Customer insight is great, but using it to inform strategy is where marketers see real impact.
That’s the reasoning behind Diversified Agency Services’ acquisition of co-creation consultancy Promise Corporation. DAS, a branch of Omnicom Group, aims to provide its clients with deeper customer insight, help them deal with Big Data, and enhance its offline presence through the acquisition. Additionally, DAS intends to integrate Promise with Communispace—a provider of private online customer communities used to gain real-time customer insight—however, “there’s not any conversation about changing their brand,” says Diane Hessan, CEO of Communispace.
“People are inundated with data, but they don’t have a lot of insight…it doesn’t always mean anything to them,” Hessan says. “The primary purpose of the acquisition is to help us build the capability; not just to generate game-changing insights, but [also] to have them really matter and have impact [on] their clients. That’s what Promise is great at: doing that kind of activation and getting executives to really sit up and help them take action on what they’re learning from customers.”
Hessan says Communispace also aims to balance its primarily online presence with Promise’s offline skill-set to provide more in-person insight.
“We’re almost completely online. Everything that we’re helping our clients learn from consumers we do by engaging them in these online communities. Promise has an online capability, and they also have an offline capability,” Hessan says. “If we’re generating things online that remains the backbone of everything, but they also do workshops, meetings, and those kinds of things to physically get consumers and executives in the room together…. We started in the middle of the Internet Boom, so for us all of our expertise is about using the Internet to leverage insights. Sometimes you forget that there are actually times when it might be worth people being face-to-face with their customers. “
Although Communispace is based in the United States, Hessan attributes part of the acquisition to Communispace’s desire to broaden its European reach. Through the acquisition, Hessan says, Communispace intends to quadruple its European presence.
In fact, she cites Communispace’s rapid growth as one of the prime reasons for the acquisition’s timing. “The first frontier was taking data and turning it into insights; now the new frontier is going to be generating insights and turning it into impact. So, that’s what we’re betting on,” Hessan says.
Hessan claims that there will “absolutely not” be any layoffs and says that Communispace even intends to hire more employees, particularly in the U.S., U.K., and Shanghai. She adds that Communispace will also not alter Promise’s client teams.
Additionally, Hessan sites geographic presence and compatibility in engaging consumers on- and offline as the companies’ main synergies.The two businesses share a similar company culture in terms of investing in and fostering the careers of employees under 35, she says.
“We’re trying to do great work that matters, and this is about doing great work that matters even more,” Hessan says. “It’s all going to be about impact, and ROI, and really making more of a difference for our clients and we don’t want that to stop at just generating insight for people.”