Penta, a stakeholder solutions firm with intelligence and strategy capabilities, launches. The new firm combines Ballast Research, Hamilton Place Strategies, Flag Media Analytics, alva and Gotham Research Group, along with newly acquired Decode_M. Penta, which comprises over 200 professionals in New York, London, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco, is backed by a majority investment by Falfurrias Capital Partners. It will be led by president Matt McDonald, previously a partner at Hamilton Place Strategies. The integration of the firms into Penta will be complete by the end of year, following the conclusion of Ballast Research’s current research cycle. “Penta’s integrated approach will help leaders understand what the reputational risks they face mean for their business, and how to engage with stakeholders to reach desired outcomes,” said board chair Alexander Jutkowitz.


WE Communications acquires social impact and behavior change agency Hopscotch Consulting. Moving forward, Hopscotch Consulting will be known as “Hopscotch, a WE Communications Company.” It will maintain its own client portfolio and continue to partner with WE on new business and joint client opportunities across corporate, consumer brand, healthcare and technology sectors. The current leadership of co-founders Sam Mercer and Julie Noble and managing director Marcus Hernon will report to WE managing director, UK, Ruth Allchurch. “Joining WE will enable Hopscotch to expand the reach of our social impact and brand purpose services globally, working with global education, tech, consumer and health brands,” said Mercer.


Ketner Group, which specializes in retail technology PR and communications, releases its Retail Tech PR Handbook, an eBook that outlines best practices in the field. The agency says the eBook is intended to serve as a marketing and educational tool, and is focused on helping retail technology companies understand how to better engage with retail editors, analysts and influencers. It takes readers through the steps involved in putting together a campaign, from making sure that the right questions are asked before getting started to going through the steps involved in identifying objective, defining a strategy and creating a PR plan. It also gives pointers on building effective relationships; getting the most out of trade shows, speaking opportunities and awards; and finding the best way to evaluate the success of a program.