GroupM announced on Wednesday that Outrider Canada, the search marketing arm of GroupM Canada, will now go under the moniker of Catalyst Canada. The move aligns the search agency's branding with others in the portfolio.
GroupM is WPP's consolidated media investment management operation, serving as the parent company to agencies including Maxus, MEC, MediaCom, Mindshare, Catalyst and Xaxis.
It's more than a simple renaming. In the announcement, GroupM said that the rebranding would create a single cohesive offer in the region and combine the expertise of the two units.
Jeff Lancaster, CEO of Catalyst Canada, would not divulge specifics. He told ClickZ, "It's a bid for us to achieve more consistency in going to market. We've built innovative practices in the United States and Canadian marketplaces operating under different brands for the last few years. This will unite the practices we have across North America."
Lancaster said an increasing number of his agency's clients want to engage across multiple markets, and more are looking for specialists in search. "It used to be, [search] would get wrapped in with the media or creative agency. Now advertisers recognize that search is a specific discipline, and there seem to be a lot more specific engagements for search," he said.
"Unite" does not mean consolidation, Lancaster said. Catalyst Canada will maintain its full infrastructure, including client services teams, technology teams and billing.
And yet, "The teams will become a lot more collaborative in terms of developing offerings. Right now, we have product teams on both sides. Now, we will get a lot more collaboration in terms of taking that to the next level," Lancaster said. "It's just getting our product teams together."
When asked what steps Catalyst was taking to achieve that collaboration, he said, "I can't comment, but there are some things to come."
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Susan Kuchinskas has covered interactive advertising since its invention. The former staff writer for Adweek, Business 2.0, and M-Business covers technology, business and culture from Berkeley, CA.
March 19, 2014