Fleishman teams with Wirthlin to strengthen public affairs offering

WASHINGTON: Fleishman-Hillard has formed a partnership with Wirthlin Worldwide, a Reston, VA research firm whose founder, Richard Wirthlin, gained widespread notoriety as a strategist and pollster for former President Ronald Reagan.

WASHINGTON: Fleishman-Hillard has formed a partnership with Wirthlin Worldwide, a Reston, VA research firm whose founder, Richard Wirthlin, gained widespread notoriety as a strategist and pollster for former President Ronald Reagan.

Wirthlin, which does public affairs work, brand building, consumer loyalty, and other research, gives Fleishman added reach in both Europe and Asia, said Paul Johnson, regional president with Fleishman in Washington.

Wirthlin also has a solid reputation in DC political circles. "We really benefit from each other's brands," Johnson said.

The two will pitch new business together, but are not limited to an exclusive partnership.

Fleishman is expecting public affairs work to pick up in Washington this year. Traditionally, the third year of a Presidential term is the busiest in public affairs, Johnson said. "Both parties are looking to build a record to run on in the next election," he explained.

Fleishman launched a homeland security practice in 2002. "Wirthlin is going to be a complement to that," Johnson said, as the firm will broaden the array of services Fleishman offers in Washington.

While "clearly public affairs will be front and center" in the partnership, the two firms expect to pursue a wide range of business together, Johnson said.

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