New majority owners, BlueFocus, will help drive investment in digital advertising
At SATOV, we like to see friends succeed. So we couldn’t be happier for Cossette, one of Canada’s biggest advertising firms and a long-standing client and strategic partner.
In December 2014, BlueFocus Communication Group, a dominant public relations player in the Chinese market, purchased a majority stake in Vision7 International, Cossette’s parent company. Through this deal, Cossette gains the support of a large organization to grow aggressively in the U.S. and invest in shifting its focus toward digital advertising.
One of the world’s top 40 marketing and communications companies, Québec City–based Vision7 has two divisions: Cossette, a fully-integrated agency whose clients include McDonald’s Corp., the Royal Canadian Mint and Telus; and EDC, a global group of marketing agencies focused on different disciplines. Vision7 agreed to sell 85 per cent of its North American assets to BlueFocus for US$210 million. The deal highlights the global ambitions of BlueFocus, a Beijing-based giant with 3,000 employees worldwide and a US$4 billion market cap.
SATOV worked with Cossette to make changes that prepared it for this landmark acquisition. In 2009, the company engaged us to create a five-year strategic plan. At the time, Cossette and other communication firms were under pressure due to commoditization of services and the prospect of being cut out of traditional roles, such as media buying. They were also battling media fragmentation and a trend among major clients to consolidate their business with fewer agencies.
Cossette had taken steps to expand internationally by acquiring agencies in the U.K. and the U.S. In an attempt to keep its entrepreneurial culture, there were times when it sub-optimized its integrated approach to clients. We helped them better understand its customers’ needs, and made some pretty clear recommendations: a more targeted client strategy and reorganization, so that the company could better execute on its plan. We stayed on to help manage the reorganization and were pleased to see the quick, positive impact on client relations.
Over the past five years, SATOV and Cossette have built a partnership that plays to both firms’ complementary offerings. When its clients need strategy and execution advice on customer-facing processes, Cossette refers them to us; in turn, we send Cossette business from clients looking for an integrated provider of marketing communications.
We’re proud of Cossette’s achievement and our own role in its success. As British advertising executive Roger Haupt observed, his profession is a global business: “You’ve got to be good everywhere.” Cossette lives up that challenge.