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ID : 52533153| Sep 2020| 15 pages


Business Sector :Advertising and Public relations

Operating Geography :Ireland, Europe, Global

About WPP :

WPP is a public limited company specializing in advertising and public relations. Its executive office is located in Dublin, Ireland although its head office is located in London, England. With over 203,000 employees including associates as of 2018, WPP is considered as one of the “Big Five” agency companies, beside Dentsu, Publicis, Interpublic Group of Companies and Omnicom. WPP is listed under London Stock Exchange and NASDAQ. It is also a part of FTSE 100 Index.
Founded in 1971 as a wire basket manufacture, “Wire and Plastic Products plc” was acquired by WPP Group founder Martin Sorrel in 1985 with the aim to become a global marketing service firm. Today, WPP owns advertising companies like Grey Group, Wunderman, and JWT, digital companies such as AKQA, Geometry, OgilvyOne, public relations companies like Hill+Knowlton Strategies, and Burson-Marsteller, media investment management companies which are operated by MEC, Maxus, and MediaCom, group of companies with research-orientation, namely Kantar, which include BMRB, Indian Market Research Bureau, and TNS etc. They also own a subsidiary which specializes in manufacturing wire racks.
In 2018, as Sorrel stepped down, Mark Read was appointed as CEO of WPP plc. to carry forward their mission to create growth for their clients using data-driven insights, technology, human intelligence and creativity.

WPP Revenue :

£15,602 million - FY ended Dec 2018 (year-on-year growth of -1.3%)
£15,804 million - FY ended Dec 2017

Competitive Analysis of WPP

The SWOT analysis of WPP is presented below:
1. World’s biggest advertising company
2. Expansion through regular M&As
3. Global presence with several Fortune 500 clients
4. Strong talent powerhouse with gender inclusivity
1. Client losses in 2018
2. Weak performance in North America
3. Inability to apply differentiation strategy
1. New culture under new CEO
2. Investment in creativity and technology
3. Exploring emerging market
4. Opportunity in high growth areas across business segments
1. Stakeholders’ concern over new CEO
2. Intra- and inter-industry competition
3. Increased number of lawsuits due to discriminations and misconducts
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Detailed SWOT Analysis of WPP



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1. New culture under New CEO: Sir Martin Sorrel’s extravagant way of running the WPP group and lack of transparency in executive pay package and personal conduct has already raised red flag among shareholders. The new CEO brought new promises for the organization. WPP Group’s revenue was falling week-by-week when Mark Read joined as CEO. The company had also lost major clients expecting WPP’s downfall under the new CEO. However, Mark Read has been sturdy and announced a three-year strategy for WPP’s revenue bounce-back in December 2018. Read perceives the industrial turmoil as a structural shift rather than structural decline. Hence, he wants to drive WPP through disruptive digital adoption. WPP has repositioned itself as creative transformation company – bringing transformation to client’s brand – through technological and data expertise, rooted on WPP employees’ creative minds. Simplification of organizational structure and simplification of what they offer – is the way forward. WPP’s future offer will cover four areas: communications, experience, commerce and technology. The structure will be represented by their client-centricity, fewer and integrated companies and letting go of underperforming companies, and country-level integration. Reduction in owned companies and country-as-a-single-market has been suggested by the market analysts for cost-cutting and efficient management from Sir Martin Sorrel’s tenure. It was a fresh change to the organization outlook for which many investors are quite expectant.

2. Investment in creativity and Technology: WPP clients have been vocal and consistent about harnessing WPP’s creative expertise to transform their companies through the technological paradigm shift in the recent years. For the growth of the clients and shareholder, it is a no-brainer for WPP management to increase investment in creativity, talent and technology. WPP has been repeatedly rated as the Holding company of the year in Cannes International Festival of Creativity till 2017. It will try to grab hold of that most creative company position in future too. While creativity only – has been the core competency of the Group with exploration in digital aspects, due to heavy competition from disruptive advertising agencies like Google and Facebook, technological paradigm shift is the need of the hour. WPP has to overhaul its current digital-focus and evolve to a disruptive digital ad agency itself to sustain in the industry for years to come. WPP’s unique technology partnership and strategic merger of its owned brands – will help it in gaining competitive advantage.

3. Exploring emerging markets: Emerging countries like India have risen in Ease of Doing Business Index over the recent years. While market is saturated in developed countries for WPP group, there are numerous clients in the emerging countries who can avail marketing expertise of WPP. The most competitive companies from emerging economies are becoming global players that outperform their counterparts in advanced economies. These are the potential clients for WPP. As part of increased investment in India, for example, WPP’s GroupM has completely owned India-based mobile marketing agency Madhouse in August 2018 looking forward to the explosion of mobile marketing in the country. Wunderman will remain as a key stakeholder in WPP’s India presence. In mid-2017, the WPP Group’s growth had slowed down in the emerging markets. However, with its increased investment in India, WPP projects a positive outlook on their prospective future performance in such countries which will in turn result in increased profitability in the long run.

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Major Competitors :

  • Dentsu
  • Omnicon
  • Publicis
  • Interpublic
  • Starcom
  • Bluefocus

Major Brands :

  • AKQA
  • Burson Cohn & Wolfe
  • Finsbury, Geometry
  • Global Grey
  • GroupM (Essence, MediaCom, Mindshare, Wavemaker, Xaxis)
  • GTB
  • Hill+Knowlton Strategies
  • Hogarth
  • J. Walter Thompson
  • Kantar
  • Landor
  • Ogilvy
  • Superunion
  • Tenthavenue
  • VML
  • WPP Health & Wellness
  • Wunderman
  • Y&R
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Check Out Analysis of Other Relevant Companies

References used in WPP Analysis Report

1. WPP Quantifying Impacts-

2. Landor associates sued by former executive alleging age discrimination-

3. Advertising challenges faced by Brexit-

4. WPP increases investments in India-

5. WPP presents strategy for growth-

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SWOT & (2021). WPP SWOT & PESTLE Analysis - SWOT & [online] Available at: [Accessed 03 Mar, 2021].

In-text: (SWOT &, 2021)

Copyrights and Disclaimer

WPP SWOT and PESTLE analysis has been conducted by Swetashree Sahoo and reviewed by senior analysts from Barakaat Consulting.

Copyright of WPP SWOT and PESTLE Analysis is the property of Barakaat Consulting. Please refer to the Terms and Conditions and Disclaimer for usage guidelines.

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