Legacy meets leading edge as VSA fully integrates brand, communications, marketing and digital

After 30 years of sustained innovation and evolution—from design firm to brand consultancy to digital agency—VSA Partners is breaking new ground again through significant expansion and integration. The result is a new breed of brand and marketing firm that combines best-in-class brand strategy, design, marketing and digital capabilities to serve brand and business leaders facing unprecedented challenges and change in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

VSA launched an entirely new 55-person Consumer Marketing Practice that unites the firm’s legacy of leadership in brand strategy and design with the leading edge in cross-discipline marketing, predictive analytics and behavioral science. Close on the heels of this new practice came the acquisition of a 26-person digital design firm in New York, the former Tender Creative, whose track record of creating integrated branding solutions includes an enviable roster of top luxury and fashion brands. Simultaneously, VSA’s organic growth drove the development and expansion of full-service practices in brand and communications strategy, user experience design, content strategy and technology. The moves further VSA’s longstanding mission: to equip today’s business leaders with an integrated suite of tools to address audiences and markets in systemic ways—enabling them to activate brands and change behavior in today’s complex, cross-channel environments.

“The reality for CEOs and CMOs is that they’re operating in a world where they often find their organizations unprepared for the complexity of today’s environment and its rate of change,” says Dana Arnett, VSA’s chief executive. “The explosion of data and social media, the proliferation of channels and devices, and shifting demographics are all business game-changers. People now form and dissolve brand relationships in real-time through dozens of small interactions, many of which go unnoticed or unmanaged by the businesses who produce them.”

Today, VSA’s operating model and scale deliver interconnected offerings across the fields of brand, communications, marketing and digital. VSA’s staff now encompasses more than 250 strategists, technologists, writers, designers, project managers, and client engagement leads across five offices, in Chicago, New York, Minneapolis and Detroit.

William Rosen, Partner and Consumer Marketing Practice Lead, and former President and Chief Creative Officer of North America for Arc Worldwide, believes that a true interdisciplinary firm is the only solution for leading marketers and communications professionals at a moment when technology, culture and marketplace demands are rapidly shifting opportunities, challenges and rules of engagement. “VSA has always been known for its transformative design and brand thinking,” Rosen says. “When you marry those legacy strengths with data science, behavioral insight and true cross-channel strategy and creative, you have a new breed of firm built expressly to deliver state-of-the-art marketing programs in an innovative way.”

The combination of VSA and the former Tender Creative represents a significant commitment to strengthening VSA’s growing presence in New York as well as further bolstering VSA’s digital creative capabilities. The office’s client relationships include high-visibility brand and digital solutions for clients including Estée Lauder, M•A•C Cosmetics and the Museum of Modern Art. VSA and Tender also share Nike as a client, having collaborated successfully to help reimagine and rebrand Converse nearly eight years ago.