Artistic and media company McKinney has acquired August United, an influencer advertising and marketing company beforehand owned by Audacious Studios. The transfer offers McKinney, which is a part of the Cheil Worldwide community of companies, a presence in Phoenix Ariz., the place August United is headquartered, in addition to a agency foothold within the rising micro and mid-tier influencer area.
Along with August United, McKinney will take up Tailwind, the efficiency media arm of Audacious Studios, to bolster its built-in providing. The transfer expands McKinney’s capabilities below a single administration workforce. The August United/Tailwind workplace will change into McKinney’s fifth U.S. workplace, becoming a member of its headquarters in Durham, N.C., and workplaces in Los Angeles, New York and Dallas.
No layoffs are deliberate, and all August United and Tailwind staff will probably be retained by the company, including greater than 60 staffers and bringing McKinney’s base near 300 folks.
August United, which was named to Adweek’s Fastest Growing Agencies list in 2019, has been round for twenty years however pivoted in 2015 to focus on full-service influencer advertising and marketing capabilities, from technique to partnership administration to content material growth and implementation.
Purchase, not borrow
Since 2021, McKinney had been trying to develop its influencer capabilities as shoppers like Samsung and Little Caesars had been asking for these companies. The company needed to ramp up these capabilities and knew it wanted to do it sooner than may occur by constructing it from the bottom up.
“When you’ve that three-pronged highway in entrance of you, the place you possibly can both construct, purchase or borrow, this very a lot grew to become a purchase,” Joe Maglio, CEO of McKinney, informed Adweek.
McKinney, which was named to Adweek’s shortlist for 2022 U.S. Midsize Agency of the Year, labored with an out of doors marketing consultant to seek out potential acquisition potentialities. Maglio and his workforce checked out roughly 50 companies, however after they met with the workforce from August United, the company stood out. The management workforce had been in place for over a decade, and so they had created a mannequin round mid-tier and micro influencers earlier than they grew to become a development, giving the company credibility and depth within the area.
“There’s extra belief, from a shopper standpoint, for a micro or mid-tier versus a giant celeb influencer. … They’re chasing enterprise outcomes. They’re not chasing large, splashy, shiny objects,” mentioned Maglio, including that August shared McKinney’s values, together with a push for range and rising staff’ ability units.
Whereas August United and Tailwind carry greater than 60 new folks to McKinney, Maglio famous that the merging of employees is ongoing and he desires McKinney folks to study from the August workforce. As well as, McKinney is hiring on the Phoenix workplace for roles that aren’t within the influencer area, which is able to solidify the company’s presence within the Southwest.
“Once we refocused on influencer advertising and marketing in 2015, we knew that it might go from the perimeter to the core of a model’s social media technique. As we scaled our providing, we determined it was time to take an even bigger leap ahead, and after our first couple conferences with McKinney we knew that their smarts and hearts had been the proper match to take our providing to the subsequent degree,” mentioned Margie Traylor, co-founder of Audacious Studios, in a press release.
Katie Marti, who was beforehand president at Audacious Studios overseeing August United and Tailwind, now turns into managing director at McKinney.
Capitalizing on a rising influencer market
Influencer advertising and marketing was a $16.4 billion trade in 2022, in keeping with Influencer Advertising and marketing Hub, demonstrating the rising shopping for energy of Gen Z and millennials as consumption habits evolve. Micro and mid-tier influencers additionally assist drive important engagement and influence buy choices.
August United brings not solely a longtime presence within the influencer area but additionally a brand new batch of shoppers to McKinney, together with a number of high-profile CPG manufacturers. Kroger, Circle Ok, All, Snuggle, Purex and Persil are manufacturers August works with, and that bolsters McKinney’s shopper base, which incorporates Blue Diamond Growers, Pampers, Puma Operating, Cease & Store, ESPN, Samsung, Columbia Sportswear and Sherwin-Williams.
Maglio is happy about McKinney’s leap into the influencer area, particularly under the celeb degree.
“You possibly can’t discuss social and cellular with out the creator financial system as a element of it. Whenever you get to the micro and mid-tier, you get extra traction. Customers pay extra consideration as a result of they really feel a special sort of connection to that influencer,” mentioned Maglio, noting that influencers are driving ecommerce purchases and the ROI from that will probably be extra measurable over time.
The enterprise upside behind influencer advertising and marketing led to the acquisition of August United, however McKinney additionally hopes to develop within the influencer area because it builds its McKinney Health practice, which was launched final 12 months. Maglio sees the chances of influencers having the ability to join with customers on healthcare points, in addition to on the media facet of the enterprise, to assist with progress.
“It’s going to carry the shoppers an entire different world that they’ll step into,” Maglio mentioned.