NEWS1 October 2018

CIE restructures into single Watermelon Research brand

M&A New business News People UK

UK – Chime’s Insight and Engagement Division (CIE) has announced it is consolidating and restructuring so that its agencies, including Facts International and Opinion Leader, will now all operate under its customer experience consultancy brand, Watermelon Research.

Mark Squires new_crop

The changes come into effect today with Mark Squires (pictured), Watermelon’s CEO, at the helm of the single business. Squires became CEO in May when it was announced that Crispin Beale, CIE’s CEO and Emily Kettle, managing director of Facts International, were both stepping down.

Opinion Leader had not had a managing director since Pam Armstrong left earlier in the year. 

At that time it was announced that CIE was being brought into the VCCP Partnership – which was acquired by Chime in 2005 – and that now applied to Watermelon.  

Watermelon was originally seen as the digital arm of CIE while Facts International was its fieldwork specialist and Opinion Leader focused on customer satisfaction measurement. So instead of individual agency brands, under the restructure Watermelon is now offering three core areas: customer feedback, voice of the customer and customer experience.

Watermelon has achieved significant growth since its launch in 2012. A single brand identity will also sit more clearly within the Chime network as well as gaining operational efficiencies.

The restructure has resulted in an unspecified number of redundancies. The company said the majority of staff had migrated to Watermelon. The Ashford offices are remaining in operation along with London, Sydney and New York. 

Squires said: "From 1st October for our existing clients, staff, and suppliers it will be business as usual and just a change of name.  However, over the coming weeks the rebrand will enable us to bring together all the expertise and services within CIE’s legacy agencies and restructure them under one unifying brand."

He added: "Furthermore, joining VCCP will not only give us the opportunity to provide Watermelon’s services to their current clients, it will also enable us to contribute directly to the work VCCP are delivering on customer experience design. For our clients, this really is a case of the whole being many times greater than the sum of its parts."

Adrian Coleman, Group CEO, VCCP, added: "Combining the services, expertise and insights under the Watermelon brand enables us to build on our integrated customer experience offering. Growth in this market has been phenomenal in recent years and working closely with Watermelon puts us in a strong position to help brands better understand their customers."