Aarti Shah 11 Jul 2013 // 4:00PM GMT
BOSTON — Racepoint Group has merged its sister agency Digital Influence Group (DIG) under its branding to create a $34 million firm that combines traditional influencer relations with analytics and paid influence.
Founder of both firms, Larry Weber will lead the integrated agency, in which DIG will operate as a Racepoint subsidiary. Peter Prodromou, previously Racepoint’s chief global accounts officer, will report into Weber as president overseeing the agency’s offices in the US, Asia and Europe. DIG CEO Glenn Engler has left the firm as part of the integration.
The merger will result in about four departures among technology and creative leadership with the merged entity housing about 180 people, Prodromou said. Prior to the merger Racepoint took in about $20 million in revenues with about 140 employees, while DIG was in the $14 million range with 40 employees.
“We had two powerful engines -- one that did PR and the other that did paid media and marketing technology services,” he told Holmes Report. “This integration enables us to roll out a broader base of services.”
Prodromou expects the merger will pit Racepoint against digital heavyweights like Digitas and mid-tier creative agencies, in additional to full-scale PR shops. The combined agency’s core offerings will be in audience analytics, brand content, technology tools and creative and its practice areas will continue to be in tech, healthcare and life sciences, digital consumer and public affairs.
“Traditional PR agencies are trying to be more creative while also figuring out how to get paid for that,” he said. “Digital is the bridge to that.”
Both firms are part of the W2 Group, a holding company that Weber founded in 2004 that -- at one point -- housed five marketing and media firms. Among these, branding firm 2 Martinis folded into Racepoint and branding communications shop Partners + Simon departed the holding venture several years ago. Two firms, Racepoint and A2A Media - a firm that works on large-scale outdoor LED displays -- remain within the W2 Group.
“W2 still exists as a holding company and both companies live within it, but we are de-emphasizing its brand,” Prodromou said. “Instead, you'll see the Racepoint and A2A brands stand more on their own.”
The next phase of the merger will ensure that DIG -- with a single office in Boston prior to the merger -- is integrated into Racepoint’s offices. About 50 percent of Racepoint’s employees are based in Boston, with the remaining spread across offices in San Francisco, Washington DC, London, Beijing and Shanghai.
Racepoint will retain its regional profit & loss model intended to minimize hurdles for offices to work together, Prodromou noted.
Racepoint’s client roster includes Sony, Arm and Kaiser Permanente, while DIG’s include Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare and the Conversation Project. Already, the two firms have several joint accounts.
Racepoint’s senior leadership team now consists of managing directors Cathy Pittham in Europe, Andrew Laxton in Asia, Dan Carter in the US, and now Kevin Green as SVP global digital strategy & marketing and Brian Babineau to SVP of global digital services.