One day, a much larger agency is going to offer Price McNabb an obscene amount of money not because it wants to by the best advertising and public relations firm in Charlotte but because it wants Tom Eppes and its management team to show it how to do integrated communications right. Until that day, however, Price McNabb will continue to occupy a unique niche in the communications marketplace as an integrated shop with a focus on relationship management and an array of services that includes strategic planning, creative services, media relations, employee communications, crisis management and media training capabilities, all headed by a president whose background is in PR, not advertising.
All of Price McNabb’s assignments begin with an audit—focused by segment on the customers, employees, shareholders, opinion leaders or other stakeholders, and fueled by a tool the agency calls the Relationship Equity Monitor. Out of that process comes a recommendation that can include any mix of paid and earned media.
The public relations side of the business grew by about 20 percent in 2000, with revenues hitting the $5 million mark (the agency as a whole does about $50 million). The biggest new business win was Metamor Worldwide, an international high-tech consulting firm that merged with PSINet later in the year. The agency also added work for Nucor, one of the nation’s largest steelmakers, on a change management program, and helped Starbucks Coffee with store openings in 40 markets. Key hires included Steve Bender, who returned to the firm as VP on the Square D account after a stint on the corporate side with McDonald’s and the Tennessee Valley Authority.