BerlinRosen acquires data and analytics agency Message Lab

The deal marks the sixth majority investment by the firm over the last year.

by Jess Ruderman for PR Week, October 03, 2023

NEW YORK: BerlinRosen Holdings has acquired content, data and analytics agency Message Lab. 

Message Lab combines journalism, editorial experiences and content intelligence to help clients find relevant topics and angles to tell credible and effective stories. The integration of Message Lab into BerlinRosen Holdings will give the network owned content, proprietary data and analytics to help clients reach their target audiences, the agency said in a statement. 

The deal, which was effective on September 15, marks the sixth majority investment by BerlinRosen Holdings in the last year.

“As media continues to evolve, clients need real-time analytics and scroll-stopping content to help their message break through. Our feeds are all full of irrelevant content and with the advent of AI, that's only going to get worse,” said BerlinRosen cofounder and principal Jonathan Rosen. 

“More and more clients are developing their own content platforms or need to develop their own content platforms, but there’s a huge gap in the market on measurability, on efficacy and on quality, and Message Lab is the best in the business.”

BerlinRosen was inspired by the work Message Lab did for client SoftBank in creating an interactive data experience that can be altered to single out specific regions, sectors and years of information. 

Companies are sitting on “mountains of actionable, relevant data,” according to Rosen. The purchase of Message Lab is meant to complement existing data by helping clients, companies and organizations turn the information out in a way that users can manipulate, analyze and visualize. 

Message Lab CEO Ben Worthen (pictured below; photo credit: Message Lab) will continue at the helm of the agency in addition to leading platform-wide efforts for content analytics across BerlinRosen with his team. Message Lab will retain its name and leadership structure. No layoffs or client conflicts occurred as a result of the deal.

“We’re about five and a half years old and we have been trying to do something a little bit different, which is world-class editorial content with a data-driven approach to engagement and effectiveness,” Worthen said. 

“We’ve done a lot of investing in our development of data analytics capabilities, but there's so much more that Message Lab is capable of,” he said. “Being a part of BerlinRosen I hope is going to turbocharge what we can do both in terms of expanding toolkits, what kind, how we think and what we can make.”

Financial details of the deal were not disclosed. 

Message Lab joins five other firms recently added to BerlinRosen Holdings network, including tech and comms shop Inkhouse, comms agency M18, brand consultancy and comms firm Derris, strategic comms and public affairs agency Glen Echo Group and diversity, equity and inclusion consulting firm Onward

The agency also expanded its European footprint with a new office in Amsterdam in March. 

Rosen said that the agency has been “bullish” about pursuing an earned-first mindset and continuing to stay on offense to bring together leading agencies in their respective verticals. 

The addition of Message Lab is a “new chapter” for the agency and will serve as a combining asset across all of BerlinRosen Holdings network of firms. 

“It’s where the world is going,” Rosen said. “As clients think about what is the most compelling way to tell their stories, data journalism that is done with cutting edge UX and strong analytics is going to be the future of sticky traffic for media companies and for clients and brands.” 

Oakland, California-based Message Lab was founded in 2017. The agency’s editorial team is made up of former journalists from The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Bloomberg and other outlets. 

Clients include Google, the Gates Foundation, SoftBank and ServiceNow. 

BerlinRosen is a New York-based agency servicing clients such as Bloomberg Media, Samsung, Glaad, Lincoln Center and Julliard. The agency was named PRWeek’s 2023 Outstanding Large Agency of the Year.