Touch Associates completes merger and plans debut US office

Touch Associates has merged with Octopus Communications and is set to open its first office in the US in April.

Touch Associates launched in January 2012 and is now set to open a debut US office
Touch Associates launched in January 2012 and is now set to open a debut US office

Merger

Touch Associates - which officially launched in January 2012 – has brought Octopus Communications director Paul Smith onto its board.

The Surrey-based agency was set up by events industry mavens Nick Bender, Patrick Collins, Mike Ford and Colette Murphy last year in a bid to create a collaborative enterprise with a consultative approach.

Now Smith has joined the board, he will focus on developing bespoke solutions for his own portfolio of clients. Octopus has worked with corporates including AOL, BSkyB and Deutsche Bank in the past.

"We are thrilled about Paul joining with Touch - he adds some extra sparkle to the Touch story," said Collins, who was formerly chairman of Universal Procon.

Collins added that 2013 was "above target to be even better than 2012", with the agency "moving towards a healthy profit, a stronger balance sheet and no borrowings".

US office

Meanwhile, the agency is also planning its first overseas office, based in the US.

Touch USA will open in New Jersey in April 2013, overseen by former Universal Procon colleagues Ford and Murphy, who both have extensive experience of US start-ups. 

"We will be servicing existing clients and building on long-standing relationships to provide high touch, high quality service," said Ford.

The agency – which has a strong focus on the pharmaceutical and financial sectors – has added eight new clients, added Bender, who was previously global head of events at Grass Roots before leaving in July 2011.

"What an exciting year; we have grown the business by adding eight new clients and increasing our team to 14 people, as well as continually investing in our future growth," he added.

New recruits

Among new recruits are former Grass Roots Eventcom operations manager and Sportsmark account manager Karen Brock, who has joined Touch as project lead, and Grass Roots operations manager Maria Raimondi, who has joined as event manager.

Also joining the team are Caroline Wakley, from Parexel MMS Europe, and Jo Murray.

"Our philosophy is ‘If you believe in it, make it happen’, so we sacrificed some profitability to fund growth in targeted sectors, which involved recruiting several great people who bring significant experience to add to our operational infrastructure," added Murphy.

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