The Cedar Rapids, IA higher education marketing and research firm Stamats just announced the acquisition of the local design firm The Thorburn Group. As traditional colleges and universities face competition from for-profit schools, Stamats has taken this step to help raise their profile in the market. “Traditional colleges and universities are facing a perfect storm of challenges,” Guy Wendler, president and CEO of Stamats said. “They have been hit simultaneously by unfavorable demographic trends, higher scrutiny of the cost of higher education and increasing competition from alternative education delivery systems.”
Wendler said the trends are only expected to intensify. “We’re elevating our focus on branding to help schools use this unprecedented period of change to strengthen themselves, focus on value and better connect with their students and communities,” Wendler said. Bill Thorburn, president and founder of The Thorburn Group, said the merger creates a powerful combination. “Stamats brings a wealth of knowledge in higher education,” Thorburn said. “Our firm brings leading-edge brand creative and extensive consumer brand marketing.”
The Thorburn Group, will retain its name and Minneapolis office, operating as a business unit within Stamats. The studio also will continue to serve consumer brands in addition to colleges and universities through Stamats. Stamats was founded in 1923 as a promotion and advertising agency for Midwest retail stores. The company has worked in higher education research and marketing for six decades. Stamats has annual revenues of $25 million and 140 employees with its headquarters in Cedar Rapids and an office in San Francisco.