Engage, Connect2 merge to create Witz Communications

Agency principals Richard Williams and Jeannette Bitz will serve as chief strategy officer and chief relationships officer, respectively.

L-R: Jeannette Bitz and Richard Williams
L-R: Jeannette Bitz and Richard Williams

NEW YORK: Engage PR and Connect2 Communications are merging to create a b-to-b tech agency known as Witz Communications.

The two firms have been in talks since March. Connect2 CEO Richard Williams and Engage chief executive Jeannette Bitz have known each other since 2001 when Williams, working in-house for Hatteras Networks, hired Engage PR. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Williams and Bitz both own 50% of the new agency, and the rebranded name, Witz Communications, is a reflection of that. The branding is a combination of Williams’ and Bitz’s names, with a play on words.

"It lets us play off of ‘wits,’ as in ‘keep your wits about you,’" Williams said. "But we both had brand equity in our names."

"Our tagline is ‘Connect and Engage,’ so we’re still playing off those original names," Bitz added.

There will be no staff changes due to the merger, but Williams’ and Bitz’s titles will change to chief strategy officer and chief relationships officer, respectively, and they will split the responsibilities of running the agency. The merged firm will have 17 staffers in two offices in the Research Triangle Park area of North Carolina, where Connect2 was based, and the San Francisco Bay area, where Engage was located.

"Our clients care about strategy and relationships, so I’m chief strategy officer and she's chief relationships officer," Williams said. "Both Engage and Connect2 were structured in the old model of the early 2000s, so we looked at structuring Witz based on how the media and clients want to interact with the agencies."

Both Engage and Connect2 worked in the b-to-b tech sector, with Engage focusing on the Internet of Things, mobile, analytics, and cloud markets and Connect2 working in the security, enterprise, and telecom areas. Because the agencies specialized in separate areas of tech, Bitz said there are no client conflicts from the merger.

"When you're a small tech agency, the problem is you're only in one location or you’re too small, so bringing together the two teams we’re doubling our size, doubling our revenue," said Williams.

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