Just last week, we learned that The Narrative Group had been acquired by Citizen Relations, a global integrated creative communications agency and owned by BlueFocus International.
The Narrative Group will continue to be led by co-founders Jackie Lann Brockman and Stacey Heuser, with a flexible partnership structure in support of concurrent US-based plans for growth. The new partnership will foster growth for Narrative and cultivate opportunity for Citizen through Narrative’s specialized skill set in lifestyle, influencer, and entertainment public relations and experiential marketing.
Jackie and Stacey built the Narrative Group from the ground up, shaping it into what it is today: a bi-coastal team of ambitious media & marketing specialists. Founded in 2009, The Narrative Group has worked with clients like LinkedIn, McDonald's, Sony, Pernod Ricard, Chevrolet, Cadillac, Barry's Bootcamp, the NFL Homegating collection, Bai Beverages and Laurel & Wolf.
In the midst of the the excitement, we caught up with Stacey Heuser to learn a bit more about The Narrative Group, the acquisition and the ever-evolving state of media & experiential marketing.
Congratulations! Give us the inside scoop on how this happened and what comes next!Thank you! Well, we were not seeking an acquisition, we had been approached in the past and had always declined. However, culturally, Citizen Relations are one of the most dynamic and people-focused teams I have ever worked with. That really resonated with us, as we have a similar outlook on the way to treat employees, clients and agency partners. We also have very complimentary capabilities, so that sealed the deal for us. Moving forward, we will maintain our vision and work together on clients and projects that make sense. We also bring a bit more of a trend driven lens that will hopefully resonate with their current and future roster of clients.
What are some of the big benefits?The acquisition allows us to offer better, more robust careers to our employees as well as best in class HR and benefits. This is a struggle for a small boutique agency, so we are grateful to bring this opportunity to our team. On the client side, we are expanding our offering and will be able to access more in depth data and analytics that will provide enormous value when conceptualizing campaigns and activations.
What was the impetus to start TNG?I felt there was something missing in the boutique agency space and wanted to work with smart people who wanted to make magic!
How are you structured?We have three departments consisting of media relations, influencer marketing and experiencial. These three areas of expertise have dynamic synergy and overlap, but are led and run by seperate teams.
What is the mood in the office? What are you working on?Positive, fun and fast paced. My main responsibilities are overseeing media relations and big picture client strategy, but currently I am ensuring the transition post acquisition goes smoothly.
I think we all have a responsibility to stay super current and remain hyper aware of what is happening socially, economically, and politically.
Aside from the acquisition, what is a recent success story that makes you especially proud?
We executed a global pop culture program for McDonalds that was a huge success.
PR can be stressful and is often full of rejection - how do you deal?
I have been mediating since I was a young child, as my mom was a mediatation teacher. I feel that habit is responsible for my ability to manage stress and multi-task well.
What do you wish more people understood about your job?
I really do not focus much energy on other people's perception of myself or my job. I think by being good to my employees and clients, the right people will understand our mission as an agency and hopefully that will shape their view.
What apps are essential in your life?
Instacart, Uber and GlamSquad help me move through being a busy working mom with assistance.
What Industry Trends are you excited about?I am excited to explore the data and analytics aspect of earned media and influencer. I am optimistic about the many easily accesible tools and software that are allowing our industry impact to be rooted in facts. Most of these facts we (communicators) already knew, but were unable to explain to the client with 100% certainty.
What is the biggest challenge facing our space?What's the biggest challenge facing fashion/lifestyle communicators right now? I think we all have a responsibility to stay super current and remain hyper aware of what is happening socially, economically, and politically. I think fashion and lifestyle communicators can appear a bit tone deaf when pitching and ideating events. It is essential we do our best to communicate in a smart and sensitive way.
I am optimistic about the many easily accessible tools and software that are allowing our industry impact to be rooted in facts.
What advice do you have for boutique agencies open to acquisition?
Pick a partner that has a similar culture and outlook on the industry, but identify a place that you can add value. Highlight what makes you unique and write down your goals.
What advice do you have for your younger self?
Dont spend any energy on things that do not help you get closer to your ultimate goal and do not spend a minute caring what others think.
Anything else we should know?
We are always looking for fantastic interns.