Sylvan Learning appoints Hunter as AOR

The personal learning and supplemental education company tapped Hunter Public Relations after starting the RFP process with 10 agencies in contention.

BALTIMORE: Supplemental education company Sylvan Learning has selected Hunter Public Relations as AOR following a competitive review.

Hunter was awarded the business last month after an RFP that involved 10 agencies in the first round, six in the second round, and three in the final, said Julia Fitzgerald, CMO of Sylvan Learning.

For the review, Fitzgerald said she brought in Jane Mazur, who previously held senior-level positions at Bausch & Lomb, Ogilvy Public Relations, and Edelman, to help select agencies that fit Sylvan's needs and culture.

Fitzgerald said Hunter showed the company what it can expect from each effort.

“Because I have a smaller marketing team, I need to be able to look at my PR firm as an extension of the marketing team, so I need to know that they'll pull their weight and actually get things done, and Hunter completely convinced me that this was the case,” she explained.   

Fitzgerald added that Hunter's social media skills stood out, as well as the firm's chemistry with the Sylvan team.

Before bringing on Hunter, Sylvan worked with Mullen's marketing-to-women practice, Frank About Women, for about a year, said Fitzgerald.

Representatives from Mullen were not immediately available for comment.

One of Hunter's main tasks is to build buzz and generate awareness for Sylvan's transformation from a traditional tutoring brand to a digital education company.

Jason Winocour, agency partner at Hunter, said the firm will leverage social media marketing plans, as well as PR efforts, to target digital-savvy moms.

Eight staffers will work on the account, including several members from specialized services, such as the social media and digital team, he added.

Hunter is also supporting Sylvan's recently launched Mom as Chief Education Officer platform, which helps parents manage their children's educations by offering the right tools and resources, said Fitzgerald.

On the cause marketing side, Hunter is working with Sylvan on its partnership with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The alliance allows Sylvan to work with children who are survivors of leukemia and may have fallen off-track in terms of education while receiving treatment.

The initial contract with Hunter is for one year, but Fitzgerald said the company “fully hopes” the relationship keeps developing beyond that. Budget information was not disclosed. 

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