Burrell streamlines operations in effort to highlight its PR offerings

CHICAGO: Burrell Communications, long known for its advertising work in the African-American market, wants to raise the profile of its PR operations.

CHICAGO: Burrell Communications, long known for its advertising work in the African-American market, wants to raise the profile of its PR operations.

It has combined its PR and media relations operations with its sponsorship, promotions, and event marketing arms to create a new engagement-marketing practice.

"We don't just want people to read about the client, we want them to experience the client in different ways," said McGhee Williams, managing director of the new practice. "We felt we needed to do more for clients."

The agency is also expanding its target market beyond the African-American community to young urban youths. With African Americans setting trends for young urbanites in music, sports, and other areas, "our expertise in the African-American market has greatly prepared us for this new youth market," Williams said.

Burrell will seek out PR assignments for both markets. Presently, it has just two PR clients that aren't also advertising clients. While not disclosing PR income, Williams said the firm's goal is to up PR revenues 50% over the next two years.

Burrell has hired Rick Kamel, a Chicago PR veteran, to garner media attention for its efforts to increase PR business.

Williams expects to hire more PR professionals at all levels of experience.

She has a 15-person PR department now, and uses as many as 300 students and others in street teams for local efforts.

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