HY Connect, an independent marketing and communications firm, has acquired lonelybrand, a digital marketing agency operating in Chicago. The move augments the agency’s social media and content marketing service, while supporting HY Connect’s rapid path of expansion.
“At HY Connect, we’re focused on developing integrated solutions driven by strategic insight, artistry and technology, resulting in metrics driven campaigns that help our clients build their brands,” announced HY Connect President Dave Sheehan. “Our acquisition of lonelybrand, combined with our own award-winning social media offering, further solidifies our foothold as a top-notch social media and content marketing resource, and our ability to offer best-in-class stand-alone service with the convenience of a full-service agency under one roof.”
It was lonelybrand’s robust digital ecosystem that first caught the eye of HY Connect’s leadership. Pioneers in the process, lonelybrand perfected the art of creating, sharing and monitoring engaging content that lives and breathes across multiple online platforms including social spaces, media outlet sites, industry news sites and of course their own website. The agency’s blogs and whitepapers have earned them a WebAward from the Web Marketing Association as well as two BMA Tower Awards, while HY Connect was recently named a Top 10 Social Savvy Agency by The Agency Post.
Nicholas Kinports, lonelybrand’s founder and visionary, joins HY Connect as VP, Director of Social Media, where he’ll continue to pioneer the future of social media by connecting consumers and decision makers to brands in innovative ways. He is joined by the rest of his lonelybrand team.
“As we became more and more familiar with lonelybrand, not only for their outstanding services, but for their ability to use their strong digital presence to garner business, we saw great potential in bringing them aboard to augment our already robust social media offering,” added Troy Peterson, HY Connect CEO. “Ironically, considering our future social media partnership, we initially contacted Nick through LinkedIn.”
Kinports’ rich digital history began as a web developer and designer, and his entrepreneurial spirit started early when he began his own web development company. He later went on to gain years of experience on both the agency and client side. “While working for an agency my vision for digital offerings was evolving faster than the agency’s capabilities,” explained Kinports, “I saw an opportunity to do more and to do it better – that’s when I decided to start lonelybrand.”
Kinports went on to explain that the desire to expand was one of the reasons working with HY Connect appealed to him. “I see this acquisition as a win-win; it allows us to provide all of the HY Connect services to our current loyal client base and at the same time we will be able to take our social media marketing practice to the agency’s national and global brands.”
One social media capability the agency will be expanding is customer relationship management. With e-commerce having a significant impact on the bottom line, smart companies are looking for help when it comes to understanding customers in the digital space. As consumers put more and more importance on online reviews, blogs and social sites, HY Connect will help clients track, decipher and manage social conversations.
Significant growth is just one more thing lonelybrand and HY Connect have in common. In the last four years HY Connect has nearly doubled in size and income/billings. The addition of lonelybrand will add $5 million to the agency’s top line, with HY Connect’s 2013 billings anticipated to break $155 million. This is HY Connect’s second acquisition in just two years; the company acquired Houlihan Madison Most last spring.
“Our clients are taking notice of the need for content marketing and the influence social media platforms can have on their business, and now with our combined talents, we’ll be able to offer a new level of support that encourages overall success. We know great work will come from this collaboration,” added Sheehan.