With more than 1,000 brands and 23 years under its international portfolio, a Greenville-based branding agency has acquired a marketing group that will give its public relations division a boost.
The Brand Leader acquired Benson Marketing Group, a wine and spirits marketing agency that is now a division of The Brand Leader, a brand-first creative agency specializing in advertising, branding, and design — and now public relations. The Benson team, including Jeremy Benson, president of Benson Marketing Group, will continue to serve wine and spirits clients in the U.S., Canada, and abroad from its office in New York.
Kyle Duford, The Brand Leader president and executive creative director, said the acquisition started with looking for an extra revenue stream and manpower, but at the same time, Duford and The Brand Leader founder and CEO, Geoff Wasserman, were firm on making sure an acquisition wouldn’t lead to company redundancy and laying employees off.
They searched for agencies that had compatible services that they lacked and didn’t necessarily have expertise in. When they came across the Benson Marketing Group, it checked all their boxes, since they are a legacy marketing group that has been around for 27 years and in a core competency — public relations, said Duford.
“We give them the benefit of providing all their clients with a branding agency, and now all our existing clients have a PR arm,” he said. “It was a no-brainer at the end of the day, and they complement well what we already do. As a bonus, TBL adds a high-performing team, whose subject matter expertise runs deep, to our 37-person agency.”
The Brand Leader’s core verticals include consumer packaged goods, medtech and fintech, outdoor, and now, wine and spirits.
The combination of two teams is set to address the many challenges and opportunities in the wine and spirits’ sector.
“To win, brands need a ‘wow’ factor — hyper-creative, attention-grabbing ideas that leverage the whole gamut of media,” said Benson. “TBL brings that in spades for their clients, and now to ours where needed. It’s an exciting time. Our team now includes in-house videographers, photographers, art directors, developers, copywriters, and digital ad experts who hold certifications from Google, Meta, Shopify, Hubspot, Klaviyo, and more.”
Wasserman said The Brand Leader was founded and built on putting people first and focusing on exceeding client expectations.
“We found Benson Marketing to be cut from the same cloth as us, and we couldn’t be more thrilled than to bring two legacy teams together under one banner,” he added.
Benson Marketing Group’s name will continue for the time being, and all client-facing professionals are now part of the combined entity. Barney, Inc. provided counsel to Benson Marketing Group in the transaction, but terms were not disclosed.