PR21 rebrands to Zeno Group, wins new clients

NEW YORK: PR21 has changed its name to Zeno Group to reflect its expanded capabilities and integrated approach to marketing communications.

NEW YORK: PR21 has changed its name to Zeno Group to reflect its expanded capabilities and integrated approach to marketing communications.

Jerry Epstein, president and CEO of the firm, said the agency had been plotting the change for two years and had been actively working on it for a year.

"We could have come out with a lot of message points but we needed to prove that we are a different company," Epstein said.

Zeno Group, a Daniel J Edelman company -- also the holding company for Edelman Worldwide -- was founded in 1998. It has 90 employees and $15 million in fee revenues.

Epstein said while some people might remember PR21 as being rooted in the dot-com era, the real motivation behind the change is the company's change.

"I think we've created a new company and we wanted the name that reflected it," Epstein said.

Epstein said the company has seen unprecedented levels of new business activity, citing 17 wins in the entertainment, pharmaceutical, and tech clients in the past 45 days, including Whirlpool, Gladiator, the LA Auto Show, NetSuite, the Goldman Environmental Prize, and Jamdat, which makes mobile phone games. It also has recently won the account for Pfizer's blood-clot medication, Fragmin.

Epstein said that older clients have returned "overwhelmingly positive" comments on the rebranding. The agency's longer-term clients include Kia Motors USA, Whirlpool, Oracle, Borland, Sepracor, Nestl?, Xfire, and Schering.

The company has also changed its structure to allow its senior PR professionals the opportunity to continue serving clients, Epstein said. "The reward for doing good work in this industry is [often] being given more administration [tasks]. We got into the industry because we like communications."

As such, the Zeno Group's senior group -- called the Business Advocacy Team and made up of Epstein and six managing directors -- will continue to focus on client work. Epstein said that Stephen Russell, the CFO/COO, and Sheldon Lamphier, the head of human resources, have assumed much of the administrative responsibility of the managing directors.

He also said the firm eliminated individual profit centers so it can provide the best team from for its clients.

"We all win or we all lose," Epstein said, referring to the strategy.

Epstein cited Zeno Group's proprietary technology, Beyond the Horizon, which analyzes future opportunities for clients rather than focusing on the past as a pillar of the new company.

"When I was CEO of a [tech company PeopleTrends] most of the people I worked with were good at generating publicity but didn't really understand my business goals," Epstein said.

The announcement included the news of a new website, www.zenogroup.com. The rebranding, new site, and new logo are meant to convey the agency's focus on problem solving.

PR21 worked with brand consultant Landor Group to develop the new name and identity. The Zeno Group name derives from ancient Greek philosopher Zeno of Citium, who was prided for his scientific approach to problem solving.

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