Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Score One for the Independents

Tech bellwether Intel just made a surprising move that validates the importance of independently owned public relations, advertising and marketing communications agencies.

For the past four years, the company’s multi-million dollar advertising account has been managed by McCann Erickson. They are one of the largest ad agencies in the world and are owned by Interpublic Group, a publicly traded, global consortium of communications firms. Through McCann and Interpublic, Intel had access to an extensive pool of resources with the ability to execute on every continent (except Antarctica, of course).

Yet, Intel just tapped San Francisco-based shop Venables Bell & Partners as its ad firm, citing the agency’s exceptional work and a desire to work with a group of agencies rather than a single network. The company even came up with a nifty name for its approach – “open-source” model of relationships.

There are those who argue that independent, lifestyle PR/communications firms will be unable to compete in the market. As the CEO of one I obviously have quite a different take.

At Strategic Communications Group (Strategic), we’ve made two principles the core of our business: 1) great work for great clients; and 2) a commitment to work/life balance for employees. We recognize that we will sacrifice growth opportunities and that Strategic may not be the best fit for every client. Yet, for the right company at the right time we will excel.

Kudos to Intel for recognizing and rewarding performance from one of its agencies, rather than merely sticking with the same old.

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