Comment

One name will positively reflect network cohesionWhat’s the betting that by this time next year Cordiant Communications Group’s global design interests all answer to the name Fitch?

Despite Ted Leonardt’s insistence that networks are about cohesion, not conformity, the temptation to unite a disparate bunch of consultancies under one instantly recognisable brand is too great to ignore – something global branding giants Enterprise IG, FutureBrand and Interbrand have already wrestled.

Having one name makes life clearer to new clients – and easier to operate as a network. Any concerns about change from existing clients of constituent consultancies such as Bamber Forsyth in London and US-based Primo Angeli were presumably addressed months ago when that group was acquired, thus losing its independent status.

Managed properly, it can also help to promote common values among staff and create the feeling of being part of a global family – however contrived a concept that might be. Enterprise IG pushed a complete name-change through with great speed and great success, while Interbrand’s reluctance to relinquish the Newell and Sorrell name until recently arguably backfired, dividing staff loyalties in the UK.

CCG has the advantage over most global players in that in Fitch is has an obvious choice of name. It has a long-standing reputation as a global great, harking back to the old days in the 1980s when Rodney Fitch ruled the roost, even before it acquired US product design group Richardson Smith and the pressures of stock market flotation almost brought its untimely demise.

The old guard among you will remember that for a while it traded as Fitch RichardsonSmith, then Fitch RS, before returning to plain old Fitch. The logic of this last move fits in with the recollection of one design stalwart who, in the early 1990s, went to the US to promote Terence Conran’s business, only to be met with blank stares from Mid Western retail clients, who held Fitch in high esteem, but claimed to know nothing of Conran.

Of course, there are exceptions. Lambie-Nairn, for example, remains a standalone brand within WPP Group, rather than becoming part of the Enterprise IG network – as its former stablemate Tutssels has done as Tutssels Enterpise IG – on the strength of Martin Lambie-Nairn’s prominence in the highly specialist field of screen branding.

But why otherwise be coy about banding together with others to give an integrated global service if this is what you signed up for. Consultancy principals have already pledged their faith in the network by doing the deal – and forfeited their right to a separate identity.

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