Edinburgh based Ambergreen has joined forces with one of the largest independent digital marketing agencies in North America.
When Canadian digital media agency DAC Group was exploring growth opportunities in Europe, Edinburgh-based digital marketing specialist Ambergreen was a natural fit.
"DAC is headquartered in Toronto, Canada and has about 400 people across 16 offices,” explains Tino Nombro, who co-founded Ambergreen towards the end of the dotcom crash in 2001.
"They had a footprint stretching from Vancouver to Toronto, Montreal and then down to New York – but just focusing on North America. When they looked at how to expand, they were very keen on Europe. Their first acquisition was in London in 2014. They were looking for a partner in Scotland and were recommended to come and speak to us."
Tino Nombro, co-founder of Ambergreen:
I think you’d struggle to find a similar quality of life, even beyond the UK...Edinburgh is also quite a hotbed of agencies, and successful technology startups. So it’s an attractive location for clients.
After a number of conversations over a year, the two companies decided to join forces. DAC Group’s acquisition of Ambergreen – which is based in Edinburgh’s George Street with about 20 staff – makes the Scottish firm part of one of the largest independent digital marketing agencies in North America, with a growing footprint in the US, Canada and Europe.
The group now has a presence in Germany, Spain and France as well as the UK.
“The chemistry was a good match,” Nombro says. “We spoke the same language and there were similarities in culture. They also had unique proprietary technology that we thought would be great for our clients and help us stand out in the UK against other agencies.”
DAC’s ‘local presence management’ tool helps clients manage their local visibility and presence, and compliments Ambergreen’s strengths in digital strategy, search engine optimisation, digital media, content marketing, and research and analytics.
“As a digital agency, what we’re always trying to do is help our clients find their customers and engage with them,” Nombro explains. “So we do quite a lot of research that helps us determine what people do online, the different types of behavior, how people use websites, how they arrive at them and what converts visits into sales. Then we build a strategy to help our clients find more of these customers, sell more of their products and reach new markets.”
Ambergreen’s clients include accountancy group PwC, luxury chocolate chain Hotel Chocolat and long haul travel specialist Turquoise Holidays. MMO games (massively multiplayer online) and online learning are also key sectors, while DAC’s clients include Starbucks, fashion retailer New Look and bed and mattress store Dreams.
Location, location, location
“Being based in Edinburgh has helped Ambergreen recruit,” says Nombro, who runs the business with co-founder and director Grant Whiteside.
The team includes specialists covering search engine optimisation, analytics and research, content creation and paid media such as ‘pay per click’ and display advertising. There are also account handlers managing client relations.
“There’s a better quality of life and nicer standard of living in Edinburgh for people to come and work for us,” Nombro says. “I think you’d struggle to find a similar quality of life, even beyond the UK. In some of the big cities where companies like to do business, it’s difficult to juggle family life, personal life and work life the way that you can here.”
“We’ve also found clients love to come and see us. We’ve always had offices around the city centre, so we can take clients to nice restaurants and show them some of the festival. Edinburgh is also quite a hotbed of agencies, and successful technology startups. So it’s an attractive location for clients.”
The son of a Danish mother and Mauritian father, Nombro was brought up outside Edinburgh says he ‘fell into’ digital by accident in the 1990s and ended up as the brand and marketing manager at Edinburgh-based AllHotels.com, an early online booking website.
As part DAC group, the focus going forward is very much on growth. “Our clients understand the benefit of being part of a bigger organisation, including getting access to tools that we wouldn’t be able to afford on our own,” Nombro says. “We’re very much part of a group that has ambitions to grow and become a bigger global business – and that’s really the core focus just now.”