Empathy has appointed Stephen Rust as managing director of its new shopper research unit Empathy Connects.
Rust joins from V360°, part of the Visualise Group, where he was joint MD. In tandem with the move, Empathy and V360° have formed a new strategic partnership which will see the two companies formalise their existing relationship to provide complementary services to their respective clients.
The partnership between Empathy and V360° is an evolution of a seven-year relationship which has seen them work together on a wide range of projects for clients such as Bord Bia, Kerryfoods and Freshways Food Co., in addition to Pharma Focus, a syndicated research service for the Irish Pharmacy industry.
“I am excited to announce Stephen as Managing Director of our new shopper research unit, ‘Empathy Connects’. We have worked with Stephen and V360° on a range of very successful projects for many years, and have continuously been impressed by his energy, expertise and commercial understanding. This appointment reflects our continued investment in leading-edge research methods, expertise and technology. I am also delighted to formalise our existing relationship with V360° to provide complementary services to our respective clients, and I look forward to continuing to work with them in the years ahead,” says Empathy Group MD, Declan O’Reilly.
Eoghan Phelan, managing director of V360°, adds: “Having worked with Empathy for a number of years, we have seen first-hand their continued investment in their business, and the timing was right for the two companies to work even closer together. Empathy’s research offering will continue to complement and enhance our insight to execution service offering across our practice areas of Brand, Digital, Shopper and Retailer. We look forward to working with Stephen and the wider Empathy team on many projects in the coming months and years.”
Meanwhile, Stephen Rust adds: “I am very excited to lead this new business unit with Empathy. ‘Empathy Connects’ will complement the agency’s rapidly growing research service with leading-edge shopper focused methods, expertise and technologies. The main focus of this new business unit is to support the development of our clients’ brands, by connecting them with a real understanding of how shoppers feel, think and behave along the path to purchase and usage. In addition to forming this unit, the formalising of a partnership with V360° will ensure we can give clients the relevant mix of services they require, and I look forward to continue working with Eoghan and the V360° team.”