Holmes Report 01 Dec 2011 // 12:00AM GMT
Whatever benefit Brodeur founder John Brodeur and president Andy Coville anticipated from the sale of their agency—at the time a leader in the technology public relations sector—to Omnicom back in 1993, it is almost certainly fair to say the benefit did not materialize. While the public comments of all involved in the firm’s management buyback early in 2011 emphasized the amicable nature of the deal and mutual admiration of the two parties (Omnicom continues to hold an equity position in the firm), there is no doubt that Brodeur and Coville view the deal as an opportunity to return the firm to its entrepreneurial roots, the vision and values of its two longtime principals, and a focus on growth, which has been noticeably lacking in recent years.
Historically best known for its expertise in the technology sector, the firm has been investing in resources in areas such as healthcare, financial services, social marketing, and social media. The focus in all those areas will on be “relevance,” which Coville and Brodeur see as a key differentiator at a time when consumers and other stakeholders “want to connect to things that matter most—that are truly relevant to them—whether a product, service, brand, cause or idea.” Within weeks of the buyout, the firm had released new research into relevance, which served as the basis for a model focused on what the firm sees as four dimensions of relevance: Thinking, Values, Sensory and Community.
The new Brodeur will consist of four business units: Brodeur Communications, offering integrated branding, marketing, public relations, communications and social media services, including experts from Brodeur Partners and its subsidiary Beaupre; Brodeur ShiftPositive, dedicated to creating social change programs that advance healthy living, environmental stewardship and other social causes, under the leadership of social marketing veteran Rob Gould in Washington, DC; Brodeur Digital, which will harness social media and other online tools under the leadership of Joe Trippi, one of America’s most influential political strategists; and Brodeur Strategies, providing C-level counsel to transform an organization’s customer experience, with expertise in brand planning, research, customer segmentation and internal alignment. The entire senior leadership team, including the two principals, Mike Brewer, Steve Marchant, Jerry Johnson, Cleve Langton, Renzo Bardetti, and Karen and Andy Beaupre, will remain in place, as will the firm’s international network of partners and affiliates.
The firm also starts life with a strong list of core clients, including Research in Motion (BlackBerry), the American Cancer Society, Hankook Tire, GE, Corning, Avnet, Hughes, Bank Itau, Babson College, Sage and Discovery, with new additions over the past 12 months including the Academy of Educational Development, the American Institute of Research, Boston College, Dartmouth College, Dunmore Corporation, ECI Telecom, Hologic, Merck & Co., Ricoh, the University of Massachusetts and Vision Critical.
For Corning, the firm handled as integrated communications campaign around Corning’s Gorilla Glass, with the goal of convincing savvy technology enthusiasts that one of the oldest manmade substances was a “must have” component in their favorite electronics products, generating massive social media buzz and headlines like this, from David Pogue of The New York Times: “Gorilla Glass, the Smartphone’s Unsung Hero.” Brodeur also worked with Hologic to launch a “Welcome Back” patient awareness campaign to educate women on the condition of menorrhagia and encourage them to seek more information about the company’s NovaSure procedure from their physicians. In six months, traditional media coverage resulted in over 35 million impressions with social media adding to the engagement level.
Brodeur delivers full global capabilities through a network of 46 offices in 33 countries, a combination of equity-owned offices and long-standing partners closely aligned with Brodeur’s values and service capabilities.