Kelly O’Malley and Todd Hansen worked together on the McDonald’s account at international public relations giant Fleishman-Hillard, the former focusing on consumer marketing and food and nutrition communications, the latter on corporate positioning and issues management. They launched their own firm in 2006 with an approach that recognized the increasing influence of consumer conversations on corporate messaging and the growing convergence of corporate and consumer PR as once disparate stakeholder groups increasingly interact, and sought to help clients address three disruptive trends: the fragmentation of media channels; the growing ability and willingness of audiences to participate in conversations with their media sources; and the increasing need to make communications less formal so companies can relate to audiences in an authentic manner.
In its first 18 months in business, that approach has helped O’Malley Hansen to attract big name clients such as Sara Lee, Hanesbrand and Kellogg and increase fees to just under $2 million in its first full year of operation, with Zipit Wireless the newest addition to the client roster. Among the firm’s most interesting work, two programs stand out: working with Hanesbrands, a recently spun-off company with a 100-year old heritage to leverage an innovative, exclusive business partnership with Disney Parks & Resorts, creating a high-octane event at Walt Disney World that included a giant Hanes T-shirt, air-guitar contest and an appearance by Mickey Mouse; and the Sara Lee Soft & Smooth Great Whole Grain Giveaway, which was launched to educate moms about the benefits of whole grain and make a positive effect on the nation’s whole grain consumption, built around a 2.5 million loaf giveaway and featuring a “Joy of Lunchboxes” road trip that reached more than 400,000 consumers.
O’Malley Hansen campaigns begin by establishing a clear, deep understanding of the most important brand attributes and making sure that client partners share the same perspective. The firm then develops a program that builds on those messages, identifying all key stakeholders and the most effective channels to reach them. Most programs address consumer audiences, business audiences, influencers, and employees, and the firm has shown a willingness to embrace new targeted channels such as Café Mom, a social networking site for mothers, or unique spokespersons, such as Corbin Blue from High School Musical, to take advantage of emerging trends. Sector expertise includes consumer, food and nutrition, technology, marketing to moms, corporate and business-to-business PR, franchising, foodservice, issues management, and crisis planning and response.
Kelly O’Malley has experience in strategic planning, media relations, influencer outreach and fooda and nutrition communication and has worked with clients including Sara Lee, McDonald's, Procter & Gamble's Millstone Coffee and Pampers baby care brands, Kellogg Company, Visa USA, ConAgra Foods and many others. In addition to 10 years at Fleishman-Hillard, she previously worked at Ralston Purina's in-house agency. Todd Hansen has a background that includes media relations, marketing communications, employee engagement, interactive outreach, executive speaking opportunities and community relations and worked at Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide before FH. Additions over the past 12 months include Maria Balice, senior vice president in the consumer practice, who was previously with L.C. Williams & Associates and Manning Selvage & Lee; Ernie Gibble, senior vice president in the corporate practice, who led the U.S. Army recruiting account for Manning, Selvage & Lee; and vice president Elizabeth Castro, formerly a director at Weber Shandwick.