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5 Takeaways from Merging with the Dalton Agency

June 25, 2020 Julia Motis

handshake merger dealAs you may know, the Bradford Group merged with the Dalton Agency earlier this year to create the fourth largest PR and advertising firm in Nashville. In the process, we gained 10 more employees in our office in Nashville, as well as two offices located in Jacksonville, Florida and Atlanta.

The idea of a merger was daunting at first. We thought, “How are we going to make two separate companies with three separate offices one cohesive unit?” While we’re still working on doing that, here are a few of my takeaways from the process so far:

 

1. Company culture is so important (and not so easy to compromise on).

I’ll bring the question above back around again. How do you make one cohesive culture out of the sub-cultures of each location and each participating company? To an extent, we’re still figuring this out for ourselves.

The best way we know how right now is to create a task force of people from each sub-group (let’s call it), whose responsibility it is to gather information about each culture, compare and contrast, and find commonalities or places for compromise. From there, they can help facilitate implementation.

It’s not going to be a perfect plan at first. Each sub-group will need to go out of their comfort zones to get to a place where everyone feels comfortable together. Some of that will happen naturally and some of it may take some planning. But it has a high potential to result in being better than you were before.

2. Time zone differences are difficult but doable.

This may not be a new concept to some companies, but for us, it’s a whole new set of considerations. Two of our offices are on Eastern time, but the Nashville office stands alone in Central time. You wouldn’t think an hour would really make much of a difference, but it surprisingly can.

However, it eventually becomes second nature to take that hour difference into account when planning. And as long as we are considerate of one another’s time schedules and availability, it has only put a very small, very “hurtle-able” wrench in our days.

3. Collaboration is key. 

It’s not going to be a perfect plan at first. Each sub-group will need to go out of their comfort zones to get to a place where everyone feels comfortable together.

More people in the office means more brains working toward a common goal. This sudden “melding of minds,” while potentially chaotic at first, can be a fount of new perspectives and ideas that we didn’t have had access to before. I’m excited to take advantage of the new resources that we have – it’s important to be open to learning and growing.

Something that has helped facilitate collaboration is setting up regular meetings – among the PR and social media teams especially – to share ideas and previous work, as well as brainstorm new ideas. After all, they are coming with a ton of experiences and capabilities that we didn’t already have and vice versa, so it’s been really beneficial to keep sharing. 

4. New services and capabilities means more sales.

Something our president, Jeff, and the new business team are thrilled about is the long list of new services and capabilities that we can offer our existing clients – and sell to new ones. 

The Bradford people brought top-notch PR and content marketing expertise to an already top-notch PR and marketing team on the Dalton side, and the Dalton crew brought us advertising, digital, creative, video and interactive services that we’ve been wanting to bring in for years. It has without a doubt pushed us to a new caliber of potential clients, and we’re already seeing those results.

5. It takes time.

Possibly the most important thing I’ve learned: This process does not, and will not, happen overnight. We’ve had to take the time to carefully plan how best to bring the groups together in a way that is comfortable and feasible, while still strategic. There’s no rushing it!

We’ve been officially together for about three and half months, and we still have a ways to go before all the kinks are worked out. However, we can say with certainty, based on the pros which outweigh the cons, that we are better together with the Dalton Agency.

 

If you have a merger or acquisition on the horizon, let us help you market it. Contact us for more information.

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