E*Trade's Di Chiro Launches New Firm
Charting the future of public relations
Holmes Report

E*Trade's Di Chiro Launches New Firm

Thunder Factory, an integrated marketing and strategic communications firm, will be focused on “closing sales and driving revenues.”

Paul Holmes

SAN MATEO—In his time as a client of public relations at Visa International and E*Trade, Patrick Di Chiro became aware of several common shortcomings.
Says Di Chiro, “I saw an extraordinary waste of resources on clients’ behalf. I saw a failure to take advantage of the opportunities provided by new technology and new media. I saw a reluctance to focus on closing sales and driving revenues.” Di Chiro became convinced that he could offer something better, and so this week he announced the launch of his new agency, Thunder Factory, which opens its doors with $1 million in fees and 10 employees.
Thunder Factory, an integrated marketing and strategic communications firm, will be focused on “closing sales and driving revenues,” and will be staffed by a group of experienced marketing, advertising and PR professionals who “share a vision to reclaim the business-building legacy” of the marketing communications business. But it will also have ambitious growth plans. Di Chiro says he wants to create “a mini Omnicom for the 21st century.”
Thunder Factory offers a wide range of consulting and communications agency services and an integrated model designed to help clients gain market traction quickly. The firm is structured to provide clients with day-to-day attention from senior, business-focused marketing executives who are “doers as well as strategists.”
“If a marketing firm is not focused on increasing the sales and revenues of its clients, then it’s probably wasting the clients’ money,” says Di Chiro, who will be president and CEO. “Our goal is simple:  To increase our clients’ top-line and bottom-line results, and build their brands for long term market leadership.”
Thunder Factory’s operating philosophy, which it calls Strategic Business Creation, focuses on counseling clients to do implement the right mix of integrated marketing strategies and business-building tactics to create new revenue opportunities for clients. The firm is working with software companies to develop and offer a range of business-building marketing applications that exploit the power of technology to strengthen, streamline and accelerate the marketing process and is building a new research product that uses technology to connect and engage immediately with highly sought after—but traditionally hard to reach—customer segments.
Di Chiro, who most recently served as chief communications officer for E*Trade, will be joined by Thomas Edwards, chairman, who previously served as president of catalog company SkyMall Ventures; Howard Green, executive vice president, who has helped crate and build franchise markets at companies such as Apple, IBM, and Sprint; and Greg Xenakis, executive vice president, was group PR manager at Sun Microsystems.
Di Chiro says the firm has already added several clients, including Prudential, Visa International, ZANTAZ, mPower, Loyola Marymount University, and the Silicon Valley Art Museum.
“We think our ideal client is a medium sized company or a medium sized division of a large company,” says Di Chiro. “For Prudential, for example, our brief was to help them launch a new multi-channel consumer finance offering. They wanted someone who could work with them and come up with a fresh perspective.”
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