NEW YORK—Manning Selvage & Lee has expanded its North American digital practice into an integrated global offering that includes distinct capabilities in continental Europe, the U.K., and Asia. The new global network, MS&L Digital, will now be able to offer worldwide integrated global solutions in partnership with Digitas and Publicis Modem, sister companies within Publicis Groupe.
Manning says the move reflects “the growing importance of digital strategies to Publicis Groupe and the increased importance of social media, user-generated content, mobile technologies and traditional Internet-based communications techniques to the agency’s clients around the world.”
MS&L’s research suggests that marketers feel a growing urgency for integrated global digital offerings. A recent study by MS&L and trade magazine PRWeek found that while the majority of executives expect to engage and invest in conventional marketing activities this year, such as event sponsorships (60 percent) and media relations (65 percent), sizable numbers also plan to build their brands through consumer generated media (43 percent). The majority of marketing executives perceive consumer-generated media to be an important activity for building a brand (55 percent), increasing brand awareness (63 percent), and driving sales (43 percent).
“There is growing demand from MS&L’s clients for sophisticated, market-specific digital communication programs in most areas of the world,” says Mark Hass, MS&L’s chief executive officer. “While the content of the many digital techniques we use is tailored to different markets and cultures, the ability to share strategies and best practices across borders will be key to our clients’ success and the agency’s continued digital leadership.”
MS&L’s approach focuses on five core areas: communicating with multiple audiences; using third-party credibility; creating and building research-driven insights that educate, entertain, engage and motivate; utilizing online and off-line storytelling techniques; and leveraging the agency’s deep understanding of influencers and pop culture to achieve communication and business goals.
The new global offering will use this approach and offer four categories of services:
· Consulting and strategy (brand and reputation navigation, crisis management, employee communications and CSR);
· Conversation (influencer relationship management, social networks, mobile platforms and blogging);
· Digital publishing (site development, graphics and banners, content creation, multimedia, and programming);
· Measurement and accountability (monitoring, metrics and analysis).
MS&L’s new global practice will be jointly led in North America and Europe by Jud Branam, head of MS&L’s BlogWorks practice, and Michael Pierlovisi, head of MS&L France’s digital PR practice. The network will be led regionally in the U.K. by Justin Hayward, head of MS&L London’s technology group, and Josh Shapiro, regional business development manager in Asia, and staffed by more than 50 MS&L digital experts in key markets around the world.
“The communications industry has shifted from operating as a monologue, to a dialogue, and now to a multilogue, which means that there are multiple conversations and participants about our clients’ products, executives and brands at any given time,” said Branam. “We cut through fads to counsel our clients on the best way to add their stories to this conversation, using innovative products and tools with both context and credibility.”