The digital marketing industry is currently undergoing a major transformation: while the big holding groups like WPP, Publicis and Dentsu are suffering from growing pressures on their traditional advertising-dominated business model, the big strategy firms like McKinsey, The Boston Consulting Group, Accenture and Deloitte are increasingly acquiring creative capabilities. According to research firm R3 Worldwide, last year alone, strategy firms spent more than four billion US dollars acquiring creative and digital agencies.
Amidst these structural changes, ten award-winning owner-led consultancies and agencies are joining forces. Combining their companies in a share swap to form a new agile powerhouse for strategy, eCommerce and digital experiences, branded "Together Group”. Together Group with its headquarters in London will build upon its members’ impressive track record with international premium, luxury and lifestyle brands. The group’s initial focus will be on purpose-driven & digital transformation for fashion, beauty, hospitality, other premium consumer and lifestyle brands, and retailers. From there it will expand into other verticals, including financial services, energy, utilities and automotive.
The joint venture includes among others the New York based eCommerce creative agency Sweden Unlimited (www.swedenunlimited.com) which serves clients such as Estee Lauder, Kate Spade and W Hotels as well as Folk Commerce and London-based agencies Skywire and the ecommerce consultancy 5XThinking, all specialists in luxury-lifestyle and fashion brands.
The technical capability will be provided by the group’s inhouse platform specialists serving all relevant ecommerce platforms and content-management solutions, including the award-winning UK Magento Enterprise Partner Two Jay, as well as dedicated partners for Shopify Plus, Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Adobe Experience Manager, Sitecore and others, to be announced.
The group has appointed Dr. Christian Kurtzke as its global CEO, former CEO of Porsche Design Group, Principal at the Boston Consulting Group Strategy firm and founding President of the German Luxury Association Meisterkreis - the German equivalent of UK's Walpole. “We are building an agile Champions League team of owner-led agencies - combining purpose-driven strategic transformation with brand-led creative power, highly experienced technological execution and effective activation of people. But the most important differentiation is our collaborative culture,” said Kurtzke, who also served as the VP of Culture Change & Global Business Transformation for SIEMENS.
MatCap as the driving engine behind the formation and funding of the Together Group
The driving force behind the concept is MatCap LLP, a venture firm managed by agency veterans Paul Sheehy and Brad Fry. "Together Group offers a fulfilling alternative to agency founders which clearly outperforms the traditional trade sale model,” explains Paul Sheehy, Founding Partner of MatCap LLP.
"For us, joining this innovative model means supercharging our agency, dramatically accelerating our global expansion with the help of like-minded, ambitious and experienced entrepreneurs," says Leja Kress, CEO of SWEDEN UNLIMITED. "It looks like a dream is about to come true. A very exciting prospect for ourselves and our global clients."
Together Group plans to be listed on an international exchange within the next 12 months. "Having secured Together Group’s financing to go to listing, we are now liaising with international investors interested in investing as part of the IPO process," explains Brad Fry, Founding Partner of MatCap LLP. "An exciting opportunity to capitalise on the fundamental changes in the digital and creative industries".
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