Weiss Stagliano Partners has teamed with Irish consultancy O'Malley and Hogan to create Weiss Stagliano O'Malley Hogan International Brand Architecture, a holding company that aims to provide everything from brand consulting to advertising, Web-site design and guerrilla marketing.
Within three years, the company hopes to operate in five global markets, including Japan, Italy and Germany. It currently has offices in New York and Dublin, Ireland, and a client list that includes Guinness, Maserati, Bain de Soleil and the London Sunday Times.
Following the approach of O'Malley and Hogan, the group will operate on the premise that enduring client relationships are born of great business advice, whether or not they require advertising. As Adam Stagliano, one of the directors, put it, "I do not want to be a brand consultancy. I also don't want to be an ad agency. I want to be something else."
Added Damian O'Malley, another director: "Our role models are McKinsey and Andersen Consulting. Look what they have done. That's what we're looking to emulate."
Other details--such as how equity will be divided--are still being finalized. Weiss Stagliano, here, is primarily owned by its principals, Stagliano, the president, and Marty Weiss, the creative director, and eight other executives have minority stakes.
Stagliano and O'Malley, both 44, outlined their plans at last week's account-planning conference in Miami. The other directors are Weiss, 46, and Declan Hogan, 46.
Weiss Stagliano will continue to operate under that name, while O'Malley and Hogan will adopt the holding-company moniker. Expansion will come via both "building and buying," O'Malley said.
O'Malley, a former chief strategic officer at DDB, co-founded his shop in 1997, after 20 years as a planner at traditional agencies. Shop revenue is in the "$2 million range," with 4-5 projects at any given time, O'Malley said. Weiss Stagliano claims billings of about $120 million.
So does O'Malley's return to the traditional ad world mean running a "state-of-the-art consultancy" is not all it's cracked up to be? Not at all, said O'Malley, citing the financial success of his business model and adding, "We're trying to export that back to the states."
The venture formalizes a prior relationship; the shops jointly service clients such as Derby Cycle.