As boutique agencies reach a certain size, the temptation to diversify becomes almost irresistible. But only a few can branch out into new markets without losing whatever made them special in the first place. Marina Maher Communications provides a rare example of successful expansion. Once best known for its work in fashion and beauty, in 2000 MMC added its first pharmaceutical client (Glaxo Wellcome), its first entertainment client (BBC Worldwide), and its first consumer electronics client (Audiovox).
MMC has proven itself as adept at promoting pharmaceuticals as it is at publicizing push-up bras (its work for Sara Lee’s Wonderbra has won numerous awards). It has also moved beyond marketing publicity to branding, using its understanding of cultural, consumer, and media trends to develop distinctive positioning for a client’s products and services; employing its insight into consumers’ psychological and emotional drives to develop the messages to support that positioning; then unleashing its specialized media department to craft media strategies that target both consumer and specialist press.
In addition to the new clients identified above, MMC picked up the coveted Dr. Scholl’s account from Schering-Plough after a shoot-out that included two much larger firms (Edelman and Fleishman-Hillard) and adding business from 1-800-Contacts and EbizJets, a dot-com that offers private jets online. The agency also continues to produce great work for existing clients such as Procter & Gamble and Ronzoni.
Meanwhile, MMC continues to add depth to is account staff, bringing in Holly Garman (ex-Weber, ex-Polaroid); Joseph Panetta (ex-GCI Group); and Larry Baumann (ex-Porter Novelli) at the vice president level. The firm also strengthened its management team promoting longtime employee Ivette Sanz as director of human resources and recruitment as an indication of its commitment to a building on a workplace culture that already includes one of the industry’s best intern programs, an emphasis on professional development, and (coming soon) one of the industry’s few onsite day-care centers.