Rokkan Expands Footprint in U.S.

Eyes L.A., Chicago after growth spurt

Digital agency Rokkan is bolstering its creative leadership, staffing up and entering two new markets, in the wake of a strong new business run and its acquisition by Publicis Groupe in December.

Rokkan will open small outposts in Chicago and Los Angeles to support existing accounts and pursue new lines of business, starting with a half dozen staffers at each location. The agency, which currently employs around 80 people at its New York headquarters, plans to grow its total headcount to between 125 and 150 by the end of the 2013. That's based on assignments in hand and the those the shop expects to secure, said Harley Block, executive director of brand development and marketing.

"We're at a point now where we need to be able to scale to serve the types of relationships we're ready for," Block said. "But maintaining the culture and our philosophy is most important… that growth needs to focus on being good versus big."

The total staff and revenue grew 96 percent and 51 percent, respectively, between 2011 and 2012, with the addition of 12 new assignments from the likes of American Express, Caesar's and Sharp. The agency's biggest accounts include JetBlue, whose site Rokkan redesigned last year, Chipotle and Stolichnaya.

Rokkan's ended last year with about $15 million in revenue, according to Adweek estimates.

The new Chicago location will help facilitate the agency's work for St. Louis-based client Purina, which was among Rokkan's 2012 new business wins. The L.A. office will create proximity to the area's video game industry—a category that historically has been in the agency's wheelhouse.

Rokkan's expansion coincides with its desire to push further from its digital roots into traditional mediums. Last year, the agency conceived its first integrated campaign, for Bethesda's hit title Dishonored, working with the game publisher’s video team to produce TV ads.

To further that end, Rokkan has re-hired Brian Carley as executive creative director. Carley will manage creative across accounts and report to chief creative officer Charles Bae.

For the past two years, Carley was an ecd at Saatchi & Saatchi in New York, where he worked on brands like Trident and Lenovo.

“His experience and ability to lead across mediums while also being a natural cultural fit for the agency made the decision to reconnect with him an easy one,” Bae said.