WE Communications (WE) today announced a strategic investment in award-winning Indian integrated consultancy, Avian Media, and its sister public affairs consultancy, Chase. WE Communications India will merge with Avian and will now be called Avian WE. Chase will remain a separate consultancy owned by Avian WE and will retain its name.
Market buzz about the proposed sale to WE has been rife since 2016, privately WE sources had indicated to PRmoment India as far back as November 2016 that Avian Media is their preferred choice for an India expansion.
“By joining forces with Avian Media, another like-minded independent, we can continue to put our clients at the center of everything we do,” said Melissa Waggener Zorkin, CEO of WE Communications. “Our investment immediately extends the client capabilities we offer and creates opportunities for future services expansion, supercharging our regional and global network.”
No overlap, redundancy in integration
While declining to comment on the quantum of investment, Melissa Waggener Zorkin, CEO of WE Communications termed it as 'significant' in a conversation with PRmoment India. Zorkin Also said that Avian WE will contunue to focus on its' power sectors of tech, healthcare and consumer ( WE's strengths) as well as continue to work with Avian's exisitng client base.
Carolyn Camoens, who will continue as WE’s senior vice president of Southeast Asia, based in Mumbai said that the two teams go well togther and there is no conflict or overlap or redundancy in the respective company portfolios.
Mantri indicated that the operational and logistics end of the new entity, Avian WE, in terms of gathering the teams together should be done within the next one month.
Zorkin termed the integration as a, 'coming together', of teams.
Future of PR consolidation
Zorkin also told PRmoment India the coming together of two independent firms is what WE prefers as a consolidation approach. Commenting on the recent trend of mergers of group PR firms, Zorkin said, "I am confused about where the client is with that approach. That is not the way we will go. Clients love independent firms, they love their bold appraoch."
Avian Media Investment
Founded in 2004, by executive chairman Nikhil Khanna, Avian Media currently numbers more than 150 employees with offices in Mumbai, Delhi (headquarters), Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Pune. Khanna, working with co-managing partner and now Group CEO of Avian WE India, Nitin Mantri, together built Avian Media into India's second largest independent communication consultancy in the country. They have been supported by a strong management team including Manash Neog and Neha Mehrotra who have been with the firm since its inception. Providing both corporate and brand positioning counsel and public affairs capabilities through its subsidiary Chase, the award-winning consultancy specialises in delivering integrated campaigns to serve both foreign brands and India’s most innovative global and local brands. Avian WE clients in India include Airbnb, Airbus, Bloomberg, Dell, MasterCard, Qualcomm, Sony and TripAdvisor.
“We are excited about this partnership. Both entities share a common entrepreneurial culture and a philosophy of working in partnership with our clients to build long-term relationships, and a culture that places great emphasis on our people. I am very excited about what we can achieve together,” said Khanna.
“The merger between Avian into WE represents a huge opportunity for us to accelerate our expansion into new sectors and markets within the region. With the increased scale of the combined business, we can deepen our specialist capabilities, particularly in the areas of our power sectors Technology, Health, and Consumer and provide our team with greater development opportunities,” added Mantri.
Key senior management in Avian WE includes Manash Neog who continues to lead the public affairs subsidiary Chase, while Neha Mehrotra will now run Avian WE PR nationally. WE veteran Carolyn Camoens will continue as WE’s senior vice president of Southeast Asia based in Mumbai. The combined agency boasts over 160 employees.
In addition to expanding its regional and global footprint, WE is also growing its signature intellectual capital, Brands in Motion, to include India. Brands in Motion examines the movement of sectors and brands inspired by, or driven by, technology.
“WE is focused on becoming the leading, independent mid-sized global network in the industry. With last year’s addition of Red Bridge in China and WATATAWA in Singapore, combined with our investment in Avian Media and Chase in India, we are in a great position to serve multi-market clients better than we ever have,” said Alan VanderMolen, WE president of International. "These additions to our family are yet another example of WE aggressively expanding our global network in order to service a growing, global client base.”