It’s a sign of the times that by the standards of Silicon Valley Neale-May & Partners—founded in 1987—is considered old school. But for a PC-era agency, Donovan Neale-May’s shop appears to be thriving in the new economy. It has achieved 70 percent growth in each of the past two years and estimated 2000 revenues are around $15 million, making it one of the largest remaining independent tech specialists, with clients spanning virtually every sector of the technology marketplace, including B2B and B2C e-commerce, Internet infrastructure, and information technology.
What makes Neale-May & Partners difference from a host of competitors is the ability to combine a strategic consulting approach with a highly creative “ideation” process. In addition to traditional tech PR services, the firm helps clients with branding, platforming, crisis containment, strategic partnering, industry networking, channel marketing, and online brand management. It has developed a host of proprietary services to drive home those capabilities: Ignite, a market landscaping and perception auditing methodology for firing up strategic communications; Wildfire, a proliferation marketing which helps companies build market momentum through word-of-mouth; and Ablaze, an Internet-enabled operational support system.
The agency can deliver a differentiated service because it has perhaps the deepest management team of any independent tech agency. In addition to its founder, an Ogilvy public relations veteran, senior executives include executive VP Ken Defren, a veteran of Rowland and International Paper; Philip Owen Brady, the agency’s chief of staff and an award-winning journalist who cut his PR teeth at Hill & Knowlton; and senior VPs Mark Stouse (ex-Delstar, Edelman, H&K) and Penelope Lamers (ex-Learning Company).
Neale-May has been ranked among Silicon Valley’s 100 Fastest Growing Private Companies in the past couple of years, and its satellite offices have taken off too: the New York office doubled in size last year to $4 million, while a San Francisco office opened at the beginning of 2000 has annualized billings of $2.5 million at the end of its first year. New clients last year included AboveNet, Brightstreet.com, CMP Media, Entera, LiquidLight, McAdee.com, MechanicNet.com, Saba Software, and ZapMe!