The AHA brand strategy and creative agency announced this week it has been acquired by New York marketing and communications firm FINN Partners, effective Feb. 1.
AHA, a women-owned business with its headquarters in Vancouver, is one of the largest independent marketing agencies in the Portland metro area. The staff of 52 have all made the transition with the company, said AHA’s founder and chief executive Betsy Henning. There were no staff reductions or layoffs. Henning will continue to manage the office in Vancouver.
“We don’t expect many changes at all in our local office,” Henning told The Columbian. Henning’s team just opened its new location at 1207 Washington St. in downtown Vancouver.
“We continue to operate out of that office. Nothing about our staffing is changing,” she said. “I don’t think we’ll necessarily see any real changes. We will operate as AHA under the FINN Partners brand.”
Henning will be joining FINN as a managing partner of the firm’s new Global Internal Communications and Employee Engagement practice to take advantage of the increased demand for internal communications and employee engagement.
The practice area will be a new one for FINN but AHA’s been working in that realm for 20 to 25 years. It’s a personal passion for Henning.
The transition comes “at a time when there is so much to be explored and that needs to be changed and redefined about how employees and employers come together. And that’s office space; that’s transparency; that’s a sense of purpose and meaning,” said Henning.
“It’s a very exciting time for us as an agency and for me personally and for FINN Partners to be able to open up that area of business for their firm.”
“AHA and FINN are perfectly matched on so many levels,” said Peter Finn, founding managing partner and chief executive at FINN Partners, in a statement to the press. “We share the same core values and purpose-driven approach.”
Finn pointed to AHA’s work in the financial and technology sectors, which he said will add to two of the New York company’s fastest-growing sectors.
“Most importantly, they bring highly coveted, specialized expertise in internal communications and employee engagement programs as well as communications to support talent recruitment and retention.
“During the pandemic, businesses have put increased emphasis on these services and now FINN will be able to provide strategic counsel and creative services to meet this growing need, among current clients and a broad range of prospects,” said Finn.
FINN acquired another Portland-area marketing firm several years ago.
“We join FINN already having a presence in Portland and then several offices up and down the West Coast,” said Henning.
In the short term, the company will continue to operate as AHA but will eventually operate more fully under the FINN Partners name.
Henning sees multiple benefits in AHA’s acquisition.
“For our employees, they now have access to a global company’s resources and career opportunities and client relationships and engagements that just go far beyond what we as a small company could do,” said Henning.
Clients, meanwhile, will get an extra set of services from FINN that AHA hasn’t historically offered.
“We also just get the infrastructure, security and stability of a larger organization. In an age where cybersecurity is a concern, that’s a very expensive proposition for a small business. But the scale of FINN allows us to provide a level of sophistication and security that we alone would really struggle to provide,” said Henning.
Henning wants people to know that AHA will continue to be a contributing presence in the community.
“The FINN Partners’ commitment to local communities was one of the reasons I chose them,” she added. “Their values around supporting local communities matches mine.”