John Smythe probably won’t be pleased to see his firm listed in this report card on public relations agencies. He doesn’t really consider Smythe Dorward Lambert, with its almost exclusive focus on change management and employee communications, a public relations firm. It’s a management-consulting firm dedicated to making change meaningful and credible to employees by aligning the way companies communicate with the way they behave.
Nevertheless, SDL—headed in the U.S. by Anthony Goodman—helps companies relate to their most important publics, and after just a year in this country has already established itself as a leader in the employee communications arena, handling complex challenges for clients such as Astra Pharmaceuticals, helping the company redefine itself after the merger of two distinct cultures; Deutsche Bank, following its merger with Bankers Trust; and Microsoft, which was looking for help “living the values.” The firm’s other clients include British Airways, Glaxo Wellcome, Guinness, and Rhone-Poulenc Rorer.
As part of the Omnicom Group, SDL has the chance to become a major resource for some of the leading public relations and advertising agencies in the world, and has already forged an alliance with sister company Brodeur Worldwide, a specialist in high-tech public relations, to provide counsel to its clients.