PR21's CIS unit set to operate on own

CHICAGO: As of July 1, PR21 will rebrand its competitive intelligence services (CIS) offering as an independent business unit.

CHICAGO: As of July 1, PR21 will rebrand its competitive intelligence services (CIS) offering as an independent business unit.

The new company, called Competitive Insights, will continue to offer measurement and analysis products through media tracking and other research tools. Although not incorporated, it will operate as a fully separate unit from PR21.

Currently, about 25% of CIS' clients come from companies with relationships with PR21, and another 25% from parent company Edelman Worldwide. But fully half of CIS' clients retain its services alone.

"We hear a lot of companies taking more and more of their PR efforts in-house, and increasingly calling on service providers, like us, instead of calling on agencies for more bundled full-service offerings," said William Black, VP at PR21, who will be MD of the new entity.

The proof lies in the numbers. Black said the division's revenues were up 115% last year, and its operating margins were the highest in the firm.

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