Ollie Burgoyne, Duncan McCaslin

Stagwell acquires Sidekick, a group of specialist agencies focused on experiential, digital storytelling and branded content. Sidekick will join Allison, the global marketing and communications consultancy within Stagwell. Sidekick co-founders Duncan McCaslin and Ollie Burgoyne will remain as managing directors of their respective teams and both will join Allison’s European management team. Directors William Howe and Stephen Bradley will also move across in their current roles. No other staffing changes are planned. The addition of Sidekick will further expand Allison’s footprint, supplementing its existing core competencies of strategic communications, influencer marketing, digital, performance marketing and data analytics. “Having seen our collective teams work successfully together over the last year or so, we knew that joining with Allison and Stagwell was the logical next step,” said McCaslin. Sidekick is Stagwell’s second acquisition of the year, following the purchase of Team Epiphany, a culturalist creative agency connecting brands to multicultural consumers, in January.


Watermark Strategies, a corporate affairs consulting firm designed to deploy the latest data and technology in support of comprehensive stakeholder advisory and engagement services, is founded by industry veterans Zack Condry and Erik Hotmire. Condry founded corporate digital firm Echo and is a veteran of digital campaigns at Brunswick Group and Edelman. Hotmire has counseled senior executives and boards on business-critical issues for the past 13 years as a partner at Brunswick Group, senior managing director at Teneo, and partner at FGS Global. Watermark's service offerings include corporate positioning, special situations, digital advisory and execution, and research and insights. “Using predictive analytics, we guide our clients’ communications and public affairs efforts with precision, equipping them to productively engage a diverse set of stakeholders,” said Condry.

Markets EQ

Markets EQ, which fuses voice tones with language in a generative AI platform for corporate communications, launches an AI-generated scorecard based entirely on voice analysis. EQ MarketScore has the ability to discern 58 unique emotions, scoring speakers on tone, confidence, clarity, and the intricacy of their messages. Among the features included are bottom line up front (a brief summary of the conversation); emotional sentiment (a description of the overall tone of the speaker and message) and clarity rank: (a measure of how difficult it was to follow the conversation). "With Markets EQ's new scorecard feature, we're turning the art of communication into a science, cutting time substantially and providing a reliable output to train and improve your spokespeople,” said Markets EQ CEO Sean Austin.