NEW YORK — Ruder Finn has acquired Peppercomm, the change communications-focused firm established by Steve Cody in 1995. 

The deal adds Peppercomm's $9m in 2021 revenues and 29 staffers across New York, San Francisco and London to Ruder Finn's global footprint. In a statement, Ruder Finn CEO Kathy Bloomgarden noted that Peppercomm's 'change agent' approach aligned well with her firm's existing capabilities.

"Peppercomm's unique change agent approach creates powerful synergies with Ruder Finn's 'what's next' vision," said Bloomgarden. "Their combination of powerful emotional mindset and sentiment analytics, combined with breakthrough creative, expands on and deepens our core capabilities, while their unique understanding of how to leverage humor in business gives us a new competitive edge in our ability to break down communications barriers, stimulate thinking and drive change. Peppercomm represents a significant milestone in our ongoing strategy to fuel strong organic growth with transformative, future-focused acquisitions."

Peppercomm employees will continue to work under the firm's brand name and be led by Cody, who will maintain his title as CEO and report to Ruder Finn CEO Bloomgarden. There will be no redundancies or layoffs.

Under the leadership of Cody, Peppercomm has established a portfolio of clients that includes Dole Sunshine Company, Mini Cooper, Xero, and trivago, with work spanning earned, owned and paid media, employee engagement, crisis and issues management, influencer programs, executive visibility and social and digital campaigns. 

The firm's change agent training programs uses the science of humor to support stakeholder engagement, while other proprietary services include sentiment mapping tool, the Content I.Quity creative engine and CrisisRX crisis preparedness training. 

The acquisition is the latest in a series of recent deals by Ruder Finn to build on its capabilities in healthcare, technology, creative and change management. Other acquisitions include UK-based health tech firm Mantis (2021), creative and production studio Osmosis Films (2020), healthcare agency Jacobstahl (2020), change management and internal communications agency SPI Group (2019), and digital marketing firm RLA Collective (2018).

The acquisition follows three consecutive years of sustained revenue growth for Ruder Finn, with 28% growth in 2021 and growth of more than 45% since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. Ruder Finn reported global revenue of $112m for 2021.