Ruder Finn acquires Hong Kong-based Daylight Partnership

Daylight founder David Ko to lead Ruder Finn’s regional digital arm after acquisition.

Jean Michel Dumont, David Ko and the Daylight team
Jean Michel Dumont, David Ko and the Daylight team

Ruder Finn has acquired Daylight Partnership for its competitive edge in insights and analytics including predictive analytics, influencer mapping, social listening tools, experience design, according to the companies.

For the last two years, the two companies have been collaborating on projects for multinational brands such as Prudential, Porsche, Cartier, Bayer and Nestle; and co-developed products like the SONAR social media crisis simulation system.

The move now advances Ruder Finn’s digital expertise to tackle a fundamental challenge clients face in trying to translate massive amounts of customer data into valuable information, according to the agency.

Daylight will merge with Ruder Finn’s digital arm, Ruder Finn Innovation Studios (RFI), and will be known as RFI Daylight. Daylight’s founder, David Ko, will take on the role of its senior vice president and lead a team of 50 spanning China, Hong Kong, Singapore and India while reporting to Jean-Michel Dumont, chairman of Ruder Finn Asia.

The new RFI Daylight will also lead a global analytics offering staffed in both Asia and the US.

"RFI found what we do very complementary with what they're doing," said Ko, whose clients include Digital Domain, Fitbit, Lee Kum Kee, L'Oréal, New World Development, Prudential, Sino Group, Sogo and Swire Properties.

"By connecting advancements in computational linguistics and machine learning to new and emerging digital channels and the Internet of Things, Ruder Finn will be able to deliver hyper-relevant insights and activations to clients, both on a macro and micro level," added Ruder Finn global CEO Kathy Bloomgarden.

Ko's career path has seen him work as a practice lead for Edelman and Hill & Knowlton, then go on to found Shout Communications, which was acquired by WE Worldwide (previously known as Waggener Edstrom). In 2013, after eight years with WE, he left and established Daylight.

"I'm really, really excited because Ruder Finn is one of the very few remaining independent global comms agencies in the world," Ko told Campaign Asia-Pacific. "And that independence gives us a lot of flexibility to innovate and really move the craft forward. So this is one opportunity I couldn't say no to. Even though, four years in, we're probably a little young to be acquired, I really wanted to work with the Ruder Finn people."

The areas that Ko will be working on under RFI Daylight will centre on immersive storytelling and experiential marketing, using virtual-reality and mixed-reality technologies for branding campaigns, he said.

Apart from luxury and retail, healthcare is another Ruder Finn forte that got him excited. "We are already talking about developing products like chatbots for public education," he said. "That's another huge area that's going to keep us very busy for the next couple of years."

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