Prophet, a global brand and marketing consultancy, is expanding into China by opening an office in Shanghai. To lead its China business, Prophet is bringing in two seasoned partners with a deep understanding of the local market and a track record advising clients on how to unlock brand-led business growth—Benoit Garbe as Senior Partner and Leon Zhang as a Partner. These two leaders join a quickly expanding team of experienced consultants to form a significant local presence in Shanghai.
This news, in conjunction with the appointment of Senior Partner Tom Doctoroff, one of the world’s foremost experts on Chinese consumers and brand building, demonstrates Prophet’s commitment to the China market. Earlier this year, Prophet collaborated with Alimama of Alibaba to develop the META brand building model for China’s digital age, under the guidance of David A. Aaker, Vice Chairman of Prophet. Later this month, Prophet will also unveil the results of its second annual Brand Relevance IndexTM for China, a consumer index that ranks brands on relevancy rather than size.
“Benoit and Leon possess extensive experience in China. They have helped some of world’s leading brands develop and execute successful market entry and growth strategies in China, and have advised many Chinese business leaders with their brand-led business transformation. Their combined knowledge and experience will be instrumental in helping companies take advantage of the fast-changing landscape and unique digital ecosystem of the Chinese market,” said Michael Dunn, Chairman and CEO of Prophet.
Mr Garbe started his career on the client side, holding various roles in brand management and strategy at Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH), Diageo and Nike. Over the past 10 years, Mr Garbe served as one of the founding partners of Millward Brown Optimor, which became Kantar Vermeer, a global brand and business strategy consultancy part of the WPP group. Mr Garbe, based in Shanghai, led Vermeer China and oversaw the regional expansion of its consulting business across Asia, with offices in Singapore, Sydney, Dubai, Cape Town and Tokyo. Mr Garbe, who joins Prophet next month, will bring deep expertise in global brand building, and a specific understanding of what it takes to win in the region.
“I’m thrilled to join Prophet, and continue to help business leaders in China drive further development and profits for their brands. Prophet is well-positioned to serve clients in China, providing fact-based strategy fuelled with creative thinking. With both digital transformation and in-house creative capabilities, Prophet is uniquely equipped to help clients turn strategies into tangible brand experiences, and take full advantage of digital and e-commerce opportunities,” said Mr Garbe.
Before joining Prophet, Mr Zhang worked for the business strategy practices of Accenture and Deloitte, and most recently for WPP’s brand and marketing consultancy, Kantar Vermeer. With extensive experience in professional services, Mr Zhang has helped both multinational companies enter and mature in China, and Chinese brands expand domestically and internationally.
“It’s an exciting time to be at Prophet. The recent partnership with Alimama confirms our desire and commitment to lead the thinking on how brands can build relevance in China, even in the fast-changing digital world,” said Mr Zhang.
The Shanghai office is Prophet’s second in Asia after it opened an office in Hong Kong in 2012.