Home Agencies Dentsu Merges Two Of Its Consulting Firms Under Isobar Brand

Dentsu Merges Two Of Its Consulting Firms Under Isobar Brand


isobarDentsu Aegis’ Isobar will launch a new unit by merging its consulting capabilities with those of two corporate siblings at Dentsu, the agency announced on Thursday.

Copernicus Marketing and Forbes Consulting, both subsidiaries of Dentsu, will be merged as an integrated division under the Isobar agency network. David Forbes, founder of Forbes Consulting, and Peter Krieg, founder of Copernicus, will lead the Marketing Intelligence Practice as co-VPs of Isobar US.

With the change, Forbes Consulting and Copernicus will cease to exist as standalone brands.

Dubbed Marketing Intelligence Practice, the new 65-person group will support Isobar’s work on launching products and digital strategies for clients using research tactics such as market sizing, deep choice analysis and shopper insights.

“Increasingly clients are coming to us because they’re asking us to design and build new products,” said Jeff Maling, co-CEO of Isobar. “As we compete more with Accenture, Deloitte, BCG and Bain in this digital world, they have these capabilities.”

The Marketing Intelligence Practice will expand Isobar’s consulting capabilities beyond focus groups and ethnographic research to deeper product, feature and pricing analysis. The group will tap large, third-party data providers such as Epsilon and Experian to optimize and personalize clients’ digital products, like websites and apps.

Isobar’s clients will have access to the Marketing Intelligence Practice as needed, as they do with the agency’s user experience design, technology and strategy teams. The group will sit on the same P&L and operating model as the rest of the agency.

“We’ve organized it very much like we’ve organized Isobar, which is around client teams, so there’s not a real division of labor around those two companies anymore,” Maling said.

Each consultancy brings its area of expertise. While Copernicus is a market leader in segmentation and choice analysis, Forbes brings strength on the qualitative side, such as focus group facilitation. Isobar will also leverage David Forbes’ research on emotional testing, a process by which marketers seek to determine unconscious consumer reactions to advertisements, products and packaging.

Both consulting groups will gain access to Isobar’s technology expertise, which is increasingly required in the market research space.


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“Tech capability is not something Forbes and Copernicus really have,” Maling said. “But it is something Isobar has – we’re a large systems integration firm.”

Isobar has worked closely with the two firms in the past on shared clients, such as Avon, Procter & Gamble and Welch’s. Both firms will bring to the agency their entire client rosters and combined staff of 65. Isobar will continue to staff and build out the practice.

The consolidation of consulting firms follows Dentsu’s bombshell deal to acquire CRM agency Merkle, announced earlier this week. That deal could give Isobar’s new consulting group access to new tools and data sources, Maling said, though it’s too early to evaluate the real impact for the agency network or its clients.

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