LONDON: WPP has brought together four Kantar-branded businesses under one umbrella to launch Kantar Consulting.

The new business is described as a specialist sales and marketing consultancy designed to ‘switch on growth’ for brand owners and retailers, and has been created by merging Kantar Added Value, Kantar Futures, Kantar Vermeer and Kantar Retail.

Phil Smiley, the chief executive of the new organisation, said the existing brands would remain in place during a period of transition but stressed that “none of the things those brands do is disappearing.

“Their solutions, the insights, the work they do, the talent and the people are all staying,” he said in remarks reported by Campaign.

Observers suggested the move was a response to the threat posed to WPP by the incursion of management consultants into agency space – an issue that WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell touched on during a Q3 earnings call last year.

He opined then that “the consultant inroad is more significant not so much in the digital space but in their interaction with client CEOs or CMOs or CIOs – where they go in and say you’re spending too much, we’ll audit your spending and take a fee on a contingency or success basis”.

Smiley admitted the consultancy challenge was “certainly a factor but not the main reason” for the creation of Kantar Consulting.

“The main reason for doing this is to build a stronger capability within Kantar that can serve clients and we believe that we are the leading specialist sales and marketing consultancy that has real expertise in brand and marketing and retail sales and shopper marketing,” he declared.

“We live in a new era of consumption,” Smiley added. “Growth can no longer be assumed, yet there are more, not fewer, opportunities to build breakout brands and new lines of business.

“Future growth exists, but beyond the comfort zone of most organisations; it is more granular, less siloed and more opportunistic.”

Sourced from WPP, Campaign; additional content by WARC staff