Gateway adopts new grass-roots strategy

SAN DIEGO: In a move that shatters the traditional hi-tech client/agency model, Gateway made its long-awaited choice of PR firm last week, appointing Stoorza, Ziegaus & Metzger (SZ&M) to lead a PR charge that takes its cue from grass-roots political campaigns.

SAN DIEGO: In a move that shatters the traditional hi-tech client/agency model, Gateway made its long-awaited choice of PR firm last week, appointing Stoorza, Ziegaus & Metzger (SZ&M) to lead a PR charge that takes its cue from grass-roots political campaigns.

SAN DIEGO: In a move that shatters the traditional hi-tech

client/agency model, Gateway made its long-awaited choice of PR firm

last week, appointing Stoorza, Ziegaus & Metzger (SZ&M) to lead a PR

charge that takes its cue from grass-roots political campaigns.



Rather than hiring a single firm to handle its PR - the standard modus

operandi for PC giants - Gateway put SZ&M in charge of managing a

network of sole practitioners and boutique shops across the country.

While it may seem surprising for the company to trade a large

international agency like the Weber Group (PRWeek Aug. 23, 1999) for a

network of smaller shops, VP of corporate communications Brad Shaw said

that this model allows Gateway to focus on grass-roots brand-building

efforts in the much same manner that political campaigns do.



’We took a look at our needs and decided that we needed to create a

hybrid agency model that is as entrepreneurial, nimble and

well-connected as we are,’ said Shaw.



Rather than hold a formal review, Gateway relied upon its in-house team

to determine which agencies to contact. The company considered local,

regional and national consumer and hi-tech agencies before settling on

the hybrid model.



Shaw declined to comment on how many agencies and sole practitioners the

company will work with, or what geographic regions the company is

focusing on. Though he would not disclose the size of the account, he

acknowledged that its budget is smaller than the amount meted out to

Weber.



In addition to identifying PR partners, SZ&M will be responsible for

maintaining the network, motivating those involved and measuring

results.



The agency will also continue to work on special projects for the

company and represent Gateway locally.



’I’ve never known anything quite like this,’ said SZ&M chairman Gail

Stoorza-Gill. ’It’s very entrepreneurial and very innovative.’



She added that in assembling Gateway’s nationwide PR network, SZ&M will

look for firms and solo practitioners who share the company’s mind-set

of being close to the customer. The agencies selected will have a

combination of hi-tech, consumer and special events expertise, and will

be charged with identifying ways for Gateway to connect with the

community.



In addition, Gateway has rounded out its in-house department by hiring

Staples director of PR Brad Williams as its director of consumer PR.

Williams, who had only been with Staples for seven months, is returning

to the West Coast, where he previously served as manager of product

publicity for Levi’s.



’Gateway isn’t timid about shaking things up and doing things

creatively,’ said Williams. ’Brad Shaw has been a catalyst in creating a

lot of changes and pushing innovation in terms of how the company

handles PR.’



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