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Beth Sidhu
pr@stagwellglobal.com
202-423-4414

Global Affiliate Brand New Galaxy joins the challenger marketing group to accelerate connected commerce and digital transformation for global brands; will operate as part of Stagwell Media Network

New York, NY & Warsaw, PL – April 21, 2022 (NASDAQ: STGW) – Stagwell, the challenger network built to transform marketing, today announced the acquisition of Brand New Galaxy (BNG), a leading provider of scaled commerce and marketplace solutions for 150+ global brands and 500+ e-retailers worldwide. With 600 experts across Europe, MENA, and the United States, BNG adds deep, digital-first specialization in connected commerce solutions, scaling Stagwell’s broad e-commerce capabilities to service more complex global clients. BNG has served as a partner of Stagwell via its Global Affiliate Program since 2021 and is the first acquisition Stagwell has made of one of its affiliates.

“We are pleased to welcome Brand New Galaxy to the Stagwell platform, expanding the reach of our global e-commerce offerings. Their state-of-the-art e-commerce and digital transformation technology is another reason clients are choosing Stagwell over traditional holding companies,” said Mark Penn, Chairman and CEO, Stagwell.

BNG will join the Stagwell Media Network, a global community of leading omnichannel agencies that collaborate to deliver future-facing solutions driven by digital, data, technology, and media expertise. In addition to complementing Stagwell’s data-led digital transformation capabilities, BNG offers a range of tailored solutions for accelerating end-to-end multimarket commerce, based on international insights that translate into local market opportunities.

“It is incredibly exciting to welcome Brand New Galaxy and their leadership teams to Stagwell Media Network,” said James Townsend, Global Chief Executive Officer of Stagwell Media Network and its global media agency, Assembly. “Their deep and extensive expertise in all things connected commerce sits in perfect complement to our growing portfolio of omnichannel media agencies. The addition of BNG is the natural and front-footed next step for our network to further empower the modern marketeer with more cohesive and integrated solutions across the marketing services spectrum.”

As part of Stagwell Media Network, Brand New Galaxy will continue to go to market under the BNG brand as well as collaborate with other members of the Stagwell Media Network.

Piotr Morkowski, CEO of Brand New Galaxy Holding said, “BNG was born as an ecommerce-native business and over the last five years of incredible growth, we have built a set of unique, world-class capabilities to support our global clients across the entire path to purchase. Building a global business of 600 experts in less than five years is no small achievement, but we are hungry to do much more. Joining forces with Stagwell Media Network at this stage in our journey as part of an integrated go-to-market approach is the best way for us to grow even faster and deliver on our ambitions.”

Stagwell Media Network is now home to more than 3,500 experts distributed globally across more than 20 countries and 40 offices, managing close to $5 billion in media. The Network offers omnichannel media, led by data and digital expertise that challenges the antiquated media models of legacy advertising giants. The BNG acquisition follows the January 2022  acquisition of Goodstuff Communications, one of the United Kingdom’s leading independent media agencies, supporting Stagwell’s scale and global footprint with local activation.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

###

About Stagwell Inc.

Stagwell is the challenger network built to transform marketing. We deliver scaled creative performance for the world’s most ambitious brands, connecting culture-moving creativity with leading-edge technology to harmonize the art and science of marketing. Led by entrepreneurs, our 10,000+ specialists in 34+ countries are unified under a single purpose: to drive effectiveness and improve business results for their clients. Join us at www.stagwellglobal.com.

About Stagwell Media Network

Stagwell’s Media Network is a group of leading omnichannel agencies home to more than 3,500 experts with an expansive global footprint across 40+ offices in 20 countries, managing close to $5 billion in media. Agencies include AssemblyBrand New Galaxy, MMI Agency, Goodstuff and Grason, creative consultancy GALE, B2B specialist Multiview, multi-lingual content agency Locaria, and travel and media experts Ink. The network offers marketers a more dynamic partner for global B2B and B2C solutions spanning data, technology, media, and creativity aimed at accelerating business growth for brands worldwide.

About Brand New Galaxy

Brand New Galaxy is a fast-growing leading provider of marketing and technology solutions built to drive commerce and digital transformation for brands. Founded in Warsaw, Poland, in 2017, BNG has grown to 600+ employees with offices in Europe, North America, and the Middle East. BNG has been named “Debut of the Year 2018”, “Success of the Year 2019 & 2020,” and “Growth of the Year 2021” by PRESS magazine’s prestigious agency ranking, proving its position as a dynamic global agency. BNG’s data-driven approach makes brands better connected with consumers in complex marketing and technology ecosystems. This gives more than 150 brands and Fortune 500 clients a true strategic partner, both on a global and local level.

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Amber Roussel (Senior Director, Communications) and Toni Smith (Director of Social Marketing), MMI Agency

 

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Today’s path to purchase inhabits a space foreshadowed in movies like Back to the Future, The Fifth Element, and Minority Report. We’ve moved from brick-and-mortar stores to the metaverse and from cash to credit to crypto, and the social commerce those classics previewed is now a crucial part of our modern marketing lexicon. The question now is no longer if social can become a driver of business but which platforms are leading the pack – and how to maximize value across the ecosystem. TikTok or Instagram? Brand-created environments or Pinterest? For 36 years, we’ve been helping brands navigate new worlds to better connect with their audiences and drive their businesses. Here’s a guide to getting in – and staying on top – of the social commerce game.

Selling Starts with Strategy

Here’s a powerful stat: 98% of consumers plan to purchase through social or influencer shopping at least once in 2022, per Sprout Social. That’s up tremendously from the 68% of consumers who reported doing so in 2021. This trend follows investments from Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Snapchat, and Pinterest into dedicated shopping tabs that allow brands to “set up shop” in-platform and highlight their product catalogs. Soon, we could see these in-app shopping areas enable complete end-to-end purchasing.

To prepare for this new way of shopping, we suggest that brands:

  • Identify the audience(s) they want to reach on social media
  • Set clear goals and timelines
  • Develop a social selling plan that includes paid media, organic social, and influencer marketing
  • Implement a strong channel and content marketing strategy
  • Leverage in-app shopping tools or a third-party e-commerce platform to facilitate social sales

Our advice to brands is always to be clear in your goals at the outset and embrace a test-and-learn mentality. Social commerce can be as dynamic as social media conversation. You need to embrace it and be ready to learn, pivot, and optimize in real-time. Those who are open to ‘experimentation’ will realize efficiency and success.

Maggie Malek

CEO, MMI Agency

MMI clients, including ALOHA and Plant Apothecary, utilize social commerce to create end-to-end shopping experiences for their customers by pairing Instagram Shops with link-out to their websites. ALOHA also employs in-app shoppable links and social media influencers. In a recent ALOHA influencer campaign featuring two mid- and seven micro-tier influencers, sponsored social content received over half a million impressions and generated an overall engagement rate of 3.75%. Four of the nine influencers posted content on Instagram that achieved an engagement rate above 11%, indicating high interest in the brand and its products.

Where Is the Heat? Industries and Categories Seeing Success

Consumer electronics, fashion, and home items are trending in social shopping, with beauty and personal care products not far behind. Influencer partnerships play a significant part in this trend. If the higher-than-average engagement rates on posts containing #ad are any indicator, all influencer content – whether sponsored or not – works.

For Kate Spade, a limited-edition heart-shaped purse became an overnight bestseller when an influencer gushed about it on TikTok. Her post led to a host of user-generated content (UGC) when others posted videos of themselves buying and wearing the purse. The positive response encouraged Kate Spade to offer a version of the bag year-round. MMI also recently integrated a live shopping experience paired with custom influencer content to drive Dell laptop sales on Amazon.com. Gen Z and millennial influencers engaged shoppers in real-time via the Amazon Live Creator Stream. Total sales from promo code redemptions exceeded six figures from a single event.

Smart Brands Leverage Paid Amplification to Bolster Results

Although success is possible with organic social strategies, it can be challenging to break through without a robust paid media component. We believe a full-funnel paid media strategy is crucial for amplifying the overall impact of social selling, and can often lift campaign performance by 2-4 times on average. For one MMI client, clicks increased by 80% when we began testing sponsored creative from an influencer handle versus the brand handle. In a world ruled by algorithms, media campaigns arm brands with the ability to target audiences that may not organically encounter its content or products. We’ve found that Facebook and Instagram are still winning for lower-funnel conversions, and TikTok and YouTube generally outperform in terms of top-of-funnel awareness efforts.

Future Forward

Social commerce spend will reach $1.2 trillion by 2025: undoubtedly, the social media shopping cart is here to stay. How we help clients cash in on this gold rush with innovative social selling strategies will never be a one-size-fits-all approach. Aligning top-notch creative assets with influencer marketing + earned media outreach is a formula for success in today’s marketplace – and a scalable toolkit for embarking on this new frontier of social commerce.

Our DMs are open if you’re looking for partners to help make sense of it all. See you in the meta mall. 

Learn more about how MMI can help you dominate the digital shelf here.

MMI Agency is a modern brand lab where performance meets possibility. Our mission is to inspire action by combining our end-to-end approach to reaching consumers with our tenacity for data.

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Recognition for 72andSunny, Anomaly, Assembly, Doner, and YML ties Stagwell with holding company giants for recognition in the annual list of best advertising agencies worldwide

NEW YORK, March 15, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Stagwell (NASDAQ: STGW), the challenger network built to transform marketing, today celebrates five agencies which have been honored in the Ad Age 2022 A List & Creativity Awards: 72andSunny, Anomaly, Assembly, Doner, and YML. The 2022 accolades reflect a breakout year of digital, creative, and purpose-driven work from Stagwell’s network on behalf of leading brands Kaiser Permanente, Tinder, Etsy, Nike, Johnson & Johnson, and more.

 

The A List & Creativity Awards are an annual recognition of the best global advertising agencies for “game-changing creativity, bold leadership, and the ability to point the industry in new directions.”

 

2022 award highlights include:

  • STANDOUT AGENCY for 72andSunny after another breakthrough year of transformative client work for the N.F.L., Etsy, and Tinder, and a strong pipeline of global client wins which include United Airlines.
  • #9 A LIST AGENCY OF THE YEAR for disruptive global strategy, innovation and creative shop Anomaly, who took on an expansive 26 new business assignments in the U.S. in 2021, including Jimmy John’s, Netflix, Oculus, Denny’s, Amazon Corporate, and Dunkin’. Ad Age also celebrated the breadth of Anomaly’s ‘creativity’ and investment in original IP, including Obie, a fertility and pregnancy app, and Lets Get FR.EE which aims to drive social change via the largest equity-focused, purpose-driven music festival in the US.
  • PURPOSE-LED AGENCY OF THE YEAR for Assembly, Stagwell’s flagship global omnichannel media agency, whose dedicated Impact unit and global talent community drove purpose as a strategic priority for client and internal initiatives, including Nike’s Move to Zero campaign. Assembly is the first-ever winner in the category, which was introduced in this year’s program.
  • STANDOUT AGENCY for Doner, whose mix of consumer insights and creativity at the “corner of Modern & Main Street” drove an impressive roster of new client wins in Travelocity, Bloomberg, and Cue Health, among others, and helped brands including Jeep, Johnson & Johnson and Coca Cola’s Core Power tap into the power of key cultural moments to advance their market position. 
  • CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE AGENCY OF THE YEAR for YML, Stagwell’s digital product and design agency, which has helped brands such as Kaiser Permanente, Polestar, YETI, and Thrive Market gain an edge by transforming their experiences to meet consumers’ new digital needs. YML is the first agency to win the accolade, which was introduced in this year’s program.

“Our A-List showing this year validates what Stagwell is all about: harmonizing the art and science of marketing to drive big transformations, unmistakable cultural impact, and powerful client results,” said Mark Penn, Chairman and CEO, Stagwell. “Again, the outsized impact of our network shows in the breadth of work recognized across the A-List. Despite currently accounting for a small chunk of the global ad market, we’re tied with legacy giants several times our size for recognition as the one of most creative networks out there.”

About Stagwell Inc

Stagwell is the challenger network built to transform marketing. We deliver scaled creative performance for the world’s most ambitious brands, connecting culture-moving creativity with leading-edge technology to harmonize the art and science of marketing.  Led by entrepreneurs, our 10,000+ specialists in 34+ countries are unified under a single purpose: to drive effectiveness and improve business results for their clients. Join us at www.stagwellglobal.com.

Contact:
Beth Sidhu
202-423-4414
beth.sidhu@stagwellglobal.com

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NEW YORK, Feb. 24, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Stagwell (NASDAQ:STGW), the challenger network built to transform marketing, today announced a meaningful expansion of its global footprint across MENA with three affiliate partnerships: public relations and marketing network Orient Planet Group, data-driven strategy consulting firm, Phronesis Group, and events and talent management firm FLC. Together, the affiliates scale Stagwell’s leading digital transformation, creative production and modern media services while expanding the roster of local and international talent available to Stagwell and its growing global client roster.

Each will collaborate with Stagwell’s flagship global media agency Assembly in MENA and existing regional affiliate partner Brand New Galaxy. Additionally, the new affiliates will benefit from best-in-class product solutions in the Stagwell Marketing Cloud, a suite of business transformation solutions for in-house marketing teams.

“Now in its second year, the Global Affiliate Program continues to allow Stagwell to chart agile global expansion and collaborate with regional experts to drive international value for brands. said Mark Penn, Chairman and CEO, Stagwell. “Our partners at Orient Planet Group are already deeply entrenched with teams across the network, and I’m excited to build on our new partnerships with Phronesis and FLC as we continue our mission to transform marketing.”

The new affiliates are leaders in creative production, digital media, and data-driven strategy consulting:

  • Phronesis Group is a global strategy consulting firm which helps clients achieve global growth through more effective and efficient marketing communications executions. Focused on measurable client outcomes, Phronesis is headquartered in Chicago with offices in the UK, EU, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, UAE and Indo-Pacific Region, where they serve a distinct portfolio of clients. These clients include BOD’s and CXO’s of Fortune 100 global corporations, sovereign wealth funds, private equity firms and ministries from emerging market countries.
  • Orient Planet Group is one of the most rapidly growing public relations, marketing and communications consultancies in North Africa and the Middle East. Orient Planet’s expertise in creative communications coupled with contemporary thinking provides unparalleled marketing communications services to its clients across numerous sectors. Orient Planet Group recently extended its strategic partnership with Stagwell global communications firm Allison+Partners, scaling their combined expertise in the region.
  • FLC is a leading Dubai-based production & model management agency that services clients across two key verticals – Print & Video Productions and Fashion Shows – while supporting casting via a range of local and international models, casts, photographers, and stylists.

“Phronesis is excited to be joining Stagwell through their affiliate partnership program. After an exhaustive review, we found that Stagwell possessed the extraordinary talent, services and will to challenge the traditional holding company status quo with an execution ecosystem that our clients expect,” said Jeffrey Hupe, Chief Executive Officer of Phronesis Group.  “Unlike other strategy consulting firms, we partner with our clients through the entire process from strategy to execution to help them realize growth outcomes that deliver business value.  Our highly disciplined delivery and services execution model is now aligned with a global, premier marketing services holding company that will finally meet client demands by truly integrating their arsenal of services.

“Orient Planet Group is well-entrenched in the Middle East and North Africa with in-depth understanding of the local landscape,” said Nidal Abou Zaki, Founder and Managing Director of Orient Planet Group. “As the regional affiliate of Stagwell and Allison+Partners and having maintained a strong network and long-standing partnerships over the years, we are encouraged to see more organizations engaging and connecting with their markets across a diverse population.”

To date, Stagwell’s Global Affiliate Program has added over 50 partners representing countries across Latin America, MENA, Asia-Pacific, and Eastern Europe. In addition to expansion via this program, Stagwell in January 2022 launched an international office in Singapore to accelerate its growth in APAC.

About Stagwell Inc.

Stagwell is the challenger network built to transform marketing. We deliver scaled creative performance for the world’s most ambitious brands, connecting culture-moving creativity with leading-edge technology to harmonize the art and science of marketing.  Led by entrepreneurs, our 10,000+ specialists in 20+ countries are unified under a single purpose: to drive effectiveness and improve business results for their clients. Join us at www.stagwellglobal.com.

Contact: Beth Sidhu
beth.sidhu@stagwellglobal.com 
202-423-4414

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New York, New York – February 23, 2022 – Stagwell, the challenger network built to transform marketing, today announced an expansion of its global marketing services into Africa via new affiliate partnerships with three firms: Incubeta in South Africa, SBI Media in Nigeria, and Orient Planet Group, whose footprint spans North Africa, including Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, and Morocco. As part of Stagwell’s Global Affiliate Program, these firms will collaborate with agencies across Stagwell’s network to scale omnichannel media, content, and production capabilities for leading global brands. 

“With the cementing of our partnerships with Incubeta, SBI, and Orient Planet Group, our Global Affiliate Program now empowers Stagwell to scale our modern marketing expertise across six continents, driving further value for our clients,” said Mark Penn, Chairman and CEO, Stagwell. “By 2025, two-thirds of African households are expected to have increased consumer power in the global economy. As a worldwide leader in culture-moving creativity and modern marketing services, Stagwell’s growth in the region will guide global brands to engage authentically with consumers across Africa.”

The new cohort of affiliates represent best-in-class digital media and global communications services:

  • Incubeta is a digital-transformation focused network of experts in marketing and technology committed to driving business-wide growth for modern brands. Incubeta has steered digital growth for clients across multiple sectors, including retail, travel, finance FMCG, iGaming, entertainment, automotive, app development and more.
  • Based in Lagos, Nigeria, SBI Media is an innovative full-service agency with a deep focus in media planning and buying. SBI Media’s capabilities span branding, strategy and planning, PR strategy formulation, media management and digital marketing. With SBI Media’s expertise, Stagwell will tap into a rapidly growing digital and traditional media environment with a hyper-localized approach.
  • Orient Planet Group is one of the most rapidly growing public relations, marketing and communications consultancies in North Africa and the Middle East. Orient Planet’s expertise in creative communications coupled with contemporary thinking provides unparalleled marketing communications services to its clients across numerous sectors.

“Incubeta is a market-leading specialist that uses the power of digital to unlock and amplify business growth potential. We do this through bespoke, localized digital solutions, powered by global expertise,” said Roan Mackintosh. “Stagwell’s focus on digital-first marketing solutions is a strong complement to our expertise, and we’re excited to collaborate with its network to deliver and enable our client’s growth.”

“We are pleased to join Stagwell, the world’s challenger marketing network. Stagwell’s vision to transform marketing communications is not only in-sync with our DNA, it is at the core of what we stand for at SBI Media Group,” said Rotimi Bankole, Founder and CEO, SBI Media Group. “In 2013, we floated SBI Media Group, and the Nigerian media and marketing landscape has felt our impact. Our story, culture and impact have transformed the way agencies exist in the larger economy.”

 “Africa’s growing economies and the boom in digital technologies provide strong potentials for innovative communications to thrive in the region,” added Nidal Abou Zaki, Founder and Managing Director of Orient Planet Group. “Orient Planet Group is well-entrenched in the Middle East and North Africa with in-depth understanding of the local landscape. As the regional affiliate of Stagwell and Allison + Partners and having maintained a strong network and long-standing partnerships over the years, we are confident to see more organizations engaging and connecting with their markets across a diverse population.”

Stagwell’s focus will initially be in the North and South African markets, with continued engagement and collaboration in Central Africa, supporting the localized needs of consumers.

Stagwell’s Global Affiliate Program is an agile solution to global expansion, enabling Stagwell to partner with regional experts to drive added value for clients and scale marketing capabilities into new regions. To date, Stagwell has added over50 affiliates to its roster, representing countries across Latin America, MENA, Asia-Pacific, and Eastern Europe.

About Stagwell, Inc.:
Stagwell is the challenger network built to transform marketing. We deliver scaled creative performance for the world’s most ambitious brands, connecting culture-moving creativity with leading-edge technology to harmonize the art and science of marketing.  Led by entrepreneurs, our 10,000+ specialists in 20+ countries are unified under a single purpose: to drive effectiveness and improve business results for their clients. Join us at www.stagwellglobal.com.

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Major M&A moves are underway in the gaming space. Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision and Sony’s of Bungie will have repercussions for how brands and advertisers approach the gaming industry, the most lucrative entertainment sector, set to grow from $173B in 2021 to $223B in 2022.  

 What are the implications of this consolidation for modern brands with stakes in gaming? Is more consolidation underway – and if so, what will the next generation of gaming companies look like? Looking ahead: should the consolidation wave change brands’ approaches to the bourgeoning metaverse? Collin Leirvik, SVP, Head of Gaming at Stagwell’s National Research Group, unpacks his point of view on the brand implications of the recent moves.

The TL;DR?

Streaming wars? More like gaming wars. Content is king and the platforms with the most enticing portfolio will win the market.

DTC distribution is not just for DTC brands. Cloud gaming is diversifying the strategies brands can use to get the right content in consumers’ hands.  

Metaverse on the mind? The capital “M’ is driving recent consolidation but the jury’s out on how deeply gaming brands will dig into Web 3. 

By Collin Leirvik, SVP, Head of Gaming, National Research Group 

These recent acquisitions signal a similar trend to what we’ve seen across other forms of media: technology (i.e., cloud) provides new methods for brands to diversify their direct-to-consumer distribution strategies. Tethering content to specific hardware devices may still make the best business sense in gaming (for the moment) but is increasingly less essential from a technological standpoint.

In practice, this changes the equation for gaming brands – the goal goes from selling copies of a game or units of hardware to competing to develop complete, desirable, consumer-centric ecosystems that include both content and innovation in direct-to-consumer distribution.

As we’ve seen in the streaming wars most recently, content is king. The platforms that offer the most enticing overall portfolio of content are winning market share. The same is true in gaming: the totality of experiences a gaming brand provides have and likely will continue to form the basis of their brand equity with consumers.

It’s hard to justify limiting the audience of a game that costs hundreds of millions of dollars to develop by tying it to a single platform/install base. It is yet to be seen how these recent acquisitions will be leveraged in terms of content exclusivity, but these trends in the transformation of distribution are clearly a major factor justifying recent acquisitions.

Collin Leirvik

SVP, Head of Gaming, National Research Group

Due to these dynamics, acquiring studios has always been a growth strategy for gaming brands. However, factors in content development somewhat unique to the industry – especially long development lead times, expense, and risk – have held consolidation in check. It’s hard to justify limiting the audience of a game that costs hundreds of millions of dollars to develop by tying it to a single platform/install base. It is yet to be seen how these recent acquisitions will be leveraged in terms of content exclusivity, but these trends in the transformation of distribution are clearly a major factor justifying recent acquisitions.

The metaverse – and its role in allowing gaming brands to drive greater depth of experience and touchpoints with players with their tentpole franchises – is another driver behind recent content consolidation. The gaming industry has long been a leading force in creating dynamic, online social platforms – the core of what many associate with the recently popularized “metaverse” term. The extent to which brands will also be bullish on blockchain, NFTs, and other emergent innovations woven into to the metaverse and Web 3.0 is yet to be seen. But there are signs that many brands are ready to start experimenting.

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What are the forces at work reshaping the way brands and marketers connect with today’s consumers? The next decade of marketing innovation will be driven by the emerging technology piquing consumer, brand, and investor interest today: new mediums of storytelling unlocked by mixed-reality, new methods of communicating powered by social commerce, and problems to pre-empt driven by convergent social forces and the enduring digital acceleration.

Stagwell is all about transforming marketing – and we’re spending the year working with our agencies to explore how the most innovating and compelling opportunities in new frontiers will transform the way brands and marketers do business.

We’ll…

explore the practical, helping you understand things like if and how your brand should integrate virtual influencers in digital marketing efforts.

probe the conceptual…with questions like what responsibility brands have as they begin to imagine marketing and brand identity in space?

offer strategies for making sense of the monumental…with perspectives on how and when brands should get involved in the bourgeoning metaverse.

Meet Marketing Frontiers – Stagwell’s new content series that will unpack these blue-sky ideas before today’s brands, simplifying the future and helping leaders understand how these concepts will change the way we do business today and tomorrow.

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Agencies Combine Under MMI Nameplate, Delivering Enhanced Media and Integrated Communications Power

New York, NY, January 19, 2022 (NASDAQ: STGW) – Stagwell Inc., the challenger network built to transform marketing, today announced the combination of Stagwell Media Network agencies MMI and Media Kitchen under the MMI brand. The announcement comes on the heels of MMI’s continued year-over-year growth for the past five years, expansion of its partnership with a leading CPG manufacturer, and further diversification of its Amazon work.

The move creates a dynamic new consultancy predicated on brand performance and innovation. The combined entity boasts 175 employees who offer deep expertise in media strategy, planning and buying, performance marketing, influencer, public relations, and creative content.                                       

“By bringing these two agencies together, we are offering a strong alternative solution to drive measurable growth for modern brands,” Stagwell Chairman and CEO Mark Penn said. “Our challenger positioning is rooted in creating new kinds of collaborations and MMI plus Media Kitchen creates a media speedboat capable of innovating quickly for clients.”

“Media Kitchen’s ability to design and implement transformational media strategies perfectly complements MMI’s nimble brand creativity and innovation services. Combined, they offer a future-facing answer for modern marketeers looking for joined-up insight, ideas, and connections that drive growth,” said James Townsend, Global CEO of the Stagwell Media Network. “This is about creating opportunities for our people to learn, collaborate and express themselves, and help offer clients more capabilities in one dynamic agency.”

The enhanced agency includes 130 employees from MMI and 45 from Media Kitchen. Collective clients and experience include Amazon, Gillette, Loews Hotels, Olay, Pantene, and Waste Management. Core office locations for the combined entity will remain unchanged, with strongholds in New York and Houston and presences in Cincinnati, Washington DC, Minneapolis, Toronto, and Montreal.    

MMI CEO Maggie Malek, a Houston Business Journal 40 Under 40 honoree who began her career in the Army Reserves, will head the strengthened organization. A key architect of the company’s growth, Malek has been with the agency for 11 years, rising from an Account Executive to the role of CEO two years ago, just before the pandemic began. Prior to her promotion, she created the agency’s social and influencer practices and led the strategy team. As CEO, her people-first values guide the agency’s team design, employee retention strategies, and successful partnerships across the Stagwell network in service of both her team and clients.  

“We’re ecstatic about the talent and energy Media Kitchen brings to the table,” said Malek. “Our complementary capabilities offer clients stronger teams, greater performance, and new opportunities.”

About Stagwell Inc.

Stagwell is the challenger network built to transform marketing. We deliver scaled creative performance for the world’s most ambitious brands, connecting culture-moving creativity with leading-edge technology to harmonize the art and science of marketing.  Led by entrepreneurs, our 10,000+ specialists in 20+ countries are unified under a single purpose: to drive effectiveness and improve business results for their clients. Join us at www.stagwellglobal.com.

About Stagwell Media Network

Stagwell’s Media Network is a group of leading multichannel agencies home to more than 3,000 experts with an expansive global footprint across 40+ offices in 20 countries, managing close to $5 billion in media. Agencies include AssemblyMMI Agency, Goodstuff and Grason, creative consultancy GALE, B2B specialist Multiview, multi-lingual content agency Locaria, and travel and media experts Ink.

The network offers marketers a more dynamic partner for global B2B and B2C solutions spanning data, technology, media, and creativity aimed at accelerating business growth for brands worldwide.

About MMI

MMI Agency is a modern brand lab where performance meets possibility. Our mission is to inspire action in an intelligent world by partnering with engaged clients; deploying human-first strategy; developing compelling creative; and conceptualizing iterative media plans and insightful communications programs.  MMI is made up of 175 employees and is headquartered in Houston, Texas. Find out more at www.mmiagency.com.

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As we reflect on the marketing implications of CES 2022, Web 3.0 is by far the most impactful development that showed up across industries, technologies and capabilities. While in some ways it may be another victim of CES’ shiny veneer versus reality, there are components that are impossible to ignore – namely, the influx of and investment in the metaverse and NFTs.

Stagwell is one of the first movers when it comes to helping brands activate in this nacent space, having supported the launch of MilkPeP’s activation in the Roblox metaverse. On Thursday, January 6, Stagwell convened a lunch and learn, moderated by Axios’ Sara Fischer, to discuss the tactical and theoretical challenges and opportinities presented by Web 3.0. Here are our top 5 takeaways from the conversation: 

  1. COVID WAS A CATALYST, bringing the metaverse into the real world 
  2. BRANDS WILL PLAY A KEY ROLE IN BUILDING TRUST with these technologies and platforms
  3. NOT EVERY BRAND SHOULD BE IN THE METAVERSE, and not every metaverse is created equal
  4. METAVERSE + IRL should be a seamless experience
  5. NFTS are here to stay

Web 3.0 is a nuanced topic, and one that is the opposite of a one-size-fits-all approach. Depending on brand, product, buyer demographic and existing marketing activity, the metaverse and NFTs can fill a very important role (which may be… no role at all. More on that later). Learn more about what it means for brands, creative and the future of the online/offline world.

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1. COVID was a catalyst, bringing the metaverse into the real world

The metaverse would have come eventually (in fact it’s already been here…hello, gaming community!), but the pandemic undoubtedly accelerated the timeline. With the majority of the world going digital, tech companies were pushed to develop products, tools and software that allowed us to do so much more from a virtual setting, exposing a more urgent demand for expanded virtual experiences and capabilities from brands.

the role of brands, as it has always been, is to create culture and pioneer what could be coming and help people imagine the art of the possible. They create links for consumers and act as educators for navigating the new space.

Brendan Shields-Shimizu

President & COO, Observatory

2. Brands will play a key role in building trust with these technologies and platforms 

There’s a significant opportunity to live your brand values in the metaverse. If done well, brands will ensure their presence is connected and consistent with the way they show up in the real world, ultimately leading to greater consumer loyalty and retention.

 3. Not every brand should be in the metaverse, and not every metaverse is created equal

Direct-to-consumer relationships are more important than ever as we move into a cookieless world, so there are real business reasons that support having a presence in the metaverse. But it comes down to understanding your brand’s role, identifying your objectives, and how entering this space would aid in achieving those, and finally, implementing a process for facilitating, tracking, and measuring success.

4. Metaverse + IRL should be a seamless experience

Let’s face it, some consumers are nearing a point of digital saturation. So, it’s important to note that the metaverse is not meant to be all-consuming. People value in-person experiences – there will be points in time that make sense to utilize the metaverse in addition to other consumer touchpoints, while there will be moments where we can come together in the real world and physically be a part of something. Blending the two seamlessly: now that’s a real win.

 5. NFTs are here to stay

As these advancements become more democratized in their accessibility, brands will start to use them more, whether it’s for loyalty, or to reignite an old concept or product. Industries will adopt NFTs as a creative means to build community and connect with people who support and protect their brands.

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Campaign Asia

by Robert Sawatzky

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Stagwell, the US-based marketing holding company, is making good on its recent pledge to grow in Asia-Pacific through its global affiliate programme with a new partnership deal reached with Southeast Asian online news publisher Coconuts Media. Under the affiliate partnership deal, there is no immediate monetary investment. Rather, Stagwell and Coconuts will collaborate on scaled media placement and distribution across the Coconuts network in Southeast Asia. In addition, Stagwell’s agencies, such as 72andSunny, Forsman & Bodenfors, Allison and Partners, Assembly, Ink and others can team up with Coconuts’ in-house marketing agency, Grove, on joint pitches, marketing campaigns and branded content. Revenue sharing will be split on a project by project basis depending on what is involved.

Coconuts Media, founded by journalist entrepreneur Byron Perry in 2011, has grown steadily over the past decade, publishing online news and lifestyle content to millions across eight local markets (Bali, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Singapore, Yangon) including documentaries and videos for major streaming services and networks like Discovery and Netflix. 

“We’re eager to collaborate with Byron and the Coconuts Media team to offer our leading mix of digital and media services to strengthen the APAC offering for our clients,” says Stagwell’s chairman and CEO, Mark Penn. “With the opening of Stagwell’s first-ever APAC headquarters in Singapore and our agencies’ continued success in the region, we’re investing heavily in Asia-Pacific as part of our global expansion this year.”

In November, Stagwell announced its SVP of executive talent, Randy Duax, would lead the APAC office as managing director starting this month to drive “rapid growth” and expansion. The Coconuts partnership is among the first of these regional efforts from its new regional base. Duax tells Campaign Asia-Pacific the two sides were mutually attracted, with Coconuts already having been on his radar for many years before connecting through the affiliate programme. 

“We’re super excited about Coconuts,” Duax says. “For us, they’re in a lot of different markets, they’re deep into social commerce, they’ve got first-party data. It fills in a lot of gaps that some clients have been looking for in this part of the world. And they’re very collaborative, which is something we look for.” 

While it’s less common for news-media publishers to join hands with a single advertising holding company, the deal should allow Coconuts to tap into Stagwell’s media services and research resources and give the company access to a global client base it may not have had before. The latter could be particularly important as Grove, Coconuts’ in-house creative studio for brands, becomes an increasingly important focus for the company.  

“With our publishing roots as a foundation, we are growing our creative and media-buying services and the business of serving clients as a modern creative agency,” says Perry, the company’s CEO. “Partnering with a challenger marketing network like Stagwell makes total sense as we work with larger, more complex global clients.”

Affiliate versus acquisition

What is significant about these affiliate deals is that they’re designed to be the first step on the road to a mutual acquisition agreement. This is something Stagwell made very clear when first announcing its affiliate programme a year ago. 

“It’s a way to soft introduce [Coconuts] to the holding company,” Duax explains. “We’re not taking ownership, we’re not saying you have to move into this office location. For an entrepreneur, if you want to retain control, that’s the appeal.”

Since it launched a year ago, Stagwell has signed up nearly 50 affiliates, including others in APAC such as Metric Design Studio in China, Enormous in India, This is Flow in Australia, and Hong Kong-based Beyond Media Global. 

Making the distinction of how these affiliate deals represent a very different approach from “top-down, holding-company acqusitions”, Duax explains the programme is designed for entrepreneurs looking for global opportunities to bring their own local opportunities and resources in return without the pressure of being forced to work for global clients and projects that they don’t want to.

Similar to the Worldwide Partners network of purely independent agencies, Stagwell’s affiliate collective is a network of successful entrepreneurs and businesses that want bigger opportunities. “You’ve got creative agencies in some of these markets who maybe have never had a media or research component,” Daux explains. “Maybe they have a client that just needs to reach into one specific market and they don’t have that connection. But they don’t [yet] want to sell to a bigger holding company. So for us it’s an opportunity to see if the partnership works out and if they can execute some of the bigger pieces of business we could bring.“  

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