PadillaCRT buys boutique brand strategy shop Joe Smith

Joe Smith will continue to do business under its current brand, and its cofounders will join PadillaCRT's executive team.

MINNEAPOLIS: PadillaCRT has bought Richmond, Virginia-based boutique brand strategy firm Joe Smith, the agency said Monday morning.

Joe Smith will continue to function under its existing brand, with cofounders Barry Saunders and Christian Markow joining PadillaCRT’s executive leadership team, the firm said in a statement.

It added that PadillaCRT partner Kelly O’Keefe, who also chairs the creative brand management track at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Brandcenter graduate program, will continue to work closely with Joe Smith.

Markow and Saunders led the Richmond office of global brand and marketing consultancy Prophet before founding Joe Smith in 2013. The agency has worked with clients including GE, Chick-fil-A, and the College of William & Mary, among others.

PadillaCRT saw a revenue decrease of 2.2% in 2014 to $31.6 million, but CEO and chair Lynn Casey said it was the firm’s "pig-in-the-python" year, referring to the integration period it went through after Padilla Speer Beardsley bought CRT/tanaka in September 2013. It unveiled its current brand positioning in February 2014, six months after the acquisition.

Former PadillaCRT chief counselor and creative strategist Patrice Tanaka recently departed the firm to focus on career coaching company Joyful Planet full-time.

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