These Two Local Creative Agencies Are Now One
Fri, 06/05/2015 - 15:53 RCN Newsdesk
Intrinzic is a branding company that is headquartered inside Newport on the Levee. Copperfox was a similar company with strengths in public relations that was based out of Cincinnati. The two companies complimented each other nicely on previous jobs, so six months ago they decided to merge.
Intrinzic CEO Wendy Vonderhaar and Copperfox CEO Annie McManis made it official when they both agreed to combine companies.
"Wendy and I worked together for a few years before we decided to merge, so Copperfox was really more created in public relations, social media and messaging and content, while Intrinzic has been much more on the branding side," said McManis.
The new company, now known only as Intrinzic, celebrated their six-month anniversary of the merger with a party at their Levee location on Thursday evening.
"This was a classic case of one plus one equals three," Vonderhaar said. "This was not about scale or economy. This was about bringing two things together to make it new and better. That's what is so great about today. It's that we feel like we're there and we're ready to start taking that out externally."
Many people may associate branding with visual components like logos, but the reason the Intrinzic wanted to merge with Copperfox was so they could build a much more meaningful story for their clients' brands.
"I think when we looked at combining these companies, what we were doing was trying to create a new company based on where we saw the communication landscape going," said Intrinzic President Dave Townsend. "We want to build what we call 'brand culture' by creating long-term assets that help bring equity to a company. We believe the focus of that is inside the company out, so that's where the culture piece becomes super important to that. That's one of the lenses that we feel companies have to be doing in one way, shape or form to be present in the marketing space today."
Through a combination of social media, public relations and content creation - which was more on the side of Copperfox before the merger - Intrinzic works to build what they call a branding conversation.
"It is that two-way street where consumers are participating in that, customers are participating in that, third parties are participating in that in one way or another. We think that is the driver of marketing today because consumers expect it," Townsend said. "That's really why we brought the companies together. We each had a couple of those pieces, a little bit of overlap, but we also had different parts of that. So we couldn't tell that full story until we put the companies together."
Wendy Vonderhaar is a lifelong Kentucky resident, originally from Ft. Mitchell, and now the CEO of Intrinzic. Her company was solid, but the public relations capability of Copperfox combined with their content development strengths has made the new Intrinzic even stronger. Copperfox also brought with it some in-house video production capabilities that Intrinzic didn't previously have.
"There was very little overlap with people or clients which is even more helpful, especially in the Midwest or even in this market so that was a real positive," Townsend said.
Because of the familiarity the two companies had before the merger, the transition of coming together as one was a smooth one. That isn't to say, though, that there were some adjustments made.
"It's like getting married. Once everyone moves in together, there's all kinds of things. We've had little technology glitches and other things, and just people learning to live together. That's normal, of course, of the process," said Townsend.
"I think that the crux of the strategy is really what makes it kind of easy to do all of the marketing stuff that you see. If you spend the time on the positioning and messaging for kind of what you stand for, then developing a website, developing a brochure is much easier because you have your foundation down so that's where we typically start because of that," Vonderhaar said.
Now that the two staffs have combined and are working well together, Intrinzic employs individuals with a wide array of skill sets that equip the company with attributes that lets them succeed in a number of different ways.
"Almost everybody has some strategic component, some ability to help create drive and frame direction regardless of their specialty area. Then we have specialists in public relations and social media, in the verbal side of content, in the visual side of content. Then we have the people that run the business side of things, so you do get a wide swath of expertise and different points of view coming to bear and different personalities," Townsend said.
Since the merger, Vonderhaar said that clients are now beginning to follow them instead of it being the other way around. In the last six months, Intrinzic has taken on six to eight new clients with their new team.
During the merger, people from both sides of the agreement were in the unusual position of rebranding themselves. In a sense, becoming their own client led to stretches of discomfort for the skilled individuals who are used to putting their talents together for other businesses.
"It's interesting to sit on the other side of the table, but we really wanted to do that. We have a team made up of folks from both of the organizations that went through the process, and our process is very collaborative, too so it's a workshop. Sometimes it was uncomfortable being on the other side of the table, but we really believe in the process and super thrilled with the outcome," Townsend said. "I hope that we actually do the process better for our clients now than we've done for ourselves because we can kind of understand where they're sitting and where those points of discomfort are. It is a process that draws out the good with the bad in every organization, so you have to kind of look at it face on and sometimes you don't do that day-to-day working through things. It was good, but it was uncomfortable at times."
Now that the merger has settled down some in terms of the transition, Intrinzic is prepared to do even better brand work for their clients with Copperfox is in the fold.
"The name is Intrinzic, but it feels like a new Intrinzic, though, because it is so different with what we're doing and what our abilities are and certainly the people, so we definitely want that consistency but to us it feels like a new company," Vonderhaar said.
Story and photo by Bryan Burke, associate editor