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MDC adds Canadian agencies to new Doner network

Collaboration and speed-to-market will be cornerstones of a North American group that includes Veritas, Union, 6Degrees and KWT.

MDC Partners has created a new agency network that aims to facilitate more collaboration and greater speed to market amidst a handful of its creative-led brands.

Led by Detroit-based Doner, agencies operating within the new network include PR agency Veritas (along with recently launched influencer and content division Meat & Produce), integrated agency Union, shopper and experiential agency 6Degrees and strategic PR agency KWT Global. It will also include brand and advertising agency Yamamoto (based in Minneapolis and Chicago) and luxury-and lifestyle-focused PR agency HL Group (based in New York and Los Angeles).

Doner CEO David DeMuth will be chair of the network, with Krista Webster, CEO of Veritas and Meat & Produce, and Kathy McCuskey, CEO of Yamamoto, serving as vice-chairs. Each agency will continue to operate as its own seperate brand and leadership will remain in place, and help work towards “growing, aligning and modernizing” capabilities across the new network as they help facilitate new collaborations.

The move is the latest by MDC CEO Mark Penn to streamline the company’s operations, while also offering wider services to clients and promoting collaboration between agency brands to create new service offerings. In July, MDC expanded data, technology and CRM agency Gale into a new network that incorporated its capabilities with that of MDC Media Partners agencies. Last year, it combined the KBS and Forsman & Bodenfors agencies to create a single global agency network.

“This isn’t about consolidation, it’s about growth,” DeMuth tells strategy, adding that each of the specialist agencies within the network have capabilities that can be helpful to the other, expanding their offerings to clients through collaboration and facilitating local growth by accessing clients across categories. He adds that Doner also brings production, data and multi-cultural offerings to the network, in addition to its size, back-end resources and client portfolio.

DeMuth says it gives 6Degrees and Veritas, in particular, a platform to expand into the U.S., adding that having Doner expand its reach into Canada could be a possibility as well (Doner previously had Canadian offices in Toronto and Montreal that worked on clients like Canadian Tire and Mazda in the ’80s and ’90s, though both were closed by 2011). DeMuth says Doner and 6Degrees have already won business for a yet-to-be-named U.S. client based on a joint pitch.

In terms of the offering to clients, DeMuth says the network will be built on three key pillars: data-driven strategy, creativity across platforms and agile production, the last of which he says is a major differentiator in the marketplace. Webster also points out how speed to market is in high demand among clients, and this network will be able to deliver that alongside a range of capabilities from different agencies.

“There’s a lot of integration that has happened over the years,” Webster says. “But what’s unique about this alliance is that it recognizes where modern marketing is today, a fusion of capabilities that appreciates how below-the-line and above-the-line come together in an agile way. We’re going to look at how we bring even more creative bench and strategic bench in an agile way to all of the agencies, regardless of discipline, as well as strategically adapt in a way that shows clients we are ahead of the game.”

DeMuth says the agencies within the network share cultural similarities that make sense to work together, namely that they are all very entrepreneurial, creatively driven and work with similar types of clients and categories.

“The speed to market that is required from clients, but doing that with a thoughtfulness that goes beyond just getting things done fast, to do that within the entire MDC Network would be hard,” Webster adds. “But to do that with a group of hand-picked agencies that complement each other, that’ll be dynamite, and allows us to focus on business growth in the right way, with clients that will feel it faster and in a more meaningful way.”

DeMuth adds: “The ability to bring together these resources in a seamless way, without a lot of fuss and delivering them quickly with speed to market, is going to be differentiating and a bit of a superpower.”

Source: Strategy