NEW YORK—Almost a year after its merger with corporate and public affairs firm Public Strategies, venerable public relations agency Hill & Knowlton is rebranding as Hill & Knowlton Strategies, a move designed to reflect an increased emphasis on the kind of strategic communications advice that has a measurable impact on clients’ business objectives.
Since the merger, H&K has expanded its research and insight capabilities, building on PSI’s strength in that space, and has adopted the “fifth seat” philosophy—the proposition that public relations advisors should join accountants, lawyers, management consultants and bankers as key strategic advisers—long espoused by Public Strategies founder and chief executive Jack Martin.
According to Martin, now global chairman and chief executive officer of Hill+Knowlton Strategies: “The new brand points to a shifting market for our clients, one with an explosion of information and a revolution in the ability of almost everyone to find that information. This democratization of information is fundamentally changing the way they do business.
“Research — providing metrics, analytics and insights — is vital to helping our clients understand the public,” said Martin. “In the political and consumer worlds, participants are forced to study the public and adapt accordingly. If they don’t, they lose. Corporations, too, must keep up, as the public is always evolving as a participant in the marketplace.”
Ken Luce, the firm’s global chief operating officer, says the rebranding and repositioning were introduced to clients and key staff at a series of focus groups and well received, particularly among clients who recognized the need for a more strategic approach, even to the most basic of public relations activities.
“Today, even the decision about which media to target with a press release can have strategic implications,” he says.
The rebranding takes effect December 1.