Interpublic Group rebrands CMG division as IPG DXTRA

The 28-agency, 7,000-person offering will operate as a global collective under the leadership of CEO Andy Polansky, supported by a core centralized team.

Marketing services holding company IPG has overhauled its Constituency Management Group operating unit and relaunched it as IPG DXTRA.

Based around the five core brands of Weber Shandwick, Golin, Octagon, Jack Morton and FutureBrand, the agencies span activities including PR, experiential, sports and entertainment, branding, healthcare, digital experience, social content and influencer marketing.

“Clients are looking for a more integrated approach and holistic solutions,” said IPG DXTRA CEO Andy Polansky. “

Sub-brands include Powell Tate, Prime, Revive Health, United Minds, Cappuccino, KRC Research, Flipside, That Lot and Resolute under the Weber umbrella and The Brooklyn Brothers, DeVries Global and Virgo Health under Golin. Other PR firms include Current Global and Rogers & Cowan PMK.

The other constituent agencies are Advantage, healthcare firm dna Communications, Frukt, Futures Sport & Entertainment, Genuine, Hugo & Cat, ITB, Milkmoney and Uxus. Around 30% of the division's revenues are healthcare-related.

“The alignment [with the five master brands] won’t change but there’s more opportunity to draw on this expertise wherever they sit in the ecosystem,” said Polansky.

The “D” in the new branding references diversity and difference, which is aimed at driving “xtra” solutions. DXTRA is also the Latin word for adroit and skillful. IPG underlines the connection with the holding company.

The intention is to pivot from the legacy CMG brand, which wasn’t understood externally or internally, to something more compelling that speaks to the landscape of the unit’s constituent agency brands.

IPG DXTRA is designed to transition from an internal, back office structure to something external, client-facing and move beyond pure capabilities to encompass collaboration and address client briefs in an integrated fashion.

The informing idea is that “good things happen when people come together.” Diversity is at the core of the offer and perceived as essential, not a bolt-on or nice to have, and central to IPG DXTRA’s talent, mission, work and growth strategy.

Of IPG DXTRA’s top 25 clients, nine out of 10 are already shared across two or more agency brands, eight out of 10 across three or more.

Golin has long worked with McDonald’s but R&CPMK and Weber are now working with the burger chain on franchisee support, FutureBrand subsidiary Uxus is working in Europe on store design and Jack Morton is producing virtual and hybrid meetings.

Golin and Weber have been working with Novartis across different therapeutic areas around the world and Jack Morton works with the pharma company on events.

On Verizon, many IPG agencies are collaborating across IPG DXTRA and the group's Interactive Agency Networks division (IAN), which encompasses creative, media, technology, data and digital firms.

“We’ve been drawing upon these resources all through this year and have many situations where we’re working together on key clients and forging deeper relationships,” said Polansky.

But he emphasized that IPG DXTRA is designed to be an additive construct to provide integrated solutions, not to replace the constituent agency brands.

“The DXTRA team can help facilitate connections and be catalytic to make things happen, but the group brands will be on the front line partnering with colleagues at different agencies,” said Polansky. “Some clients are asking for broader integrated configured solutions on a macro level, but it’s all designed to be additive to what we’re already doing.”

In last week’s Q3 financial results, CMG reported a year-over-year organic revenue decline of 16.5% to $269.1 million. Polansky told PRWeek the PR firms were down mid-single digits in the quarter. From Q4, revenues will be reported under IPG DXTRA rather than CMG.

“Historically, a lot of the former CMG agencies were classified as below the line, but we’re increasingly first in line when you think about solutions in various areas, and this shift has been accelerated during the [COVID-19] pandemic,” said Polansky.

Polansky transitioned from CEO of Weber Shandwick to become chairman and CEO of CMG in July last year.

IPG DXTRA’s leadership team comprises chief growth officer Cathy Calhoun, chief inclusion and diversity officer Margenett Moore-Roberts, chief healthcare officer Laura Schoen, CFO Christopher Carroll, general counsel and SVP, business and legal affairs Josh Kauffman and SVP, brand integration and growth Will Nikosey.

DXTRA’s branding and identity were created by constituent agencies FutureBrand and Hugo & Cat.

This article first appeared on prweek.com.

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