Red alert – Red Havas leadership explains the agency’s rebranding

Havas PR Middle East joins Red Havas global network. The agency’s management explains why the agency is rebranding.

Havas PR Middle East will now be named Red Havas Middle East. The rebrand signals the agency’s entry into the Red Havas’ global micro-network of ‘Merged Media’ agencies, which integrates earned, social and experiential capabilities with content at its heart. The move brings the Middle East team together with Red Havas offices across the US, Australia, Singapore, Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, the UK, Italy, France and Germany.

How does Red Havas fit in with Havas’s existing structure?

Dana Tahir, general manager, Red Havas Middle East: We’re joining Red Havas at a time of great expansion for our agency. After onboarding key clients such as Adidas, Infinity des Lumieres and Nakheel Malls – and continually diversifying our expertise, we were ready to hit the ground running with this rebrand. By linking up with this micro-network of top agencies operating from all corners of the world, we’re able to stretch our wings even further, both geographically and in terms of skillsets and investments that we can share and, in turn, leverage.

Dany Naaman, CEO, Havas Middle East: Our agency remains part of the larger Havas PR Global Collective, as do all of the Red Havas agencies. This rebrand only reinforces the advantage of our integration into the Havas Village model.

By becoming part of Red Havas, we’re adopting its Merged Media strategic model, which will further strengthen our PR chops and plug us into powerful content, social media and data capabilities, not to mention the local expertise of Red Havas offices globally.

To cut a long story short, the Red Havas leadership will now be able to better make a meaningful difference for the brands they work with. This rebrand is happening in the name of streamlining and enhancing what they do – and that includes making them more efficient and cost-effective for clients.

What are the origins and roll-out roadmap of Red Havas globally?

James Wright

James Wright, global chairman, Havas PR Global Collective; global CEO, Red Havas: Red Havas is the world’s first Merged Media agency, integrating earned, social and experiential capabilities with content at the heart. The launch of the new micro network in 2019 aimed to better integrate the Havas global PR offering by combining two of the group’s leading PR brands. At launch, Red Agency APAC offices, including Australia, Singapore and the Philippines, took on the new branding at the same time as Havas PR offices in North America.

Today, Red Havas has offices in Australia (Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney), the United States (Chicago, Pittsburgh, Phoenix, New England and New York City), the United Kingdom (London, Surrey and Manchester), France, Germany, Italy, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam. The Dubai launch comes fast on the heels of the agency announcing the launch of Red Havas Health, a global micro-network focused on health, in response to increasing demand from clients globally. 

Red Havas is part of the Havas PR Global Collective, a team of 1,300 consultants across 40 offices. The master plan is not to fold all of these agencies into the Red Havas network. We have many agencies that are highly specialised and plan to stay that way, and others for whom a rebrand simply doesn’t make sense. Our Merged Media approach to communications is at the heart of the Red Havas brand so we need to find the right partners who can deliver on this offering and help build upon our global Redster culture.

What do the phrases ‘Merged Media’ and ‘micro-agency network’ mean?

DT: The concept of Merged Media was born from the realisation that the lines of communications – earned, owned, shared and paid – aren’t just crossing; they’re merging. More than 60 per cent of public relations leaders, CEOs and students surveyed in 2019 said that within five years the average person will not be able to make a distinction between paid, earned, shared and owned media when consuming information. For consumers, it is all one and the same: Multiple platforms and channels form a singular experience, one impression.

This merging of media sources mimics the way that we all now consume content across devices and platforms. A voracious appetite for digital content exists alongside a continued fondness for traditional media outlets. With so much mixing and mingling, Red Havas didn’t want to wait and see what the future of public relations would hold. We wanted to take down the walls and create that future, to help brands tell a channel-agnostic story that covers all the old media bases – as well as the new and emerging ones.

As for the idea of a “micro-agency network,” the Red Havas team wanted to be sure their agencies weren’t linked in name only. They wanted to stay lean enough that not only will they stay nimble, but they will also stay invested in one another’s successes – personally and professionally. The idea is to have a group of expert colleagues on every continent who they know well enough that there’s no hesitation to pick up the phone and ask for advice – minding the time zone differences, of course.

Dany Naaman, CEO, Havas Middle East & Dana Tahir, general manager, Red Havas Middle East

What areas will Red Havas be investing in to improve its offering to clients?

DN: The rebranding complements the Village model, further integrating all disciplines under one roof and truly building a client-centric model. With the support of Havas Village, we’re already able to offer and integrate content, social media, creative solutions and data capabilities.

Becoming part of Red Havas will us help us bring new solutions to our clients, and identify new opportunities for brands to be more meaningful in the way they communicate with their consumers. Red Havas has actually developed an entirely new way of thinking about consumers – reframing the B2B and B2C models we’re all familiar with as P2P, or person-to-person. It’s a simple change in perspective but helps us to ground everything we do in consumer-centricity.

The Red Havas global investments in content and social thus far are also substantial, and give the Middle East office access to a breadth of proprietary and third-party data and insights that we’ll use to inform bespoke programmes for our clients.

What differences will clients see between Red Havas and the old Havas PR?

DT: Moving away from a traditional PR agency, Red Havas brings new verticals and new areas of expertise, connecting our clients to a strong global network of like-minded Red Havas agency hubs and an array of new services. This opens the door for us to recruit new talent from the region in the fields of data, content creation, social media and more.

Moving forward, we will continue to blend traditional and digital publishing, content, social media and data, and place that offering at the heart of our PR strategies. PR will now integrate seamlessly across content types to adapt to the media consumption of today’s consumers.

James Wright, global chairman of the Havas PR Global Collective and global CEO of Red Havas:

“From retail and technology to tourism and hospitality, the breadth of opportunity in the Middle Eastern economies is staggering. We’re delighted to enrich our full-service global PR offering with the expert talent at Red Havas Middle East.”

Dany Naaman, CEO, Havas Middle East:

“Along with the powerful content, social media and data capabilities that exist within our Middle
East Village, we’ll now bring a more streamlined, efficient and cost-effective solution to making a meaningful difference for our clients.”

Dana Tahir, general manager of Red Havas Middle East:

“By rebranding under the Red Havas banner and adopting the Merged Media model, we’re better able to bring the future of PR and communications to our clients – and to kick open the doors of the Middle East and North Africa to Red Havas clients everywhere.”