A win-win: Advertising, digital merger bridges St. Louis, Nashville | Crain's St. Louis

A win-win: Advertising, digital merger bridges St. Louis, Nashville

Paramore founder Hannah Paramore Breen, left to right, with Osborn Barr COO Suzan Knese and Osborn Barr President Rhonda Ries. | Photo provided

What does an advertising agency in the Gateway City have in common with a digital agency in Music City?

The leaders at Nashville-based Paramore and St. Louis-based Osborn Barr point out that they are both female-owned, family-friendly and share very similar core values.

They also share one umbrella, as Osborn Barr acquired Paramore late last year.

“We are very much about clients first,” Osborn Barr President Rhonda Ries said. “Like Paramore, we are very much about servicing clients first, and that has allowed us to attract a lot of really great people within St. Louis and Kansas City — both natural hub cities of the Midwest — and Nashville fits right into that portfolio.”

Ries said Osborn Barr’s pursuit of the Nashville agency, which began a year ago and solidified in November, was sealed by Paramore founder Hannah Paramore Breen’s humility and integrity.

The cities also have comparable advertising markets and form a bridge between the friendly Midwest and charming South.

Breen said they are “similar in that clients genuinely want to make a connection with you.” With the fit seemingly perfect, Breen agreed to sell her 15-year-old business to Osborn Barr.

“I've always believed in the African proverb: ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.’ That's what we're doing with this deal. It's a national growth opportunity for Paramore both in terms of client base and service offerings. It’s critical to keep adding to our skillsets so we can grow our client relationships and keep key talent.”

In terms of day-to-day business, Paramore has been more of a niche agency focused on digital strategies for companies in the healthcare and education industries. Osborn Barr, on the other hand, provides advertising experience with national agricultural brands, like Monsanto.

The merger offers each unit the ability to reach new clients that may not have been interested in their respective services before.

While Osborn Barr could have built up its digital presence and expertise, Ries said Paramore brings a tried and true operation in digital marketing and analytics. Osborn Barr also opened a pipeline to Nashville’s large talent pool.

“Nashville is attracting more talent into the city versus what St. Louis and Kansas City can attract because Nashville has so much tourism,” Ries said. “People come visit and make a life choice to move there. That opens up a talent pool for us that we can't attract in our cities as naturally.”

Breen, as an example, is not leaving Nashville. She has stayed on with her team at Paramore as executive vice president.

February 1, 2017 - 5:02pm