WPP, BCW & Hill and Knowlton declare new merger company, Burson, open for business.

By Oluwaseyi Lawal

Five months after WPP officially announced its intention of merging with BCW and Hill & Knowlton into a single entity, the new agency, Burson, has officially launched with high potentials of becoming the industry’s largest player.

Following numerous rounds of global leadership appointments and layoffs, Burson has introduced new products, programs, and a brand identity aimed at showcasing the agency’s “modern approach to reinventing how reputation is built and protected in today’s dynamic environment.” The merger is set to be completed on July 1.

Global CEO Corey duBrowa, formerly BCW’s global CEO, said, “Businesses and organizations are operating in a constant state of complexity and uncertainty, marked by rapid advancements in technology, economic volatility, wide-ranging activism, and social and geopolitical turbulence. A strong reputation grounded in action, communicated clearly and creatively, and deployed as capital across stakeholders will enable clients to succeed in this environment. Reputation is a company’s most valuable asset for enhancing perception and growing performance, preference, valuation and return.”

Burson has developed a new framework and consulting methodology to evaluate and manage client projects based on four pillars: company actions, communications, social narratives, and stakeholder beliefs. This work will be backed by The Burson Innovation Portfolio, which features product suites utilizing AI technology to address clients’ challenges.

Speaking on Burson’s stand on innovation and value creation, global chairman AnnaMaria DeSalva, stated, “In today’s complex operating environment, business leaders are converting pervasive risks into opportunities for innovation and value creation. The Burson Innovation Portfolio, which draws on the technology strengths of our combined agencies and WPP, reflects our promise to combine artificial and human intelligence in ways that help our clients succeed at the intersection of risk, creativity and reinvention.”

“Leading companies are already leveraging these solutions to build and protect their reputation in highly material situations. We are committed to both our clients and our employees that Burson will be an engine for their growth and for the enablement of the transformations that the world needs now.”

Alongside its main firm, The Burson Group comprises specialist tech agency Axicom, financial communications agency Burson Buchanan, healthcare agency GCI Health, and Hill & Knowlton, which will continue operating under its brand.

Burson will provide employees with training in client leadership and skills development through a “one Burson” approach. The Burson Academy will focus on several areas: leadership, for career advancement and growth in management and leadership; client excellence, to build strong consultative client relationships; reputation management craft, emphasizing writing, media relations, issues management, and creativity; and AI/innovation, to enhance skills in data & analytics, AI, the Burson Innovation Portfolio, and new working methods.


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