Allen & Gerritsen is acquiring Carter Edwards & Co. (CE) to absorb the firm’s end-to-end CX capabilities into the advertising and public relations agency.
Founded in 2016, CE specializes in customer experiences (CX) to connect the entire journey between the company and consumer. For instance, CX ensures shoppers can buy online and pick up in store with one seamless transaction. Another popular term, UX, refers to the digital side, such as showing retailers their inventory is in stock.
“Agencies for the most part are really focused on the communications side of the brand and we want to make sure we can influence every touch point from end-to-end,” Andrew Graff, CEO, A&G told Adweek. “That makes us think about how we can operationalize. What we came to be important to us was to look at how do we deepen the bench on the rise of the CX side of the brand business?”
Under the deal, CE’s entire seven-person team, including leaders Ryan Mulloy, Allie Lysak and Steffan Antonas will join A&G. The CE name will be retired and the CE team will relocate into A&G’s Boston headquarters.
“Instead of hiring individual talent to build out this [specialty] we wanted the entire practice with clients and an entire team already working strongly together,” Graff said. “We looked at this acquisition-hire as a really contemporary way for us to evolve our own company. I think you will see more and more of this happening [within the industry].”
Another asset to this acquisition is A&G adding more clients to its roster with CE bringing along Toast, Biogen, Keurig Dr Pepper and Dunkin’.
The two leaders understand agencies that are best equipped to bridge the gaps between physical and digital touch points will thrive post-pandemic. Their companies grew close after A&G invited CE to join the agency’s collaborator portfolio, partnering on work for Blue Cross Blue Shield Massachusetts.
“At first, our partnership with A&G was based on a shared dedication to putting people first and using complementary skill sets to create meaningful customer experiences,” said Mulloy, A&G’s new Head of experience design. “Through a history of working together, we realized that we can be something better when we’re working as a unified team, dedicated to helping brands be their best selves from communications to a lifetime of customer loyalty.”
A&G has plans to become the “most comprehensive independent agency in the nation,” Graff said. One aspect that sealed the deal was their similar internal cultures emphasizing “entrepreneurial spirit” and desires to “roll up their sleeves to get it done.” Before formalizing the agreement, A&G tested the combined offering to see if the client demand was there. “I can tell you 100% that we can say yes to that.”