- Gary Dinges American-Statesman Staff
One of Austin’s largest and best-known public relations firms just got even bigger.
Elizabeth Christian Public Relations said Thursday that it has acquired Wyatt Brand. As part of the deal, financial terms of which weren’t disclosed, Wyatt Brand’s co-founders David Wyatt and Rachel Wyatt will join Christian’s firm.
Christian said her agency, which now has about 25 people after adding the Wyatt Brand team, has worked to beef up its video and digital offerings in recent years. But branding – one of the Wyatt Brand’s specialties – was an area where she sometimes found herself having to refer work to others. Not anymore.
“People want to make one call and be done,” she said. “Elizabeth Christian Public Relations has been able to offer a full-service public relations experience with that one exception. We’ve never had real capability in branding.”
The two firms have worked together on projects over the years, and the deal came together “organically,” David Wyatt said.
“It made sense to me,” he said. “I’ve known Elizabeth Christian Public Relations for a long time. I feel like I’m coming home again.”
David Wyatt, who will serve as a director at Elizabeth Christian Public Relations, said the transaction will allow him to drop some of the less-desirable tasks a small business owner is often forced to handle, such as accounting, and devote his attention to what he loves most. David Wyatt and Rachel Wyatt created Wyatt Brand 12 years ago.
“I wanted to get back to focusing all my energy on the creative side,” David Wyatt said.
In her new role, Rachel Wyatt will serve as creative director for Elizabeth Christian Public Relations.
Clients of Elizabeth Christian Public Relations, which was founded in 1995, include Google, St. David’s HealthCare, the Austin Board of Realtors, Texas Mutual Insurance Co. and Precourt Sports Ventures, the entity working to bring Major League Soccer to Austin.
As word of the deal spread, Elizabeth Christian Public Relations was already hearing from new and existing clients eager to explore new possibilities, said Kristin Marcum, who was named president of the firm as part of Thursday’s announcement. She had most recently been chief operating officer.
“We’ve had a mutual admiration for each other for a long time,” Marcum said. “We’ve always been friendly competitors.”
While Christian said she has no plans to retire at this time, Marcum, who first worked for Elizabeth Christian Public Relations as an intern and has been with the agency since 2003, is being positioned as her eventual successor.
“She was a superstar from the minute we first met her,” Christian said. “She became an obvious choice to grow through the ranks.”
In an industry where turnover is notoriously high, Marcum said she’s had no desire to leave Elizabeth Christian Public Relations and is excited about the future.
“If you’ve found the perfect place, why leave?” she said.