Grand Rapids-based Agent X, a digital and experiential agency, has joined one of the largest full service advertising agency networks in the world, Worldwide Partners.
Worldwide Partners is headquartered in Denver and includes 89 agencies in 55 countries with more than $3.4 billion in capitalized billings.
It was founded in 1938 and has grown to represent the largest global network of owner-operated agencies.
Agent X expects that the partnership will help extend its global reach and increase its credibility with clients who like the nimbleness of a boutique firm, but also want to make sure the infrastructure is there to carry off large-scale, multi-market campaigns.
“Number one I think is global reach,” said Brian Steketee, principal at Agent X, about the benefits of joining the network. “I mean that in the perspective of we do execute programs on occasion that are multi market.
“Whether it is in the U.S. or Latin America or Europe, I believe that having this network in place enables us to be able to activate in other markets and be able to do that in a cost-effective manner, as well as be able to bring credibility to our capabilities when we are off our shore away from North America.
"We can leverage the partner expertise in the markets where we want to activate a program," he said. "I think that gives our clients comfort in our abilities to scale programs with having greater reach.”
Steketee noted that the network has nearly every discipline covered within the advertising, marketing and development arenas.
Agent X, which also has an office in St. Louis and a virtual presence in Chicago, already has some large names on its client roster: Adobe, Amway, CareerBuilder, Charter Communications, Red Bull and Symantec.
Being part of the network
It hopes the partnership will provide an opportunity to continue to grow and expand its work.
“We are pretty excited about the capabilities that we bring to the table,” Steketee said. “We are one of a handful of agencies in the network with the expertise that we have, in both user experience and design based live and digital experiences.
“There are very few agencies in this network like us. I think that’s why they were pretty excited to have us join as well. . . . I do see it as a real growth vehicle for us, again, because there are so few in the network with our model. I’m excited about what that opportunity is going to present down the road.”
Steketee said that the vetting process for acceptance into the network is extensive and includes examining an agency’s credibility and financial stability and also focuses on referrals.
“They do vet you across your existing agency relationships to see how well you work with agencies across various disciplines,” he said. “Also, there’s a voting process that happens on the network side. As new agencies come online they have to be unanimously approved by the network.”
Companies that join Worldwide Partners are considered shareholders.
"We're a bottom-up agency network, whereby our partner agencies own us rather than us owning them,” said Al Moffatt, president and CEO of Worldwide Partners. “We provide the resources and the global outreach to help our partners achieve greater profits and revenue, while the partner agencies work together to build each others' business and service clients internationally.
“We're an efficient, international network built to succeed — even in today's economy. Each partner is hand selected for its progressive and innovative approach. IN short, we have the critical mass and skills of the agency conglomerates, coupled with the flexibility of the independents.”
Steketee said that the company has been considering joining Worldwide Partners for the past couple of years and felt that the time was right going into 2013.
“We expect and hope to grow as an organization, and we believe that we have a lot to offer in being a boutique that is nimble," he said. "But we also felt that we needed to be able to bring that infrastructure piece to the table as well, to enable us to still tackle some of the larger Fortune 500 challenges that we are set up to do.”