Addressing the crowd of curious onlookers, CEO Anthony Swart said, “The change goes beyond simply changing our name and identity. It goes to the core of our offering.”
“Now a union of more than 500 people, working out of 21 offices covering 18 different markets internationally, what binds us together is a commitment to becoming masters of the art and science of brand building.”
As guests crossed the foyer and over an interactive fish pool in the reception, curious goldfish 'swam up' to inspect their feet. The Perfect Union – a customised cocktail for the occasion, made with 'brand value ingredients' – was a bright blue accompaniment to an intriguing menu. From gazpacho soup served in test tubes and chicken skewers on curried candyfloss, to deconstructed lemon tarts and pavlovas with popping candy, the canapé menu was a dazzling array of festive food, both artfully and scientifically approached.
“Bright ideas guide us – they are the lifeblood of our business,” added Swart. “And we take the greatest pride in crafting and shaping the brightest ideas into memorable and valuable brand worlds.” Animated slideshows on plasma screens paid homage to three decades of brand building on the continent, while the blue-hued ambience was set by The Brand Union's new identity illuminating the walls.
Continued Swart, “On the back of 30 successful years on the continent, we feel this will give us – and primarily, our clients – a strategic advantage in offering a truly linked up global network of brand specialists.”
Importantly, Swart emphasised, the new identity launch was part of an ongoing process that has been underway for some time and follows a series of strategic developments including the office relocation to Sandton central, the empowerment deal with Southern Palace Investments – owned by Karl Socikwa, and the evolution from an owner-managed culture to being part of a truly linked up international organisation.
“This is not the culmination of that process, but a natural outcome of change that has been unfolding throughout the year as we became more integrated and began streamlining our Systems and Processes around our network of 21 offices,” added Swart.
The Brand Union is the realisation of the WPP Group's ambition to build one of the world's leading brand and design networks. By bringing talent together from the industry's top branding and design agencies into a seamless, global offering.
To celebrate this concept of coming together, guests played a part in contributing to building The Brand Union by piecing together the new identity with a magnetic trademark shape, composing a mosaic on the wall.
The leading brand consultancy, The Brand Union has helped create, build and/or sustain 31 of the world's top 100 brands, according to the latest figures from Millward Brown Optimor. Locally, six of the brand and design consultancy's clients scooped top honours in their categories in the Sunday Times Markinor Top Brands survey, and a further 16 The Brand Union has worked with rank within the top three.
The evening was both a toast and a festively fitting close to a very successful 2007.