Our story

We believe the marketplace demands new kinds of marketing companies that are built upon strong creativity, great analytics and a complete understanding of the digital world.

Created by pollster, strategist and marketer Mark Penn, The Stagwell Group fulfills that need. Founded on superior talent, built on teamwork and focused on delivering the best results, we are united in the desire to collaborate, innovate, and grow to deliver exceptional work for our clients.

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 The Stagwell Group is named one of AdAge’s top 25 largest global agencies

Stagwell acquires Seward Square Strategies as a part of SKDK — Mar 1
Stagwell acquires Sloane & Company as part of SKDK — Feb 20
Stagwell acquires Headliner Labs as part of ForwardPMX — Feb 14
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Stagwell acquires The Search Agency as part of ForwardPMX — Dec 13
Stagwell acquires Multiview — Apr 8
Stagwell invests $100 million in MDC Partners, Mark Penn named CEO — Mar 14
ForwardPMX is Formed

Forward3D and PMX Agency unite to form ForwardPMX, a global performance marketing agency

Stagwell acquires Rhythm as part of Code and Theory — Jan 1
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Stagwell acquires Ink — Sep 26

 Stagwell secured $260 million investment from AlpInvest Partners

Stagwell acquires ReputationDefender business unit from Reputation.com — Apr 3
Microtrends Squared

Mark Penn publishes Microtrends Squared: The New Small Forces Driving Today’s Big Disruptions

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Stagwell acquires Forward3D — Dec 7
Stagwell acquires Observatory from CAA — Sep 27
Stagwell acquires movie pilot testing assets from Nielsen, teams them with NRG — Jun 15
Stagwell acquires Scout — Apr 14
Stagwell acquires mobile research assets from Nielsen, forms HarrisX — Mar 31
Stagwell invests in MMI Agency — Mar 31
Stagwell invests in Wolfgang — Mar 27
Stagwell invests in Targeted Victory — Mar 16
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Stagwell acquires The Harris Poll — Dec 30
Stagwell acquires Hubub to anchor new Big Data and Ad Tech Unit, Stagwell Technologies — Oct 17
Stagwell and Finn Partners partner in joint venture, WyeComm — Sep 19
Stagwell invests in Finn Partners — Sep 19
Stagwell acquires PMX Agency — Aug 1
Stagwell acquires Code and Theory — Jan 6
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Stagwell acquires National Research Group (NRG) from Nielsen — Nov 16
Stagwell acquires SKDKnickerbocker — Oct 8
The Stagwell Group is Born

Penn leaves Microsoft and announces the formation of The Stagwell Group, an alternative to the traditional holding company model

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Penn Named Chief Strategy Officer

Penn was named Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer by CEO Satya Nadella

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Penn's Ad Strategy Makes a Mark

Penn was named Executive Vice President for Advertising and Strategy at Microsoft. In that role he pioneered Microsoft’s “Honestly” campaign and the award-winning Super Bowl 2014 ad “Empowering Us All”

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Penn was named Corporate Vice President for Strategic and Special Projects at Microsoft Corporation. Shortly after, he began a public relations campaign against Google, just in time for the holiday shopping season. The commercial criticized Google for biasing its shopping search results with paid advertisements- “Don’t get Scroogled”, the commercial warned.

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Penn served as Chief Strategist to Hillary Clinton’s campaign for President, focusing on substance over style in her messaging to voters. He argued Hillary would be a strong, tough leader that could get things done for the American people. He was credited with developing the famed “3AM” television ad that ran during the primary campaign.

20 07

Penn publishes Microtrends, a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller examining how small groups of people can trigger big changes in society. Specifically, Penn showed how a mere one percent of the American public, or 3 million people, can create a “microtrend” capable of launching a major business or even a new cultural movement, changing commercial, political and social landscapes.

20 06

Penn was named Worldwide CEO of Burson Marsteller, a global PR and PA firm with a global footprint of nearly 80 markets. Under his leadership, Penn tripled profits while also winning the coveted Holmes Report North American Agency of the Year award in 2011. Both PSB and Burson combined accounted for nearly $100M in EBITDA under his management.

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Tony Blair Campaign

Penn advised British Prime Minister Tony Blair and conducted polling during his successful campaign for an unprecedented third term, after President Clinton recommended Penn’s services to Blair when they met at Ronald Reagan’s funeral in 2004. Penn formulated the concept behind Blair’s campaign slogan, “Forward Not Back”, and refined it by conducting phone interviews with British swing voters.

20 01
Penn and Schoen acquired by WPP

Penn and his partners sold PSB to WPP. The firm would ultimately grow to over 80 million dollars in revenue under his leadership.

20 00
Hillary for Senate

Then-First Lady Hillary Clinton asked Penn to advise her run for the U.S. Senate in New York. Clinton followed Penn’s “Upstate Strategy” advice, winning the election. Penn served again as Clinton’s pollster in her successful 2006 Senate re-election campaign.

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Clinton Impeachment

When allegations of President Clinton’s affair first surfaced, Penn conducted polls to help the administration craft its response. Penn subsequently led the research effort monitoring Clinton’s level of public support throughout the impeachment process.

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Clinton Re-Election

During President Clinton’s 1996 re-election campaign, Penn used tactics developed for AT&T to test presidential campaign ads and created the “NeuroPersonality Poll”, a survey that blended standard political and demographic questions with lifestyle, attitudinal, and psychographic questions. Neuro Poll helped identify a new swing voter: the “soccer mom”

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Government Shutdown

Penn conducted numerous polls to understand what the political ramifications would be if the federal government were to shut down over federal spending negotiations.

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President Clinton

Penn and Schoen were hired by the Clinton Administration to help them recover from Democrat’s dramatic midterm election losses.  Polls indicated that Clinton would benefit from moving to the center, emphasizing law enforcement, balanced budgets and other issues.

Penn served as pollster to President Clinton for six years, becoming one of his most prominent and influential advisers. In 2000, The Washington Post noted that no pollster had ever become “so thoroughly integrated into the policy making operation” of a presidential administration.

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Corporate Work

Penn Schoen expanded to serve corporate consulting clients including Texaco, which was experiencing image problems due to bankruptcy and AT&T, which was fighting MCI for long-distance carrier market share. Other clients included Ford Motor Company, Merck, Verizon, BP and McDonald’s. Penn also served as a strategic advisor to Bill Gates and Microsoft during the mid-1990s

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Latin American Politics

Penn took the lessons of American politics to Latin America, where he helped elect more than a half dozen heads of state, including Venezuela’s Luis Herrera Campins, Columbia’s Virgilio Barco and Belisario Betancur, and the Dominican Republic’s Leonel Fernández.

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First Overnight Poll

During Koch’s campaign against Mario Cuomo, Penn sought a way to conduct polls more quickly than the mainframe and punch card system. He purchased a “microcomputer” kit and created a program to tabulate polls in a fraction of the time, allowing him to conduct polls on a daily basis, a tactical advantage that contributed to Koch’s eventual victory over Cuomo.

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Ed Koch Campaign

While Penn was a first-year law student at Columbia University, he and Schoen ran polls for Congressman Ed Koch’s first successful run for Mayor of New York City.

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Penn and Schoen Founded

Penn founded Penn and Schoen, now a global market research firm, with his Harvard roommate, Doug Schoen, at the offices of the Harvard Crimson.

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First Poll

Penn conducted his first poll at age 13, as a middle school student, determining that the faculty at his school was more liberal than the country at large on the issue of civil rights.