Publicis Media's Zenith rebrands, adds consulting to its capabilities

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The media agency repositioned its services to focus on "ROI+" and the "full customer journey," said the CEO.

Consultancies have been buying up marketing shops to integrate services and essentially become more valuable and less fragmented in the eyes of clients. And advertising agencies have responded in kind by adding their own consulting services in order to stay competitive. Last November, Publicis combined SapientNitro, with its consultancy capabilities, and media agency Razorfish, and R/GA and 360i’s consulting practices have been evolving over the years.

Publicis Media’s Zenith today became the latest advertising agency to announce it is adding consultancy capabilities as part of a rebranding and repositioning. The agency, whose clients include global brands such as JPMorgan Chase, Verizon Wireless and Toyota, has revamped its strategy, capabilities, logo and website, highlighting consultancy and a focus on the full consumer journey.

"The reality is, our business requires more. It’s the most complicated time in the history of our industry," said Sean Reardon, who has been Zenith’s U.S. CEO for the past 14 months. "We are adding a third dimension to what we do. Agencies that rest will rest in peace, and we always want to be moving forward."

Zenith, known as Zenith Optimedia until Publicis Media consolidated its agencies in March 2016, began the rebranding process in November, working with Zenith representatives from around the globe as consultancy partners. The brief was to build a brand upon 15 years as the "ROI agency," ensure that ROI remains relevant and powerful and that the positioning could work locally, regionally and globally, for the next 15 years.

The agency landed on "ROI+," an approach that aims to solve business challenges through a consultative approach. Now, along with offering value optimization, communications planning, content creation and data analytics, Zenith wants to be "an agency of trusted advisors," using advanced communication models, data and automation, such as machine learning, to help clients.

The agency aims to support clients from acquisition to retention, and place equal weight on both ends of the customer journey, said Reardon. "Historically, the majority of ad dollars are very acquisition or new customer focus," he said. "Looking at the full consumer journey and recognizing where personalized communication can come into play at a scalable level can maximize a client’s business."

For that reason, ROI+ will focus on brand growth, not efficiency, said Reardon. "The idea is to guide under the growth mindset—not the rate improvement mindset, not the savings mindset—the growth mindset," he said. "We will really immerse ourselves in the media industry and look at it through the lens of client business, versus taking client business and looking at it through the lens of the media industry."

With that, Reardon said the agency has adopted a new mantra: "We blend data, technology and brilliant specialists to scout out new opportunities, solve complex challenges and grow client business."

The new visual identify was designed to match Zenith’s new strategy. The agency admits that its old visual identity appeared fragmented, and its old verbal identify could have been described as humble and understated. The new logo and website work to keep the message consistent, understandable and confident, said Reardon. Data will also be easier to access online in a new interactive section at www.zenithmedia.com called "Global Intelligence."

The retired blue Zenith logo that resembled a Frisbee has been updated into a three-dimensional pyramid, what the agency calls the "peak." It represents data, technology and skill coming together, said Reardon. The new logo can wrap around images, including the work of a client. There are also two different versions of the logo—one with the name of the agency and one where the "peak" stands alone.

"The new logo adds dimension which is symbolic of our ability in adding dimension to our arsenal," said Reardon. "The multidimensional nature of it can allow it to move in design-rich environments like mobile and create the illusion of depth and dimension in two-dimensional platforms."

The new colorful visual identify can be seen across the agency’s 278 offices worldwide as well as merchandise and business cards for its 5,000 employees.