Richard Stevens, now managing director of BrandWorld, plans to rejuvenate the company's mastheads as founder Bill Peake and former shareholder Mike O’Sullivan dip a toe into retirement.
Peake is now non-executive chairman and former managing director O'Sullivan is overseeing strategy and new mastheads. The role changes come as Clemenger Group buys the last ten percent of BrandWorld. Clemenger first bought in to the 15 year-old Kiwi company in 2008.
BrandWorld has become a wholly owned Clems subsidiary in the deal. Clemenger chief executive Jim Moser wouldn't say what the deal was worth, but said Stevens had been running BrandWorld since January, with an official title change at the start of July.
"This is a chance to say, 'let's look at all the products and get some new energy and set a new course'," says Stevens.
He points to The Mix, for Lion Nathan, and the Made to Match project with Al Brown as examples of a more observational style.
"We're starting to do a much more contemporary look and less of an advertorial look. It's more conversational and less graphics heavy."
Stevens is the former general manager of sales and marketing at Fisher & Paykel Appliances and ex-director of business development at DDB New Zealand. BrandWorld also produces Family Health Diary and Discover, along with Lion Nathan's The Mix, 3M Clever Thinking, Fisher and Paykel's Inside Stories, Toyota Showroom and others.
Stevens says Australian-based Buchanan Group, which makes Brand Power, Medifacts and Zoot Review, among others and recently merged with Hypermedia, is a worthy competitor. But he says BrandWorld sets itself apart and keeps clients by continuing to deliver on sales activation.