A central view of the industry

In the fifth year of its Regional Forums, PRWeek is returning to cities it has previously visited, as well as adding a handful of new regions to the rotation.

In the fifth year of its Regional Forums, PRWeek is returning to cities it has previously visited, as well as adding a handful of new regions to the rotation. For each event, leading PR pros from a variety of agencies, corporations, nonprofits, and other organizations gather in a roundtable discussion about the issues affecting them and their peers. PRWeek's Gideon Fidelzeid and Keith O'Brien were in Dallas for this year's sixth Regional Forum.

Participants

Don Bartholomew, SVP/GM, Dallas, MWW Group

Emily Callahan, communications director, Susan G. Komen for the Cure

Allison Clark, senior manager of PR, Match.com and Chemistry.com

Jennifer Davis, communications manager, Dell

Terry Hemeyer, senior counsel, Pierpont Communications

Julian Read, chairman, GCI Read-Poland

Sarah Russ,VP and GM,Waggener Edstrom Worldwide

Denisha Stevens, EVP/GM, Dallas, Vollmer PR

Mark Stouse, worldwide corporate communications leader, BMC Software

Dora Tovar, president, Tovar PR

Sonja Whitemon, senior manager of media relations and publicity, American Airlines

Keith O'Brien (PRWeek): What makes this a unique PR market?

Dora Tovar (Tovar PR): What a lot of people don't know about Dallas is that, from 2006, it's actually the community with the most new immigrants in the US. That created a major shift in our local identity. For all PR pros, understanding that shift in demographics is crucial, as well as the changes in public policy that are resulting from this, which impacts our business. Who would have thought that north Texas would be making national headlines on municipal legislation as it pertains to immigration?

Don Bartholomew (MWW Group): Dallas is really a competitive PR market, and quite a large and vibrant one, as well. There are a lot of Fortune 500 companies headquartered here.

Emily Callahan (Susan G. Komen for the Cure): As a nonprofit focused on global needs, Dallas is a good place for us to be. Being in the heart of the country is ideal. Having that central place that people can get to easily is very advantageous. The perception of accessibility as compared to bigger markets is a plus for Dallas, as well.

O'Brien (PRWeek): Is the central location of Dallas advantageous in terms of doing business with entities on both coasts?

Sarah Russ (Waggener Edstrom Worldwide): Technology, telecoms, consumer, nonprofit —there are so many different sectors and types of companies here. We opened an office in Dallas before we even had clients here. Moreover, the talent is here.

Julian Read (GCI Read-Poland): There's a very practical aspect here that a lot of people don't think about. Here you can do business on the East Coast earlier and do business on the West Coast two hours later. That's really a big advantage.

Russ (WE): Geography is a major asset of Dallas.

Terry Hemeyer (Pierpont Communications): I'm from Houston. We work all over and in various sectors; 40 different ones and growing. It's the same in Dallas.

Read (GCI): You also have three major airlines based in Texas —Continental, American Airlines, and Southwest.

Callahan (Komen): Economically, it's become more viable to stay here.

Gideon Fidelzeid (PRWeek): Do the airlines being based here help the market?

Sonja Whitemon (American Airlines): In terms of flight schedules and transportation times, yes. Being that our business is global, it's a slight advantage.

Mark Stouse (BMC): The world is so virtualized now, and what we do is so virtualized, location is almost meaningless. The driver that determines where you put an office is the local talent, particularly senior talent. The technology in what we do, the increase in videoconferencing and general online activity had made PR a much richer experience than any one locale.

Bartholomew (MWW): Cost of living is a major consideration in Dallas, too.

Denisha Stevens (Vollmer PR): Dallas has traditionally been a place where people launch and test new ideas. In terms of location, we have small and large clients that work with us specifically because we're in Dallas, clients who have major communications staffs on either coast who come here to meet with us.

O'Brien (PRWeek): Given the virtualization of today's world, what sort of interest are you getting from clients outside of this market?

Tovar (Tovar): I spend time on both coasts. When I started here my clients were in New York. Then I got local clients. Now it's more mixed.

Stouse (BMC): As a client, when I hire an agency, what I care about in today's virtualized environment is the talent.

Allison Clark (Match.com; Chemistry.com): We just went through an agency review. The thing we were least concerned about is where the firms were located.

Callahan (Komen): For us, in terms of coordinating efforts across the country, it's still nice to have an agency presence here.

Bartholomew (MWW): For some clients, locale is still an emphasis, but increasingly what clients are telling us is, "Give me the best talent." From an agency perspective, there's a reason we're in so many cities — you go where there is talent. The clients will come.

Read (GCI): More of us have teams working on business with multiple offices. It's not just about the US, but getting support in all the emerging markets.

Jennifer Davis (Dell): Dell works all over the world and we have agencies in all those locations.

O'Brien (PRWeek): How do the local organizations that don't have the reach of a Fortune 500 or major company factor into your client rosters?

Tovar (Tovar):
I partner with firms all over the US. Mid-size firms are recognizing their strengths and vulnerabilities and the occasional need to partner. The local industry has grown to become open to that idea. When I was first here, I didn't see that level of openness. There's now a willingness to partner on RFPs, bids, etc.

Russ (WE): From a Texas perspective, there's also great effort put into working with the local community groups on a pro bono basis. It brings out incredible passion on agencies' parts. We work with Austin City Limits on a pro bono basis, just as an example. It gives us a nice balance in terms of the work we do. Our team is really part of the community.

Stouse (BMC): How you define "community" is very different today. The amount of activity we do in the physical community where we are is very limited. As a rule, my "community" is the rest of the world.

Bartholomew (MWW): Most of the big agencies here have a range of clients, with pro bono being a major part of that. The dynamic has changed since the dot-bomb. There are a lot of very talented people freelancing now or running small agencies. For smaller clients, perhaps these people are better options.

Young talent

Fidelzeid (PRWeek): What is attracting kids just out of college to the Dallas PR industry?

Hemeyer (Pierpont): I teach PR at the University of Texas (at Austin). Austin is their first choice, but Dallas is right there. We have 500 majors right now and they can all get a job. The job market is really good now. Our young talent is really great, too, and they want to go everywhere. And with a third of our clients being multinationals, that opportunity is there.

Whitemon (AA): Graduates are drawn to this area because the opportunities are unlimited in terms of industry and areas. In addition, they can lead the lifestyle they want here. Whatever you enjoy, it's here.

Callahan (Komen):
People are surprised at the diversity here. Kids also feel like they can make it here. This is a place of opportunity. Moreover, this is a very nurturing environment and the PR community epitomizes that.

Whitemon (AA): You don't have to search far for people who've made it here. It's a great place for those who started here.

Russ (WE): The students here are much more passionate than I ever was. These kids are willing to learn and to do informational interviews just to become educated on the industry. They're not just asking for jobs. They really want to learn what the industry is like. And, of course, communications gives you the chance to be in any sector. You really can't go wrong with any first step you take into the industry.

Stouse (BMC): Kids are plugged in much more broadly than I was 25 years ago. They're much more adventurous, too. I have a young woman working for me now who has wanted an international transfer for quite some time. We are sending her to Sydney. There is a great spirit with the younger PR pros.

Stevens (Vollmer): It seems recruits are experimenting more now and really open to the variety of options they have. People entering PR want to try different things. And it's taken me a while to adjust to that mindset.

Callahan (Komen): From what I've seen, there's been a huge boom in students at Texas universities wanting to study PR. The interest in this industry on the part of students is exciting to me.

Hemeyer (Pierpont): We're the most popular program at UT. In addition, you hear about Generation Y and that they all have a major sense of entitlement, but I don't see that in my students. These people will work 12-hour days and do what it takes to get ahead.

Davis (Dell): Young people today are so in tune with digital media in their personal lives. Social media is not just a new fad. It's the new "way" to communicate. Frankly, these guys offer something that we don't. They know how to use the tools.

Stouse (BMC): It's going to change the way we all work. Right now we are only seeing the cusp of that change.

Davis (Dell): We're looking to cut our news release costs dramatically because we're going to be blogging a lot more. Who would have thought that it would become a primary means of communications for us?

Hemeyer (Pierpont): Young kids are becoming my mentors.

Russ (WE): These kids are making me think about what I have to learn.

Callahan (Komen): Teenagers are teaching me so much, particularly about the most effective ways to engage people today.

Russ (WE): Here's a perfect example: A 16-year-old recently gave me her business card. I was so impressed. First off, her e-mail address was her first name and last name, not Suzy Q or something cute like that. She also had a link to her resume and her Facebook page. It was very professional. It also makes me wonder if anyone at this table has gotten a text message with a resume.

Stouse (BMC): I have.

Stevens (Vollmer): In terms of interviewing, Facebook is a place to look at now.

Stouse (BMC): A friend of mine recently told me about a candidate for a fairly senior-level job at his company where they Googled the individual and discovered that there was an SEC investigation into some of that person's activity at his previous job.

Tovar (Tovar): It's all about transparency now. Our jobs used to be just branding, but because of digital media it's about transparency. Everyone is blogging now. It's not even just digital anymore. It's a fourth level of transparency we have to be very aware of.

Clark (Match.com): It's a generational thing, too. Our definition of privacy is much different than that of a 17-year-old. The things that make us gasp don't elicit that same reaction from them. That attitude is something we have to adjust to.

Stevens (Vollmer): There is a downside to this digital generation. I think these kids rely too much on e-mail and forget about the one-on-one conversations.

Read (GCI): There's been a major decline in writing, which is still the skill that's the hardest for us to find. All the technology in the world still can't create the words.

Russ (WE): I'm worried about spelling.

Hemeyer (Pierpont): We still give a writing test to everyone and I'm sure every agency here does so, too.

Tovar (Tovar): But can they write on a deadline? Perhaps they can write something great, but it takes them a week to do so. This is really an important issue to clients.

Stouse (BMC): One of the big drivers here, if you look back years ago, a lot of people who entered PR were journalists and they were writing to a much different standard. Now, because the young people haven't worked in journalism, they don't understand what's going on between the reporters and editors.

Clark (Match.com): Today, the blogger down the street is important to your brand. Interacting with them in a meaningful way to your business is just as important as doing so with traditional journalists. That's an advantage these kids have.

Callahan (Komen): I've always prided myself on my journalist relationships. I'd even say that's the skill that really helped me advance in my career. Yet I see a hesitancy to do that today. Kids don't relate the same today.

Stouse (BMC): It is more transactional today. But, of course, the journalists today come at it from the same [digital media] wavelength. Some of them want to get to know you, but with journalists today covering such a wide beat, they want to get in and out quickly, too.

Bartholomew (MWW): If you look at some of the best bloggers, like Shel Israel, he's a brilliant writer, too. That's the ultimate.

Russ (WE): These kids may not write well, but they are so resourceful. They go to networks and find out all this information and build a resource around that.

Read (GCI): How do all of you feel about the fact that we're in an era with no gatekeepers?

Russ (WE): I think we still have gatekeepers. As humans, we will always question things, and as such, there will be natural gatekeepers. One of my colleagues wanted to test Wikipedia. He put out a very poorly worded two-sentence item about a publication he writes for. Within 48 hours, there were two pages of information correcting what he put out there. There are natural gatekeepers.

Stouse (BMC): You can make the argument that there are more gatekeepers.

Read (GCI): From a practical standpoint, we have people at this table who fight rumors all the time because there are so few editors now.

Whitemon (AA): I work in a visible, high-profile industry. Everyone loves to hate the airlines. We spend more of our time repairing false information than we do getting out accurate information. Even people who don't fly, hear things and believe things about us.

There was an instance recently where a major cable company was driving some news about us based mostly on passenger perspectives and not really considering who was giving them this information and when. It becomes personal, not objective.

Russ (WE):
Back to brand management, we are dealing with the same type of job that we always have, except that instead of three major networks, there are all of these various avenues people get information from. The water cooler is now the blog. It's still about brand reputation, but we just have more places where that is shaped.

Davis (Dell): You have to move at record speed now. When you have an issue, you have to be fast, transparent, and join the conversation immediately. We did that with the recent battery recall. Dell was the first company to get out there and discuss the situation.

Tovar (Tovar): With some clients, it's the crisis situation that moves them. And now user-generated content is the buzzword for so many clients. You can't just jump off the deep end tomorrow. You have to think about it clearly. Let's face it, YouTube has had a huge impact on how a crisis can so quickly become a crisis. And it's taken corporate America a long time to understand just how quickly you have to move now during a crisis.

Whitemon (AA): Corporate America is coming around. It's not just a matter of driving information when we're asked, but we have to drive information at all times.

Stevens (Vollmer): Corporate clients realize this, but their budgets remain an issue with them.

Hemeyer (Pierpont):
I think the reason PR is as successful as it is now is because communications has become so important. People now understand that without communications you can't be successful.

Read (GCI): That's 100% right. When I started, you mentioned PR to businesspeople and public officials and they just looked at you. We are now in the golden age of communication. Our society is complex and it's more difficult than ever to deliver a message. As such, however, kids out of school have a great opportunity.

Callahan (Komen): We just had an operational meeting and it became clear that I need to know every aspect of the business, not just PR. Moreover, I need to teach other executives at Komen how to communicate better.

Stouse (BMC): Our job is no longer only about teaching clients to be better communicators. It's also about teaching PR people to be better businesspeople. Having a P&L responsibility in my career crystallized my view of communications. If I didn't have those experiences, I wouldn't be where I am today. Being able to read financial sheets, know where the executive is coming from, and understand his or her metrics informs my role as a counselor.

Callahan (Komen): I won't hire anyone who doesn't have a business background, or at least an obvious business sensibility.

Bartholomew (MWW): It's clear we have a seat at the table, but we won't keep it unless we can talk about PR in the context of the business. We have to mold ourselves to talk in their language. It won't happen the other way around.

Stouse (BMC): Think about the members of the C-suite. The CFO is a businessperson who specializes in finance. The corporate counsel is a businessperson who specializes in the law. We have a seat at the table, but we're on probation because we're not perceived as businesspeople who specialize in communications. That's our greatest challenge as a profession.

Bartholomew (MWW): What is "communications" about today? Is PR really about relationships? Is it about influence? Is it about advocacy? These are huge questions that I'm not sure as an industry we've been able to answer.

Hemeyer (Pierpont): The PR Seminar changed its name to The Seminar. "PR" is not a term you can use in a corporate setting.

Stouse (BMC): To so many executives, the connotation of PR is, at best, publicity, and at worst, glorified party planning.

Bartholomew (MWW): We should almost try to recast "public relations" as "public relationships." Fundamentally, what we're about is the relationship between a company and all of its stakeholders. In fact, I'd argue that relationships are the strategy, not the objective.

Callahan (Komen): What Komen focuses on every day is life and death. We're built around engagement, so what we're about is different every day. Advocacy is a word we've used for years and now I see it everywhere. But do people know what that really means? We focus on engagement. That's our hardest challenge. I can't even think of the proper job title.

Stouse (BMC): It's really about selling. Today, communications has more in common with field sales than ever before. When I look for a model to take my team in a different direction, I look to the sales team and look at what they're doing with certain issues.

Hemeyer (Pierpont): That's important to the CEO, too.

Read (GCI): Back to Mark's comment about being more aware of business practices. How do we continue to meet the challenges of the CFOs and the attorneys who don't understand communications and our vital role in their business?

Stouse (BMC): My understanding of their business requirements gives me the credibility to bridge that chasm between us. If I didn't have that, it would be very easy for them to brush me off.

Hemeyer (Pierpont): You need to understand the legal aspects and the CEO needs to know that you understand it.

O'Brien (PRWeek): Back to the talent situation. What's the hardest level to fill right now?

Bartholomew (MWW): Five to seven years. There are not a lot of people at that level.

Callahan (Komen): And we're all competing for them.

Stouse (BMC):
We need people who can lend a big hand in strategy and a hand in operations.

Hemeyer (Pierpont): People at that level were here, but where did they go? You have cycles. There was a period in the 1990s where everyone cut their PR staffs. Those people went into other businesses and they're just not in the industry anymore.

Stevens (Vollmer): I agree with that because, quite frankly, we're recruiting from other industries now to fill those positions. It's frustrating.

Davis (Dell): Corporate communications has lagged behind marketing in this regard. People are leaving PR at that seven-year stage to find higher paying jobs. The industry has to catch up to where our associated professions are.

Stouse (BMC): A lot of people in our industry are going to marketing.

Davis (Dell): At Dell, we actually encourage people to get experience in different departments.

Whitemon (AA): At that five-year mark, diversity also starts going away in the field. I wonder if there's diversity in the schools in this area.

Tovar (Tovar): Public universities don't see the industry and certainly don't have an affinity for it. PR was a non-industry when it needed to be an industry.

I'm a member of PRSA and the PRSA needs to be assertive and not just have a 30-year committee. We all know how to have an effective diversity program, but it's just not happening.

I know of one program at the University of Texas-El Paso that has dedicated itself to filling that void.
Of all the raw numbers of Hispanics graduating, PR is 1% of where those people go. Engineering, science, math — sectors like that have all created pipelines to diverse students. It's just not happening in our industry. And that also impacts our ability to grow our business.

Stouse (BMC): Tech PR is very diverse, but that's probably a function of the industry itself. My team is more multilingual and multi-ethnic than ever. I think that's a model of where our industry is going.

Callahan (Komen): Pay plays a huge part in this, too. You can't come out of school and make nothing anymore. Not being able to find that talent to hire is frustrating.

Whitemon (AA): I have to admit, there was a time when I did not recommend that people enter PR. Pay was one of the reasons. Also, a lot of our jobs were going to reporters. But now, I highly recommend PR because I see the influence we now have on the companies, their products, and the social agenda.

Bartholomew (MWW): If we can't fix it, it has to happen at the schools.

Stouse (BMC): So how much of this dynamic of attracting people and keeping them is a function of client budgets? If you can pay someone X amount as compared to what you can bill them out at, how much of this is keeping people from coming into the industry?

Stevens (Vollmer): It's definitely competitive. But it does get to a point where there isn't a spot for everyone and people naturally end up leaving. How is that different from other industries?

Stouse (BMC): We're losing that power base in that seven- to ten-year person who goes to marketing because the pay is better and they feel they have more credibility in their company. It's an interesting dichotomy. On one hand, corporations will say they value PR, but in many cases they don't put their money behind it.

Russ (WE): The salaries are certainly a factor. But there's always a seven-year itch of agency people who want to see what it's like on the corporate side. And I can't say that's a mistake. I started at a corporation and I think it's made me a better agency person.

Stevens (Vollmer): We had a number of people at that seven-year level who left us and came back after two years. Folks want to experiment and see what else is out there.

Davis (Dell): And I want them to have that experience.

Clark (Match.com): I was at an agency until two months ago. Going in with that client-service mentality that you get at an agency makes you a better PR person on the corporate side. And now that I'm at a corporate, I really understand things from this side, which would make me a stronger agency person. There's a tremendous benefit to seeing both sides of it.

Tovar (Tovar): A lot of people I know went to the corporate side and found out that there was no PR commitment or plan. They then went back to agencies.

Callahan (Komen): I've been on all sides — agency, corporate, and nonprofit. We seem to have an influx of people who are sick of both, so Komen gets a lot of individuals who want to make a difference and help people.

Bartholomew (MWW): It's just a new mindset out there. Kids are telling their parents to get hybrid cars.

Tovar (Tovar): The market is fascinating in the way that it changes our industry, even when our industry may not be ready for that change.

O'Brien: You can't go anywhere now without coming across "green." How is the Dallas area doing in terms of that?

Bartholomew (MWW): Frankly, I think it's a bit of a laggard on this front. It's not Austin or Boulder, CO, or Portland or Seattle. It's somewhere between thought leader and total apathy.

Russ (WE): Austin is doing well on that front, but in a unique way. People actually don't write checks in Austin to support such causes. They feel that you write checks when you don't want to do anything. What they do is volunteer their time and efforts. Dell's recycling program is a great example of that. And it's really not just green, it's about sustainability.

Stouse (BMC): There's an invisible hand affecting how entities enter the "green" arena, too. Green is now becoming a cost-driven issue and that's what will make it stick.

Davis (Dell): I totally agree. Green has to be cost-effective.

Stouse (BMC): It's the market that's forcing this thinking. Look at the cost of gas. Who would ever have dreamed we'd have the types of cars we have now?

Davis (Dell): BP has changed its name [from British Petroleum]. But there's also the issue of greenwashing and the agencies play a critical part in counseling on this. They are telling clients that they have to first engage in green activities and then we can get that message out to their customers. It can't happen the other way around.

Stevens (Vollmer): That worries me. People will now start green programs that aren't committed to it. And then it won't mean anything and it might discourage companies from doing it in a bigger, more meaningful way.

Callahan (Komen): There's always the cause du jour and Texas is a huge nonprofit center. But "green" is not the same thing. It's not just a cause, but it's the way we live now.

Tovar (Tovar): It's the convergence of two things here. Texas is an oil-rich state. Our reality is not the same as anywhere else. It's part of our cultural psyche here where we can have both. It really takes the Shell Oils and BPs to change that psyche and make it OK to be in Texas and still drive a Prius. We can support sustainability and still understand our local economy.

Counting philanthropy dollars and volunteer hours did not exist five years ago. It's not recycling any more. It's measuring engagement and seeing the dollar value in these initiatives.

Stouse (BMC): The Texas market will drive a battery-powered suburban vehicle.

Davis (Dell): We also need to look at the role green plays in internal communications and employee retention. That's almost more important than the external message.

Russ (WE): The employees need to believe in what the company stands for.

Davis (Dell): You need to give the message to your employees first — if you can — in order for it to have an external impact.

Bartholomew (MWW): Or simultaneously at the very least.

O'Brien (PRWeek): Internal communications and younger staffers - what are the challenges there?

Bartholomew (MWW): It's more on HR than corporate communications to drive this.

Tovar (Tovar): That's unfortunate because HR is not this sexy, driving area.

Russ (WE): But these employees are gatekeepers.

Davis (Dell): We have 90,000 advocates around the world communicating on our behalf.

Tovar (Tovar): Perhaps internal communications isn't sexy, but it's the internal people who are going to know the most about the company.

Whitemon (AA):
People outside of internal communications don't think much of it, but those who do that work truly value it. They're on the pulse of the company and they know it.

Read (GCI): Maybe it needs to be rebranded.

Davis (Dell): It should be called "change management."

O'Brien (PRWeek): How important are the traditional media outlets?

Stouse (BMC): A lot of people have set it up as false choice. Sometimes traditional media is a better avenue with certain stories. Other times, new media is the way to go. It's really about opening up the most lines of communication that you can. But you really need both. It shouldn't be an either-or scenario.

Bartholomew (MWW): To reach local employees, the local paper is the way to do that.

Callahan (Komen): In reality, all news is still local.

Hemeyer (Pierpont): Even The Houston Chronicle has 29 neighborhood papers. We work with them a lot. "Segmentation" is the word today in our business, whether it's our audience or the media. The typical CEO's main concern is not online.

Stouse (BMC): The irony of all this is that the right blog will actually have more impact on sales than The Wall Street Journal, especially in the tech sector. There's the practical aspect of media outreach and then there's the trophy.

Bartholomew (MWW): I'd still rather have Walt Mossberg cover something positively than CrunchGear or EndGadget.

Stouse (BMC): In the consumer space, I'd agree with that. However, in the tech space, it's a defined community, but not a physical one. In that sector, blogs really are the best way to reach your target audience.

Whitemon (AA): It depends on the topic, but I still think it starts with the local paper. Your radio broadcast and your early morning TV news broadcast is often based directly on what they see in the morning paper.

Read (GCI): Local papers are usually the ones that cause the crisis. Dailies see so much turnover that you have to do so much education with reporters now. Of course, that's also an opportunity to train them.

Stevens (Vollmer): I agree. We deal with the travel media a lot. It would be nice if they stayed on one beat for a while. It's frustrating when you have that media turnover and lose people who really understand your sector.

Whitemon (AA): That's an issue on the broadcast side, too.

Tovar (Tovar): A lot of radio stations are switching to Spanish-language formats, while multi-ethnic, multilingual papers are growing by 300%. For a lot of my clients, my job is demystifying the change and making them realize that if you want Hispanics to do something, you have to be in community print. An example: Last week, Google advertised in Spanish papers.

Davis (Dell): In the small-business world, papers are still huge. People in that market are still turning to print.

Callahan (Komen): It depends on the industry you're in. Multicultural outlets are huge.

Davis (Dell): It's more about the audience than the industry.

Russ (WE): Audience is key. If your target audience is not reading blogs, you shouldn't blog. You want to do something online if your audience is online.

Davis (Dell): The need to compete with the speed of online reporting is changing how traditional media operate.

Stouse (BMC):The Houston Chronicle got a business editor after not having one for three years. That's telling of how there aren't as many traditional reporters as there once were.

Callahan (Komen): We have to figure out how to get to these people who get information in different ways.

Tovar (Tovar): It's all about engagement with the right influencers. It's a third party. For that segment, you need to grasp that third-party connection.

Whitemon (AA): Vehicles change, issues change, products change, but it all boils down to your audience.

Fortune 500 companies in the Dallas area

ExxonMobil (Irving)
Dell (Round Rock)
Kimberly-Clark (Irving)
Centex
Texas Instruments
Fluor (Irving)
TXU
Dean Foods
Tenet Healthcare
Southwest Airlines
Energy Transfer Equity
Commercial Metals (Irving)
Celanese
Atmos Energy
Blockbuster
Affiliated Computer Services

Selected PR agencies in Dallas

BlueCurrent PR
Burson-Marsteller
Dawson & Murray & Teague Communications
Edelman
Fleishman-Hillard
GCI Group
GolinHarris
Ketchum
Levenson & Brinker PR
Michael A. Burns & Associates
MWW Group
Pierpont Communications
The Powell Group
Richards Partners
Shelton Group
Sunwest Communications (MS&L affiliate)
Tovar PR
Vollmer Public Relations
Waggener Edstrom Worldwide
Weber Shandwick

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