MINNEAPOLIS: Spong has promoted agency veteran Julie Batliner to president as founder Doug Spong steps into the role of president emeritus, effective immediately.
Batliner, who has worked at Spong for 10 years, will lead the agency’s Minneapolis and New York offices and report to Mike Lescarbeau, CEO of sister Interpublic Group firm Carmichael Lynch.
Despite the leadership change, Batliner said Spong will remain active counseling longstanding clients at the eponymous agency.
Batliner said she is looking forward to expanding the firm’s services.
"We have a huge opportunity in front of us to continue to drive business results for our clients through new collaborations and really taking full advantage of those blurred lines in terms of marketing expertise and different disciplines but being rooted in strategic PR," she explained.
One of her focuses will be "idea-centric thinking," through which the firm will develop an idea and figure out the right mix of tactics to effectively tell a story, Batliner added.
She noted that social engagement and content, as well as influencer marketing and analytics, are important growth areas for the agency. Batliner will also continue to emphasize best practices in planning strategies and media relations.
Her promotion is taking place more than a year after the agency rebranded from Carmichael Lynch Spong to Spong to create a stronger distinction from ad agency Carmichael Lynch.
Batliner has been influential in winning key accounts for Spong, such as Arla Foods, Formica, Jennie-O Turkey Store, Schwan, and US Bank, the firm said in a statement.
In 2010, the agency promoted Batliner from chief client relations officer to her most recent role as MD. Prior to joining Spong, Batliner spent about seven years in FleishmanHillard’s Minneapolis and Kansas City, Missouri, offices. She previously worked at Valentine Radford and Morgan & Myers.
Batliner added that as a woman PR leader, she regularly moderates leadership panels and is active in Interpublic’s female leadership network.
"Diversity and inclusion of thinking is a big focus of mine and our agency," she added.