Your excellent article on agency branches ("New offices can be gateway to new markets," February 27) noted quite properly that the expanding firm "must have the capital in place to support an investment that might not be immediately profitable."
However, numerous midsize firms have discovered a way to minimize the up-front capital and the downside risk: acquire a small PR firm in that market.
The new office comes in paying its own way. Infrastructure is already in place. It has "that local knowledge" of which you speak and, perhaps, status in the local business community.
Finally, the deal can bring what may be the difference between success and failure: a manager who is used to the responsibility for making money each month and who won't expect the home office to bail him out.
Finding the right firm and negotiating a suitable deal aren't easy. But professional assistance, access to a detailed data bank of the target market, and a willingness to be fair can make it work. Almost any market has successful small firms whose proprietors yearn to get (back) into big-time PR. Professional opportunity can be more important than initial money.
Lee Levitt, principal
Levitt Management Consultants
Broader training needed
I read the March 27 Council of Public Relations Firms column with great interest.
Whatever the agency's field, it seems we're disconnected from the generation that comes out of academia. Take my field: We are an international classical music strategic and PR firm for classical musicians, composers, etc. The "training" they get while at school/conservatories, has nothing to do with the administrative (and realistic) fields out there. Managers, agents, publicists, record company executives, etc.: We almost always come out of music schools, classically trained, yet there's no such course for those of us wanting to branch out.
I believe this discrepancy is bigger than just in PR or in the music business: This is a problem for all non-financial fields.
Clara Park, senior director
Jay K. Hoffman & Associates
A March 27 story on GMAC Commercial Holding Corp.'s internal communications incorrectly asserted that no staffing changes were expected. Actually, communications SVP Joyce Patterson said, "It is too soon to speculate about staffing changes." The story also reported that CEO Robert Feller's staff updates reassured them there would not be management changes. Actually, the updates supplied information on the transaction's status, including management changes. Finally, Kekst & Co. did represent Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. in the deal. We regret the errors.