Independent agencies Step Change and The Zoo Republic will merge after almost a decade of working together across strategic, creative and digital projects.
Strategy will stay under the specialist Step Change brand, with the digital and creative capabilities of Step Change moving over the road to strengthen the offering of The Zoo Republic.
Step Change CEO Ashton Bishop says the agency wanted to deepen its strategic capabilities and "up" its execution.
"The Zoo was the perfect partner to help transition our clients to the new model and provide the strength of client service and relationship management we were after," Bishop says.
"Culturally, and reputationally we’d always loved and admired the work the Zoo did and how they did it — so much we decided to formalise things and merge those offerings."
The Zoo Republic will lead, house and resource the digital and creative business formally serviced by Step Change, with key Step Change staff moving to the Zoo, leaving Step Change to focus and double-down on its pure-play strategic offering.
At Step Change, founder Ashton Bishop will remain sole executive director while co-founder Jeff Cooper and head of digital Rob Steers will pursue other ventures.
Amandine Saille will replace Steers, stepping up to lead the digital team and manage the integration with The Zoo.
Creative director Adam Searle will move to the new The Zoo Republic agency led by David Lo and his long-serving management leadership team.
Lo says the decision to merge was both easy and logical.
"The digital capability is what we have been trying to develop for a while now and this simply fast-tracks that ambition," Lo says.
"The Step Change team making the move has a proven track record in digital strategy, digital marketing planning and implementation and optimisation across all channels and platforms and digital and omnichannel campaigns.
"When we combine the Step Change and Zoo creative firepower and go-to-market messaging capability with their digital expertise we now have every capability The Zoo gets called on to deliver all under one roof.
"This will truly integrate our capabilities and provide a powerful offering for each agency’s existing and new clients. With multiple existing mutual clients where we already collaborate, and a solid understanding of each other’s culture and way of working, I am incredibly excited about the future."
The Zoo Republic was AdNews' Independent Small Agency of the Year in 2018.
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