Euro RSCG Middleberg
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Holmes Report
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Euro RSCG Middleberg

Holmes Report

Don Middleberg continued the transformation of his agency in 2002, stepping up the pace of change with several key hires and the addition of new practice areas as he sought to leverage the experience gained during the dot-com era—when the Middleberg name was synonymous with the digital explosion—into a broader, strategic communications offering. Today, the firm specializes in helping both established and emerging brands use communications to grow their businesses amid the changes caused by ongoing innovation and new technologies.
 In the second quarter, Middleberg tapped for GCI New York general manager Aaron Kwittken as president, adding both management experience and life sciences expertise. Other additions include Patrick Resk as chief operating officer; former Morgen-Walke managing director Ed Nebb as leader of the investor relations practice; former Edelman consumer practice leader Cliff Berman as executive vice president; and Matt Wolfrom as senior VP in the technology practice. The firm also forged strategic alliances with west coast public affairs and crisis management expert Larry Kamer; investment management pro Richard Dukas; and former Neale-May & Partners and General Foods communications executive Ken Defren. No other firm has added such an impressive array of talent in the past year, and the new hires give Middleberg instant credibility in a wide array of sectors.
 That credibility is supplemented by the firm’s developing methodology, The Creative Business Idea, a five-step, media neutral process designed to discover communications ideas that drive business success. The approach has helped Middleberg pick up several interesting assignments, helping Gartner Group unveil a new analyst model; working with Procter & Gamble to market the company’s brand knowledge capital; and assisting Consumer Reports with the revitalization of its brand.
 A quick glance at the numbers paints a depressing picture: revenues were down almost 40 percent from 2001, and the full time headcount was reduced from 75 people to 40. But those numbers don’t tell the whole story, which is that the full effect of the Internet implosion was felt by the middle of 2002, and second half numbers were considerably stronger, with the run rate up about 40 percent. There was growth in the financial practice and the healthcare sector, and by the end of the year the consumer practice—soft for much of 2002—was showing signs of growth. New clients for the year included Tommy Hilfiger, Thomson Learning, Convergys, Automated Trading Desk, D&B, PlaceWare, and Olive Garden.
 In the consumer sector in particular, Middleberg expects to work more closely with its Euro RSCG partners, through the MVBMS network, to offer a fully integrated solution as well as access to overseas markets.
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