Founded in 2000, Benson Marketing Group is a leading marketing agency for wine and spirits brands that provides a wide range of services including digital marketing and advertising, branding strategy, media and influencer partnerships, PR, and advocacy marketing. Benson Marketing Group has worked with many well-known wine and spirits companies in California and around the globe, helping them to develop and implement successful marketing strategies to drive sales and build brand awareness. With an expertise in B2C marketing, the agency has played a leadership role in building awareness for the wine industry’s DTC sales channel that now results in $4B+ annual sales.

Acquisition Pursuit: The Road to Retirement

After 20+ years of building and growing Benson Marketing Group, founder Jeremy Benson was ready to spend more time with family and eager to catch up on traveling and skiing. Jeremy reached out to Barney with his sights set on finding a business partner that would grow the agency’s footprint and boost exposure for his team by enhancing their skill set and capabilities and expanding their resources. The ideal buyer was a larger agency that could further scale and cross-sell Benson Marketing Group’s services across an already highly tenured and established client base and into prospective markets.

Strong Industry Niche, Established Reputation and a Highly Tenured Client Base

Barney was excited to work with an agency that services a niche client base and has a strong legacy in its client vertical. Benson Marketing Group’s specialized experience and PR capabilities in the wine industry had allowed the agency to create deep relationships in this niche market and stand out from the competition. The agency’s excellence had garnered attention, showcased by its recognition as a top wine and spirits marketing agency and PR agency by international wine, trade and business publications and networks.

Seeking a Strategic Partner

Tapping into Barney’s huge pool of qualified buyers and industry specialization, we started the search for a buyer that would propel Jeremy and his team into a new chapter.  Barney understood that Jeremy was looking not only for a buyer that would continue growing the reputation and legacy of Benson Marketing Group, but also for a partner that would be a strong cultural fit for his team. The acquisition process led to the discovery of The Brand Leader, a “people-first” creative agency with international scope specializing in strategy, design, and development that prided itself on its commitment to integrity, honor, and exemplary work ethic. The synergies between The Brand Leader and Benson Marketing Group were evident from the get-go, from both a capabilities and cultural perspective.

Leading Advertising and Branding Agency Focused on Rapid-Growth Companies 

The Brand Leader creative agency delivers a range of services, including brand strategy development, brand identity design, website design and social media management, to clients across various industries, with an emphasis on building brand stories for fast-growing businesses. Best of all, The Brand Leader’s demonstrated commitment to culture and employee well-being, as evidenced by multiple ‘Best Place to Work’ awards, was directly aligned with Jeremy’s commitment to his team and would ensure a successful post-acquisition experience.

Through an acquisition with Benson Marketing Group, The Brand Leader could provide PR capabilities to their impressive client base, while also expanding into the sought-after wine and spirits space. Both agencies displayed a strong passion for delivering tangible results to their clients, and right away found that their work ethics were compatible, creating a strategic synergy that was sure to propel the business to the next level.

“Working with Jeremy was an absolute dream. He is a founder who is so passionate in the agency that he built from the ground-up, that as a result, has developed a notable legacy and a well-established reputation in the wine industry. Based on the qualities that Jeremy was looking for in his ideal buyer: cultural alignment, understanding of the industry niche, and an ability to grow and scale the agency – we knew that this would be an M&A success story! Once we met with the leadership team at The Brand Leader, we knew that these two agencies would make a perfect fit.”

Molly McCartan, Director at Barney