Integrating traditional DM
Q: Tell me about the recent rebranding of Rapp Collins, now called Rapp.
A: I wouldn't call it a rebranding as much as I'd say it's a brand evolution. It's the expansion of the scope of our business through the digital platform, and the many ways in which we have continued to develop new content, product and ideas for our clients. This doesn't mean that we have left behind direct marketing principals and direct marketing skills. On the contrary, what has happened is that the digital platform has created enormous scope for direct marketing technique and direct marketing talent. So, updating our brand and its identity and the way in which it expresses itself is simply a reflection of the evolving nature of our business.
Q: How has this scope evolved?
A: The scope of our services has widened with the expansion of ways to reach consumers. The most dramatic example of that is the digitization of almost every communication. Now, that doesn't mean that we don't continue to create work and create value in lots of traditional direct marketing channels, we do. But new channels and new media have opened up the opportunity for us to expand our talents into areas that are new and exciting, and of critical importance to clients.
Q: What is the focus of the new Rapp?
A: Trading as Rapp globally will continue to be important to us. Clients are coming to us and asking if we can support their marketing efforts in international markets. Also, many clients we're working with overseas have asked to expand. We've recently been appointed to a number of new clients — Siemens Worldwide, for example — that are looking at opportunities for consolidating and investing in global CRM, and global direct marketing programs.
Q: How has this digital revolution changed the role played by the direct marketing agency in a brand's marketing planning?
A: What's new, I think, is the marketplace itself, and consumers, and the channels to those consumers that makes a difference to us from a strategic standpoint. What is new, is that what we are very good at — measurement, analytics and other direct strategies — has been limited by those channels in the past, but has now been exponentially multiplied by the digital realm. The ways and means of engaging consumers in the online and offline world have become so much more enabled for us as a direct marketing agency. Our clients' interests in what we do have been greatly widened, to include things that perhaps we weren't included in previously.
Q: Has this changed the pitch process?
A: We are now brought in much earlier to work with a client. Of course, it depends on the client and the nature of what they want to do with their brand. But, now the direct agency is often required [to be included] from the beginning as the role of digital is playing a central role in a brand's strategy.