Kansas City-based ad agency Barkley has purchased management consulting and experience design firm XperienceLab. Terms weren’t disclosed.
The St. Louis-based consultant will expand a practice Barkley had already launched. Work by the internal unit includes projects for Hearst Corp., Thrivent Financial and Eurostar.
Barkley said the acquisition was driven by an increased demand from brands for service that combines communication strategy, typically the domain of ad agencies, with business strategy, the focus of management consultants.
“Modern brands need connected ideas that take into account a customer's point of view and workforce culture,” said Dan Fromm, President and Chief Operating Officer of Barkley. “Consumers expect a connected experience that starts with transparency inside the company and flows all the way through to the way we talk about it in advertising and social media.”
XperienceLab, which adds 16 people to Barkley's workforce, was formed in 2013 and Co-founder Michael Chandler will continue to oversee the firm’s operations as managing director based in St. Louis.
The firm focuses on customer efficacy (improving customer relationships with brands) and workforce transformation (employee culture and productivity). It has worked on projects with companies including Monsanto, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and insurance company RGA.