he is keen to “partner” niche businesses and others that might not wish to be part of a formal network. His main concern is to get world-class talent involved.
Allen maintains that Enterprise IG is creating a new model, not just for its own business, but for the future of design. If the ambitions behind the current moves are realised – and there is every reason to believe that they will be – he could have a point.