FEATURE3 December 2012

‘We're not happy about the way things are in the industry’

Features News

Promise Corporation is to be integrated into online community builder Communispace. We spoke to Promise CEO Charles Trevail about what can be expected from the merger.


Research spoke to Promise CEO Charles Trevail about what can be expected from the merger.

How did the deal come about?
Charles Trevail:
“Promise and Communispace had been watching each other as business for some time. We admired what Communispace were doing and they admired us. There were enough synergies, both geographically and in terms of what we did, so it became inevitable that we would get together. It was such a good fit.

Why is that?
Communispace, without a doubt, are the pioneers in communities and we have some strength in that area as well. That’s great because we can share best practice and know-how on running communities. It will be fantastic for both entities. But what Communispace does not have is the consulting capabilities that Promise does. Promise is an innovation business first and it uses co-creation to help clients innovate. The fact that we’re bringing a communities and innovation business together is an interesting and quite potent mix.

How so?
The sort of innovation work we do is outside of the insight department in most client companies. Often they are involved but we will be dealing with people across the business. It’s about creating change. To be able to put that together with a business that focuses on what I call “permanent listening” is where the real potential is, we think. That’s why we’ve done this, rather than for geographical reasons.

We’re restless and not happy about the way things are in the industry as a whole. Big data and insight are what everyone’s talking about, and many organisations we work with are awash with data or insight – but there’s nothing happening. This [integration] is about how we leverage insight across a business to really create change for our clients. We think that by bringing these two entities together we’re creating a leading force in the industry.

Will the two companies be working together to develop new products?
You bet. We haven’t worked out all the details yet, but there will be collabortions. We’ve got some ideas for now and will be developing more together. That’s absolutely part of this acquisition.

Before that, though, there’s the integration process. What will happen there?
We’ve started on that already. That’s on a global scale, not just in the UK. I think you’ll see a lot of changes very quickly actually. We believe in getting the best from both teams to give our clients and colleagues a really exciting future.

The first thing to say as far as clients are concerned is that there will be no changes to the existing teams that they work with and there are no plans to change brand names. But naturally that’s one of the things we’re reviewing. Over time, we need to establish what the right strategy is for the combined businesses.

Promise is a UK firm with an office in the US, and Communispace is the opposite. What will happen to the regional teams?
That’s one of the things under review. In the US the Promise team is tiny and Communispace is obviously a really big business. Our people there will get integrated into the Communispace offices.

Here in the UK and Europe, however, Promise is a lot larger. There’s no news at the moment but how we operate and structure ourselves in Europe is one of the things we are looking at.