KANSAS CITY, MO—Integrated agency Barkley has created a new business unit, Crossroads, which will help brands identify why they exist and connect to like-minded customers.
Mike Swenson, who started Barkley Public Relations in 1987, will be president of Crossroads. The company begins with a staff of 13 partners and several clients, including Lee Jeans, ITC, Sonic Drive-In, March of Dimes and Susan G Komen 3-Day for the Cure.
“Since Barkley opened its public relations division nearly a quarter century ago, the communications world has drastically changed,” says Swenson. “Today, we all live in glass houses with technology more pervasive than ever. Brands constantly find themselves at a crossroads, deciding why, what, when and how to communicate.”
Barkley will continue as a full-service, integrated marketing agency. Crossroads will take a more focused and streamlined approach to helping brands mold, shape and protect their reputations.
“Smart brands understand the best approach is to develop real relationships with their audiences that allow the brand to communicate and celebrate successes and in times of trouble, be not only forgiven, but supported,” Swenson says. “This relationship is built on and sustained by the public’s understanding of an organization’s purpose beyond what they sell. It is built on an organization’s demonstrated character and actions over time.”
Crossroads will offer “purpose-driven strategic counsel,” traditional and social media relations, crisis management, internal communications and successful, award-winning cause branding expertise.
Like the brands they counsel, Crossroads partners are also giving back to the community. Each partner has been challenged with selecting a charity to support individually, while the team bands together to tackle larger charitable projects.