Baltimore-based integrated marketing agency idfive announced it is expanding its strategic research capabilities and service offerings through the integration of ethnographic research firm, Context-Based Research Group. The integration of Context-Based Research Group comes as part of idfive’s strategic growth initiative, which has allowed the agency to grow by 208% over the past 5 years, building its team from 12 employees to 37 and expanding its client base nationally.

According to a release, the move allows idfive to expand its research operation and offer current and future clients ethnographic research methods that uncover unprecedented insights into user experience, market analysis, design thinking, and consumer preferences.

“We’ve made significant and deliberate investments to lay the ground work for the company we want to become,” said Andres Zapata, idfive’s EVP of strategy and co-founder. “This is more than an expansion of our services — it’s a recommitment to our founding principle to deliver our clients informed design.”

Context-Based Research Group was founded in 1999 by Dr. Robbie and Belinda Blinkoff in collaboration with Baltimore advertising executive, Chuck Donofrio. The partnership was one of the first on the East Coast to demonstrate the impact cultural anthropology and ethnography could have in understanding consumer behavior. Dr. Blinkoff previously worked with idfive Chief Strategist Dr. Sean Carton, Director of Marketing Chris Smith, and Zapata in the late 90’s and early 2000’s at ad agency Carton Donofrio Partners.

Tech innovation agency Mindgrub has added Mark Milleker as senior vice president of human capital management at its headquarters in Baltimore. According to a release, Milleker “is an innovative human capital leader with expertise in driving organizational development, transformation and change. Mark has a proven track record for leading human resources initiatives and efforts to improve organizations.” He will work closely with the Mindgrub leadership team to execute on human capital and talent management strategies with a focus on employee engagement, talent acquisition, employee retention, performance management, employee and leader learning and development, career progression, total rewards, and communication.

Mount Washington based Warschawski announced the addition of Brandon Chiat as a senior associate, responsible for day-to-day account management activities, including media relations, social media, content development, and digital marketing. His addition brings Warschawski’s count of Google certified professionals to seven, one of the highest concentrations in the region, according to a release. Prior to joining Warschawski, Chiat was the editorial director at NewsUp, an interactive media company.

Also at Warschawski, Gabriella Tancona joins as junior associate after participating in the agency’s three-month Assistant Associate (AA) Program, which provides hands-on experience working as part of an account team. In her new role, Gabriella will coordinate and execute strategic communications campaigns, media relations, social media efforts, and assist with day-to-day account activities. Prior to joining Warschawski, Gabriella worked for Salisbury University’s public relations office, and completed internships at Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Eastern Shore and Neff Associates in Philadelphia, among others.

— Compiled by Capitol Communicator Baltimore Editor Jeffrey Davis, APR of the Baltimore office of PR and strategic communications firm Van Eperen.

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