AG Edwards starts initiative to woo potential customers

ST. LOUIS: Brokerage firm AG Edwards has launched a national branding campaign to raise its image with potential customers and showcase the firm's investment expertise.

ST. LOUIS: Brokerage firm AG Edwards has launched a national branding campaign to raise its image with potential customers and showcase the firm's investment expertise.

Edwards is working with Carmichael Lynch Spong, Minneapolis, on the campaign. Initial efforts included giving an exclusive to The Wall Street Journal in mid-February discussing the ad campaign that is part of the branding effort. Some firm employees have also rung the opening bell at the NYSE.

PR efforts now include "aggressive media relations showcasing in-house expertise," said PR director Margaret Welch.

"We're looking to not only showcase our in-house expertise, but also highlight the things that set us apart," she said.

The brokerage is considering holding client and prospect appreciation events. Special events and media relations activity will occur throughout the year, Welch added.

"This is truly a long-term investment in who we are as a firm and in making people aware of us," she said.

Last summer, Edwards hired ad agency Carmichael Lynch to create its new advertising campaign and Carmichael Lynch Spong for PR.

Welch said she finds it more efficient to work with divisions of the same firm for advertising and PR. "You want these things to work in lockstep with each other," she said.

While based in St. Louis, Edwards operates in every state except Alaska, with 700 branches and almost 7,000 financial consultants. The firm remains one of the country's largest independent brokerages at a time when many of its peers have been acquired by large financial- services conglomerates.

Revenues for the first nine months of its fiscal 2004 were $1.8 billion, with net earnings of $105.1 million.

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