NEW YORK: RF|Binder has partnered with internal comms specialist firm Cheer Partners on a joint venture called RFB|Cheer that launched this week.
Cheer founders Cathleen Graham and Darcie Peck will join RF|Binder’s 11-member leadership team and work out of the agency’s offices.
The venture will add another service area for nearly 17-year-old RF|Binder in internal communications, bringing on capabilities such as connected culture, diversity and inclusion, and employee engagement to its corporate and financial communications practice.
"The piece missing is employee engagement and culture," said RFB CEO Amy Binder. "[During transformation], you need to be able to take your employee base along with you."
Disruption and younger workforces have contributed to the growth of internal communications, Binder explained. About 20% of RF|Binder’s clients have inquired about the agency’s capabilities in internal comms, and there were "real missed opportunities" because the firm didn’t pursue certain pieces of business without that expertise.
The deal marks the first time RF|Binder has partnered with a consultancy. However, the firms have not explored an acquisition, said Binder.
Prior to founding Cheer, Graham was global head of people and acquisitions at Ruder Finn in her second stint at the firm. She has also served as chief talent officer at Silver Stirrup Consulting and chief people officer at Clever Devices.
Peck had worked in numerous roles at IMS Health, most recently as VP of finance and was a longtime employee of IBM, where her most recent role was VP of finance for IBM Software Group, according to her LinkedIn profile.
Last October, RF|Binder acquired CSR agency The Siren Agency, forming a division called RFB|Siren.
RF|Binder's 2016 revenues were flat at about $12.5 million.