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Opinion and Insight

How VMLY&R Italy is Tooling Up to Build ‘Connected Brands’

CEO Simona Maggini explains the business philosophy taking this new agency forward

How VMLY&R Italy is Tooling Up to Build ‘Connected Brands’

A merger as big as the recent union of Y&R and VML is a chance for a company to do some soul-searching.


When WPP announced the creation of VMLY&R a couple of months back, it gave offices in both networks around the world a chance to do this, to wrap their heads around how they would fit into this new ‘brand experience agency’ network.


The VMLY&R proposition promised to deliver a contemporary fully-integrated digital and creative offering to clients on a global scale.


In Italy the two agencies had already been integrated under the same roof. In 2018 CEO Simona Maggini has strongly invested in new-generation resources, bringing on board a new wave of talents in digital, tech and the social area.


LBB’s Alex Reeves spoke to Simona to get a handle on the Italian features of this newborn agency.



LBB> Can you describe the new company VMLY&R? Which is the positioning after the union of VML and Y&R?


Simona> VMLY&R is a brand experience agency. We harness creativity, technology, and culture to create connected brands that drive value for our clients and impact the world. A connected brand is a brand that lives in people’s lives by connecting with them on an emotional level - wherever they are and whenever they are - and inspiring them to connect with others, generating a unique experience for the consumers. In Italy YR and VML were already coexisting under the same leadership and the unification for us is a confirmation of the strategic vision we designed years ago. The ambition is to give our clients the most complete solution for their business needs and to create great ideas which impact the world.


LBB> What was the reaction in Italy to this new path for the network?


Simona> It was enthusiastic and keeps on improving day after day along with the rebranding process. We are defining an enhanced agency structure designed to deliver strategies and ideas around the customer experience approach and including a new breed of talents. Some recent wins are giving us the chance to hire profiles in the UX/UI and innovation.


LBB> What are the key principles that the unified network will move forward with?


Simona> I would say the key principle is that “we put everything we are into everything we do”. This means we are extremely passionate and committed, to outstanding quality in our delivery to clients. And as an agency we live our time and we deeply understand the content and the context and the role of our job.


LBB> How has the rebrand changed the way you recruit and nurture talent in the Italian agency?


Simona> There is more concentration on talents with sense of business and ambition to do something really meaningful, talents able to build real value for our clients.


Customer experience is at the core of future hires and more than ever the search of creative profiles, because great ideas are still what we are here for.


LBB> How have clients and brands responded to the merger in Italy? In what ways does it affect the way you relate to them?


Simona> Clients are very interested and expecting to know more, but reassured by the current leadership and agency teams. Our relationship with clients will be enhanced and empowered by the new vision, by new tools and new global talent and cases.


There is no disruption in the relationship with clients: when everything is changing that fast, luckily a few things are still stable. A professional, passionate and  honest attitude is still the best way to build successful relations. Clients want to learn from us, they want to be inspired: we are going to give them more of that, every day.

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