Arun Sudhaman 18 May 2011 // 11:00PM GMT
LONDON: Weber Shandwick’s UK office has launched a new brand experience arm aimed at meeting client’s production needs.
Headed by chief innovation officer Ben Padfield, who joined the firm earlier this year from Hill & Knowlton, Creation @ Weber Shandwick will offer a range of programming solutions, including motion content, mobile and social build, experiential marketing and graphic design.
Padfield told the Holmes Report that the new unit will help “fight from both ends of the spectrum.”
“We have to get better at selling, creating and owning the big idea,” said Padfield. “This changes the dynamics of what clients need and buy from us. It means we have to get better at thinking and selling the big idea. It also means we have to own the means of production.”
The division counts 12 staffers and access to a further 55 via joint ventures, along with the ability to call on Weber Shandwick’s sister agencies, such as Jack Morton, Octagon and Rogers & Cowan.
Last year, the Holmes Report analysed the growth of content creation services in the PR industry - noting the efforts that agencies have made to move into paid and owned media. The feature found that US agencies, in particular, have taken the lead in selling execution services to clients.
“The industry has to intellectually diversify if it is ever going to steal that mantle from creative agencies,” added Padfield. “Simply aspiring to own that idea will never be enough - because that means you are only being paid to think. You need the ability to own every conceivable means of production to getting every idea to market.”
Weber Shandwick UK vice chairman Fiona Noble admitted that the new unit would require a different cultural mindset at the firm. “Status quo is not an option. Will that mean change in terms of people and mix of skills? Absolutely.”