Waggener Edstrom revitalizes agency with new name and outlook

The agency - now known as WE - also has a new logo and revamped website.

SEATTLE: Waggener Edstrom has rebranded to WE as part of an overall transformation that focuses on the firm’s new agency partners, growth strategies, and talent.

Melissa Waggener Zorkin, president, CEO, and cofounder of the firm, said she and her partner and fellow cofounder, Pam Edstrom, are taking their names off the door even though they’re staying at the agency for years to come.

"Pam and I have felt that it’s always about other people – it’s never been just about ourselves," explained Waggener Zorkin. "The collective is really what is going to keep us in the independent game."

The revamp – complete with a new logo and website – is part of the agency’s plan to emphasize its partnerships with clients, as well as other agencies that have different areas of expertise.

Waggener Zorkin unveiled the news on Monday through a blog post in which she wrote: "It’s the power and insight that comes from the collective — our amazing clients, our people, our partners, and the influencers we work with every day. Together, we are WE."

Part of the "business re-engineering," she told PRWeek, is about choosing what offerings the firm wants to grow. Since concentrating on content and digital/social media last year, the sectors have grown 25% and 45%, respectively, said Waggener Zorkin.

She added that the agency is also focused on delivering growth where it wants to worldwide. In Asia-Pacific, the firm is steadily growing at 8%, she said, with India growing at 15%, and China seeing double that. Additionally, 63% of the client portfolio in APAC, including its ZTE and MediaTek accounts, is being serviced by more than one country in the region.

Conversely, Waggener Zorkin said this means the firm has also underscored what it will not do going forward.

"We did back out of France and Geneva last year, all on the grounds of focusing on what we’re good at and backing away where we can have partners do the work," she said.

In her blog, Waggner Zorkin listed several new clients for the firm, which include Allrecipes, Boehringer Ingelheim, VSP, Zoom+, Lucid, and Kymeta. She added that the firm has expanded work with ZTE, Volvo, Woodford Reserve, Safeway, and Microsoft.

Along with the rebranding news, WE has hired Katie Huang from Porter Novelli to serve as EVP and global client leader, based in San Francisco. The firm also brought in Heather Scott as VP of customer insights over the summer. Scott previously worked at Amazon as principal marketing manager, according to her LinkedIn profile.

In addition to the new staffers, Waggener Zorkin announced a partnership in her blog with branding agency Salt, which has worked with brands including Coca-Cola, Disney, and Red Bull. The collaboration will allow WE to provide clients with a full range of elements from start to finish, such as strategy, messaging, storytelling, and branding.

WE also began working with YouGov, Radius Global Market Research, and Illuminas on research; The Garrigan Lyman Group on digital marketing; Point It on search marketing; and Play Big Inc. on future strategy planning.

To tell clients about the news, WE account managers made direct calls and sent packages in the mail about the rebrand, which included candy bars with unusual pairings, such as potato chips and chocolate.

Watch Waggener Zorkin and president of North America for WE Kass Sells explain the rebrand in the video below:

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