Marilyn Horn (left to right) and Georgella Muirhead of Van Dyke Horn Public Relations’ firm are partnering up with Jeff Lambert and Michelle Olson at Lambert Global.
A new strategic partnership is aligning in two local public relations and communications agency firms to further impact multicultural messaging in Detroit and nationally.
Detroit-based Van Dyke Horn Public Relations (VDH) and Grand Rapids-based Lambert Global (Lambert) announced today that they have entered into a business alliance to combine VDH’s relations and community engagement expertise with Lambert’s leading integrated communications and investor relations practice, according to a press release. VDH, the largest minority public relations agency in Michigan, has held a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) Certification for the last 24 years.
Joining VDH’s current owner, President, and CFO Marilyn Horn, Lambert will invest a less-than-majority stake in VDH. VDH will also remain as a minority-owned and managed entity, with all day-to-day operations and management VDH-controlled.
Georgella Muirhead, VDH CEO, told the Michigan Chronicle in an exclusive interview that this alliance and partnership is bringing the best of both worlds together.
“This is a strategic alliance,” Muirhead told the Chronicle, adding that the two companies have strengths that will help each other. “Lambert (has a) wonderful public relations agency. … But they really didn’t have a strong multicultural marketing partner.”
Muirhead added that Lambert does well in national contracts and can help boost VDH and more and will make the joint companies “a very competitive organization.”
According to a press release, collaborative projects between the two organizations will be co-led by Lambert CEO Michelle Olson, APR, and Chairman Jeff Lambert in concert with Marilyn Horn, VDH president, and CFO, and Muirhead.
Both firms were founded in 1998, and both are local-turned national success stories, in which they rose in ranks from startups to industry leaders spanning public relations, community engagement, investor relations, integrated marketing, corporate communications, and multi-cultural marketing. The two firms have shared clients and campaigns over the years in the non-profit and corporate sectors. This alliance makes double the impact, Muirhead said.
“It’s both a historic moment and a forward-thinking moment,” she said of the collaboration.
The vast number of services now offered by the Lambert-VDH alliance include everything from community engagement, internal and corporate communications to diversity consulting, organizational development, multi-level, multi-cultural marketing and integrated marketing that covers what is duppbed the “new majority”–people of color, women, and underrepresented stakeholders.
VDH will also enhance even further its record of bringing on board members who are women and diverse candidates and can bring a unique perspective to their positions.
“In the communications field, where innovation and adaptation are essential to (serving) our clients, the credibility our agency has earned with clients and communities is an asset that we work constantly to develop and grow in new ways. That means being open to bold collaborations and the possibilities that they create, “said Marilyn Horn, president, and CFO of VDH. “This partnership with Lambert strengthens the foundational values of this agency, as they were established by Georgella Muirhead and Bob Berg, to serve the region we call home, and it amplifies our ability to apply the lessons we’ve learned along the way to new challenges, new methods and new relationships across Michigan and beyond.”
“As an agency, we’ve earned a reputation for integrity and leadership in the Detroit area, as well as work we’ve done with regional and statewide partners, for more than two decades in community and multi-cultural engagement, said Muirhead in the release. “We believe that our record of success will serve us well as we broaden our portfolio to include more public company board rooms, national brands, and major institutions outside the state.”
“We’ve been minoring in DEI consulting and multi-cultural marketing, but this is an opportunity to major in it and to help the Van Dyke Horn team scale their services nationally and into fast-growing sectors like private equity, public companies, and ESG mandates,” said Michelle Olson, APR, CEO of Lambert. “This investment and partnership reflect the heart of our agency, it was part of my platform as PRSA National Board Chair, and I’m so fired up to put my words into action as part of the VDH team.”
Lambert founder and chairman Jeff Lambert also said that he founded the firm with a focus on growing the company’s Return on Equity as a business metric, and received much more.
“This has expanded to also measuring the return on equity in our representation, our inclusion, in the clients we serve, and in our investments,” Lambert said. “This partnership – and our national consulting on diversity and multi-cultural marketing – is us doubling down on our commitment to be catalysts for change for our clients and any organization with the desire for growth.”
Lambert is also a partner and minority equity owner in Hispanic-owned brand strategy, consulting, and multi-cultural marketing firm 9thWonder.
Muirhead also told the Chronicle that she wants to emphasize that she and her business partner are two strong African American women who are continuing to be a positive voice in the community.
“(That is) something we take very seriously,” Muirhead said, adding that her organization would not join a business alliance with another organization unless they believed in it. “We wanted to have more opportunities, make more money — but do it in a very straightforward, positive way. We are just good businesswomen and I hope people recognize and accept that.”