Independent mainstay Intouch Solutions has gone the network route, spinning itself into a collection of six companies known as Intouch Group.
The move, unveiled on Tuesday, comes at a time of growth for Intouch. The agency generated $110 million in revenue in 2017 and anticipates global network revenue of $134 million for 2018. Staff size was 652 at the end of 2017 and currently sits at about 710.
Wendy Blackburn, EVP of marketing and communications, described the new corporate structure as “a natural evolution of everything we’ve been doing.”
She added that clients had been asking Intouch to reorient its offerings. “We got a little of, ‘You have everything that we need, but I need to see you at the network level,’” she said.
Founder and CEO Faruk Capan agreed, adding, “We’ve been a single organization for more than 18 years, but when you get to a certain size, you start to realize that you’re not a typical agency anymore and it’s hard to do things the way you always did them. For example, when companies ask us to bid for enterprise technology work, we want them to see more than an agency.”
Intouch Group will consist of six agency brands: full-service creative shop Intouch Solutions; Intouch Proto (also a full-service creative shop, though both Capan and Blackburn pushed back against labeling it a “conflict shop”; Intouch International, a global-minded agency, jointly run with Healthware International; technology and production hub Intouch Enterprise; data and analytics specialty practice Intouch Analytics; and media buying and planning firm Intouch Media.
The decision to establish a network was motivated at least in part by competitive dynamics in and around the evolving agency and consultancy landscapes. Capan noted that in recent years Intouch has found itself up against a new set of competitors for assignments.
“We go up against Cognizant and Accenture all the time. When we do, there’s always a little, ‘Oh, you’re an agency, you can’t handle this,’” he explains. “The clients that know us know what we can do, but sometimes other people may not…What you want is that immediate recognition: ‘Oh, if I go with IBM, I can’t go wrong.’”
Keeping the Intouch brand intact – and, in fact, expanding its breadth – was an essential component of the network conversion. The decision was also informed by the market confusion spurred by earlier, clumsier attempts at nomenclature management by other organizations.
“I don’t mean to disparage other networks or agencies, but there have been so many different name changes,” Blackburn says. “These companies come together and they break apart – and they end up with four or five names. We’ve got good brand recognition, reputation, and heritage, so there was never any thought to change [the Intouch brand].”