Historically best known for its work in the agribusiness and broader B2B categories, driven from its Midwestern hubs in Chicago and Milwaukee, CKPR (formerly known as Cramer-Krasselt) expanded into consumer public relations in a big way in 2003 with its acquisition of New York’s Nichol & Company. The move gave CKPR a highly regarded beachhead in the nation’s largest public relations market—in addition to offices in Orlando and Phoenix—and firmly established it as one of the largest integrated firms in the nation, part of the fourth largest independent communications group in the country, one that has done an impressive job of enabling the marketing disciplines to work together without subordinating PR thinking to the advertising side of the business.
The extra intellectual muscle provided by the C-K advertising operation enables CKPR to delve deeper into brand strategy than many of its peers. The firm employs a two-part planning process called Bridging, which takes target insights and leads the account team to “the magnetic place in a brand,” providing a focal point for communications recommendations. The firm then applies its Strategy Amplified Planning process, which applies solutions based on traditional PR tools, as well as the suite of integrated tools available through C-K.
Revenues were up about 30 percent in 2004, and CKPR ended the year with public relations fee income of close to $12 million. The consumer products sector was particularly hot, with the firm adding business in the OTC pharmaceutical, consumer technology, entertainment, for-profit secondary education, and travel and tourism sectors. Interesting assignments included the launch of Sylvestor Stallone’s InStone product at Planet Hollywood for GNC; the integrated roll-out of On-Demand cable for CTAM; reputation management for the University of Phoenix, and ongoing work on behalf of the Visit Florida campaign.