Mark Read

Reports from our company leaders


Mark Read

Report by Mark Read
Global chief executive officer


underman enjoyed a very successful 2016, delivering its best results in five years. We ended the year positioned to grow stronger on recent client wins and to benefit from the increasing opportunities from clients looking to transform their marketing and customer experience to take advantage of the digital revolution.

Over the past two years, we have worked on positioning Wunderman for the future, building more innovative capabilities, hiring new people, making a number of critical acquisitions and integrating much more closely our creative and data skills. Today, we can offer the progressive client, one who recognizes the power of data and technology but knows that brilliant creative ideas are needed to inspire consumers, a trusted partner to help them map out their future.

Wunderman is very well placed, with our heritage in data, to leverage the benefits of AI for its clients

Wunderman is a ‘Creatively Driven. Data Inspired.’ organisation. We believe in strong creative ideas but also in delivering measurable results founded in our expertise in data. We have integrated our three major disciplines – Data and Analytics, Creative Communications and Experiences, and Technology-Enabled Marketing – across our 175 offices. This combination not only enhances our expertise; it also enables us to offer end-to-end solutions for our clients. At its heart is COLLISION, our unique way of working, which builds on the notion that the best results come out of the collision of creativity and data, and delivers results through rigorous frameworks, easy access to data and a collaborative way of working. Our people now work side by side across disciplines, taking full advantage of each other’s knowledge and strengths.

In 2016, we made a number of acquisitions. We welcomed Acceleration into our network from WPP Digital, adding 150 seasoned technology and consulting experts to our team. Founders Jacques van Niekerk and Stephan Pretorius joined us in broader roles as CEO of Wunderman Data and Global CTO, respectively. We extended our data business in Europe with Conexance joining us in France. And late in the year, Brazil’s leading marketing automation company, Pmweb, joined our network. This new infusion of talent improved our ability to deliver data and technology consulting and extended our offer into end-to-end digital transformation services.

Our efforts, I am pleased to say, are paying off. Globally, we won more than $75 million in new business in 2016, including from leading brands such as GSK, Danone, T-Mobile, Shell, HSBC, Nestlé, U.S. Navy, Ford and Dyson. We gained major new assignments in every region and practice. What’s more, many of those assignments are in new areas for us, including data and technology strategy, product innovation, content strategy and virtual reality.

Creatively, we continue to improve and are gaining recognition for our efforts. Our offices in Belgium and Buenos Aires won Cannes Lions last year alongside awards for our Shanghai office at the IAB Mixx Awards, our Buenos Aires and Lima offices at the El Ojo festival, our Paris office at the Cristal Festival, and our Seattle and London offices at the Data & Marketing Association’s events.

Our specialist groups, Wunderman Health and Wunderman MSC, also continued to perform particularly strongly with double-digit growth in the past year. Wunderman Health has positioned itself as a change agent, as the healthcare industry increasingly commits to digital and customer-centric marketing. During 2016, the agency was buoyed by wins like GSK Consumer Health’s selection to its global digital roster. In 2017, it will launch an evolved personalized marketing practice, unveil proprietary research and further expand into emerging fields of wellness and health services.

Our ecommerce expert, FusePump, has built exciting proprietary mobile applications aimed at the digital shopper.

Finally, we are thinking ambitiously about our future and how advances in computing power are driving artificial intelligence (AI). Wunderman is very well placed, with our heritage in data, to leverage the benefits of AI for its clients. We have successfully delivered a number of projects for clients that benefit from the application of AI to marketing and are investing with some key strategic partners in new areas.

Above all, the more than 7,000 people who make up Wunderman around the world are energized by their achievements in 2016 and ambitions for the future. I would like to thank them for what they have done and what they will do together in 2017 to realise our ambition of inspiring people to take action.