Trevelino Keller
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Trevelino Keller

Holmes Report

Trevelino Keller is one of a new generation of technology-focused public relations agencies—most of them formed in the wake of the dot-com bust—located outside of the traditional technology centers of Silicon Valley and Boston that have started to show up on pitch lists for national assignments. Founders Dean Trevelino and Genna Keller had worked together twice—at Shandwick and Ogilvy—prior to founding their own firm in 2003, and they have created an agency that is values-driven and relentlessly focused on the future, differentiated among local competitors by its technology capabilities but with additional capabilities in vertical business-to-business and consumer lifestyle marketing, and a GreenWorks practice that includes clean tech expertise and more. It’s all underpinned by a proprietary methodology the firm calls AMPS (Audience, Media, Presence, Service), creating a dashboard view of the PR plan with built in measurement, and an approach summed up by the mantra: Think forward. Work forward. Staff forward.

 

Last year, the firm launched GreenWorks (a name that implies that what’s good for the environment is also good for business), which was accompanied by an internal initiative, GreenWorks@Work, which empowered employees to research, select and present a community-based initiative and then make an impact in some manner, such as approaching a local elementary school and giving its third, fourth and fifth graders compact fluorescent light bulbs to take home and educating them about the benefits. This year, in a slightly different economic climate, initiatives included FirstGear, a suite of services—all priced at $2,500—that offers companies one-off projects without a long-term commitment and gives TKCG an opportunity to demonstrate value and turn short-term projects into long-term relationships; SocialStatus, a game-board approach to launching and managing social media campaigns, introduced via a seminar for approximately 25 companies; and Crisis+Less, a not-for-profit approach to managing client crises inexpensively.

 

That kind of innovation helped Trevelino Keller grow slightly in 2008, to around $2 million in fees, and more importantly maintain its profitability, with continued growth coming from the GreenWorks practice and expansion into broader business-to-business and consumer assignments beyond the core technology practice. The firm continues to work with clients such as Verizon Wireless; The Weather Channel; SITA; AdvanceMe; and Raving Brands, and added Delta Community Credit Union; loyalty marketing technology company Vesida; eInvite, Care.com; and RTEV, an electric car company launched by a former client.

 

TKCG launched the first line of electric vehicles from RTEV as gas prices were hitting record highs, the big three automakers were on the verge of collapse and the consumer sentiment for green was growing, generating timely coverage in BusinessWeek Online, Red Herring Online, TreeHugger.com, AutoBlog Green and others. Delta Community Credit Union, meanwhile, responded to the financial crisis  with a new CD product, and TKCG created an integrated marketing campaign that included traditional advertising, social media awareness via Facebook, print and broadcast media relations. The firm also worked with Verizon Wireless on the launch of the first touch-screen BlackBerry, the BlackBerry Storm. And to leverage interest in the presidential election, it launched the Celebrate America campaign for Shane’s Rib Shack, providing a free chicken-tender meal for any consumer who showed up with an “I Voted” sticker, and then responded to complaints that the stunt was a violation of voting practices, generating positive coverage at a time when other similar stunts were attracting criticism.

 

“Trevelino/Keller is first and foremost, an integrated partner and extension of our team,” says Chris Morocco, CEO of the Shane’s Rib Shack and Planet Smoothie brands. “While they provide public relations services, we go well beyond that function, getting their guidance on business strategy and cultivating the brand.  They are a part of every major meeting we have, be it with our partners at The Coca-Cola Company, our investors or any other strategic or creative partner.  At the end of the day, we want them to weigh in on all that we do.  We simply trust them that much.” 

 

To provide even greater reach, in 2005 Trevelino Keller formed the Atlas Alliance, which includes the Lanza Group, based in Atlanta and serving Hispanic and Latino audiences throughout the U.S. and Latin America; The Wordshop and Chameleon PR, based in London and servicing Europe; and ActivePR, based in Dubai and servicing the Middle East. In 2008, it added the partners: Mileage Communications of Singapore, which has eight offices throughout the Asia-Pacific region, and Troutman Sanders Strategies, providing public affairs and legal counsel in the

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