PMK BNC ADDS A VOWEL: PMK BNC, the public relations, marketing and consulting firm, can now add the title of digital agency to its list of specialties. The company has created a new digital division called Vowel. As part of the launch, PMK bought social marketing firm Spokes, which is based in Oakland, Calif.

This story first appeared in the April 14, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Vowel, which will be helmed by Joseph Assad, chief operating officer of PMK’s New York office, specializes in content development and distribution, digital and social-media strategy, custom online engagement solutions, community management, platform development, influencer marketing, measurement and analytics.

“It’s an evolution on a lot of the things we’ve been doing at PMK over the years,” Assad said of the company’s acquisition of Spokes. “It’s really a nice cohesive piece. They add something that we didn’t have. It gives us a bit of depth.”

According to Assad, Spokes especially gives PMK the ability to tap deeper into influencer marketing by identifying nontraditional social media stars outside the celebrity space. In doing so, the company will be able to reach more “eyeballs,” something that excites Assad, who noted that the overlap between social media marketing and traditional p.r. has increased.

Spokes cofounders Jeff Diamond and Matt Kennerson have been brought in as Vowel’s senior vice president and senior developer, respectively. Together, the duo has developed custom engagement experiences and influencer campaigns for leading brands such as Intel, Uniqlo, Virgin Mobile USA, and Rdio. They will join Vowel’s staff, which boasts of editorial and content experience from places such as BlackBook, Billboard, InStyle, People and Cool Hunting.

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