Unlike the majority of its competitors in the technology public relations arena, San Mateo’s A&R Partners has capabilities that extend far beyond product publicity, into the realms of issues management and strategic messaging. A typical A&R campaign focuses on opinion leaders and on measurable business objectives such as raising visibility, building momentum, and increasing market advantage. Assignments range from new product introductions (the firm this year helped introduce an entire new product line for client Palm, Inc.) to the introduction of new companies (MightyWords, a new initiative from Fatbrain.com) to media relations for IPOs (10 this year).
Clients are organized into five divisions: mobile computing; network and Internet infrastructure; e-business software; Internet and consumer technology; and computer systems/imaging. Each group is led by one of A&R’s seven partners, and staffed by individuals with industry-specific expertise and diverse experience—from journalists to engineers to marketing strategists. The agency also maintains centralized media relations and research teams.
The approach is paying off. A&R, which has opened additional offices in New York and Denver, saw revenues rise to $7.5 million in 2000, up better than 30 percent on 1999, thanks to new business from clients such as Agilent Technologies, BrightLink, Redback Networks, and Vindigo, and ongoing assignments from clients such as AdForce, Be, Immersion Corporation, and Palm. The firm has also strengthened its management team with the promotion of Ron Kalb and Lisa Auslen to a partnership team that gives A&R a senior cadre as strong as any of its competitors.