CHICAGO: Construction product manufacturer USG has picked Edelman to handle corporate reputation PR.
Edelman beat out Golin/Harris and Burson-Marsteller for the account, which involves fees of 'several hundred thousand' dollars but less than dollars 500,000 this year, according to director of corporate communications Pam Kassner.
Edelman was selected because 'the agency just had an outstanding team ready to go,' Kassner said. USG will continue to work with another Chicago firm, Corporate Technology Communications, on product PR.
In addition to losing out on the account, G/H took another hit when Kassner hired John Mandel away from the firm. He becomes USG's manager of corporate communications and brings building supplier PR experience to the company, having worked with Owens/Corning during his G/H tenure.
The rash of PR activity at USG is designed to increase the company's profile and better explain exactly what it does and where it derives its earnings.
For instance, few people know that USG is the company behind Sheetrock ? which remains its flagship brand name ? and still fewer know that USG is a major presence in the rehabilitation and home-repair markets.
'The company has spent the better part of this decade with a low profile,' Kassner said. 'We're kind of a best-kept secret. '
Edelman will work on message development and communications with USG, targeting primarily media. USG also has a NASCAR truck series affiliation, an area where Edelman's sports marketing experience might come into play in the future.
USG had experienced difficult financial times several years ago, but in recent quarters has produced healthy earnings. In the past, the company's financial fate was tied to housing, but today the rehab and home repair markets are major parts of its business.
'We can never separate totally from housing, but we can weaken that link in the minds of both the media and the business community,' Kassner said.