Emanate was launched in April of 2006, when a group of about 20 former Ketchum people—led by partner and associate director of the New York office Kim Sample—created a new firm with a distinctive positioning. Some elements of Emanate’s positioning were traditional “conflict agency” fare (senior involvement in client work, the avoidance of silos and the bureaucracy that accompanies them, an emphasis on a positive workplace environment, and a passion for client service) reflecting the criticisms clients often level at large agencies. But the new firm also promised some innovation: a focus on “emotion-based research” to ensure a clear understanding of what motivates consumers and an emphasis on community building, underpinned by a partnership with New York-based Community-Centric Marketing, a firm that helps companies connect and collaborate with their customers rather than simply selling to them.
It’s an approach that has helped Emanate develop a distinctive brand, separate from that of its parent, and to grow into one of the largest firms in New York in its own right (as an Omnicom agency, Emanate doesn’t disclose financial information, but observers estimate that the firm’s fee income exceeds $10 million after just three years in business). The firm continues to depend on its largest client, Bank of America, for a significant portion of its revenues, but it has diversified its client base considerably across all three practice areas: consumer, healthcare and corporate. In addition to BoA, Celebrity Cruises and Embassy Suites Hotels, new assignments in 2008 came from Subway, Verizon FiOS, Heinz North America (for its Ore-Ida, Nancy’s and Lea & Perrins brands), General Mills (Fiber One Toaster Pastries), Mead Johnson, The Henry Kessler Foundation, Stiefel, Mars (Generation Max), Qiagen (HPV Test global coordination) and Smart for Life.
The firm has also expanded its leadership team. While five are former Ketchum employees (chief executive Sample; Mike Doyle, managing director of the firm’s New York office; Christy Salcido, managing director of the L.A. operation; consumer director MaryBeth Clayton; and client service director Katherine Ducker), the other three senior executives have been brought in from elsewhere since the launch: Gregory Papajohn, vice president of corporate, formerly of American Express, was hired in 2007 to help manage the burgeoning Bank of America business; Evelyn Sprigg, formerly with Lippe-Taylor, joined as director of healthcare; and Glenn Whiting, formerly of Zeta Interactive, was named director of interactive.
In September of 2008, after the firm was tapped as agency of record for Subway Restaurants, it was called on to react to a recent sandwich taste test claim by Domino’s and to arrange a spokesperson contract signing and 60 Minutes taping with Olympic swimming star Michael Phelps. The firm also picked up an assignment from Mead Johnson to ensure a successful IPO as the company spun-off from Bristol Myers Squibb, positioning the new Mead Johnson Nutrition with internal and external stakeholders. And the firm picked up a SABRE award for its work on the launch of Ore-Ida Steam n’ Mash Potatoes for Heinz.
“Emanate feels like a true marketing partner in every sense of the word—almost an extension of our own Heinz North America PR team,” says Jessica Jackson, senior manager of public relations for Heinz North America. “With every interaction we can feel a dogged determination to help us and our brands succeed. Their chemistry with us and each other is really unique. We always know we’re on the same page, working toward a common goal and having a lot of fun along the way.”
Working in partnership with Ketchum offices and affiliates around the world, Emanate has handled a number of international assignments for clients including a successful Latin American development forum in Mexico City for Embassy Suites Hotels, while for Qiagen, Emanate is overseeing a global strategy for marketing the digene HPV Test for cervical cancer, starting with a focus on Germany and Mexico. Emanate also has plans to open a