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Powered Acquires Three Social Media Companies; Seeks To Be “Social AOR” For Big Brands

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Powered, a company which specializes in creating branded communities for the likes of HP, Atkins, Verizon, Kodak and Sony, announced today it has acquired three companies in the digital marketing space. They are dubbing the new, combined company as the industry’s “first social media agency with scale.”

The most notable of the three is digital agency crayon, led by the well known Joseph Jaffe. The other two companies are engagement agency Drillteam and Facebook/mobile developer StepChange.

“We’ve been focused on bulding brand’s online communities,” said Powered CMO Aaron Strout in a phone interview today, but “we didn’t necessarily have scale,” he added. The new company will almost double in headcount from 40 to more than 70 employees. Strout also said the acquisitions mean Powered will “significantly grow revenues,” working with more than 60 brands as opposed to 10 to 12.

In terms of pitching new business, Strout said the company previously “sort of had to come in the side door” since there are no big RFPs solely for online community work.

From the crayon perspective, Jaffe said in 2009 he saw digital RFPs fall into three categories. The first being display ads and traditional online paid media, the second being search and the third being social. “We believe in 2010 and beyond there will be increasingly more dedicated social media agency of record RFPs,” he said. While brands and agencies debate whether there is a need for a dedicated social media agency and department, Powered has clearly decided that the answer is “yes.”

Strout said the acquisition will help Powered move away from competing against boutique agencies and other online community specialists such as Jive Software and more alongside “big boy digital agencies.” While these “big boy” agencies certainly have expertise, Strout said “their teams fall off dramatically” after one or two luminaries.

As of now, Powered is confident it will retain all clients from its acquired companies. “All of conversations have been very favorable,” said Strout. He also said the company has “no plans other than to retain all employees,” however, he added, “any time you bring four entities together there are overlaps. We are in the process of looking at that.”

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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