In today’s fast-paced public relations world, Lou Hammond & Associates is almost an anachronism, a throwback to an age when taste and elegance mattered and when client service was considered its own reward. Don’t expect to see agency founder Lou Hammond chasing the latest hot dot.com; she’s much more likely to be sitting in the Peacock Alley Lounge at longtime client the Waldorf-Astoria, discussing brand strategy with a marketing director from Hunter Douglas or Bermuda. And don’t scour your invoice for mark-ups, because Hammond doesn’t believe in them, just like she doesn’t believe in time sheets or using client’s money to service the agency’s debt.
All of which means that while LH&A is never likely to set any industry records as the fastest-growing PR firm in the world, it does have a tremendously loyal client base and a track record of top quality work—first and foremost in the travel and tourism sector, but more recently across a broad array of lifestyle categories, from furnishings to food—that has resulted in slow, steady growth. The agency will likely end 2000 with fees of around $4 million, up 20 percent over last year, thanks to new clients such as the College of New Rochelle, Guittard chocolates, and Michelin Travel Publications, as well as customary growth from existing clients.
Interesting assignments have included an alliance between Hunter Douglas and the Gay & Lesbian Association of Choruses; the introduction of several new five-star hotels, including Mandarin Oriental properties in London and New York; publicity for the Waldorf during the United Nations Millennium Summit; and the introduction to New York media of the largest expansion in Disneyland’s 45-year history.