Client: Grabiner/Hall (Inglewood, CA)
PR Team: Robert Wynne, independent PR consultant (Los Angeles)
Campaign: Candy for Kande
Time Frame: December 2000 to February 2001
Budget: dollars 1,300
In the cut-throat competitive world of ad and graphic design, agencies
face an uphill battle in making a name for themselves. The struggle is
all that much more fierce for boutiques. Despite this, Grabiner/Hall had
never done much in the way of self-promotion during its 15-year
Last December, principals Lenn Grabiner and Kande Hall decided it was
time to take a more active role in marketing their namesake agency. The
two hired independent consultant Robert Wynne to develop and implement a
campaign to drive new business and referrals.
Grabiner and Hall knew that big-time ad agencies - such as
TBWA/Chiat/Day and Goodby Silverstein - often turn down projects and
accounts that lack multimillion-dollar budgets but would make great
clients for a boutique. They looked to establish an identity and forge
relationships with these firms to become a referral option for them.
They also sought to increase awareness for Grabiner/Hall among the SoCal
business community, mainly via editorial coverage. To achieve both
goals, the team devised a two-tiered plan: a clever direct mail piece
and a media relations campaign around the mailing itself.
'Our objective was to build a brand for ourselves by getting on the
radar screens of prospective clients, media targets and large agencies
in the area,' says Grabiner.
Using Grabiner/Hall in-house talent, the team designed and produced a
direct mail package that consisted of a box of See's chocolate truffles
and a postcard playing on the firm's name that read 'Candy can help!' on
one side and 'Kande can help!' on the other. Packages were mailed out to
100 key contacts (prospects, other agencies, reporters) in January, and
another 100 were mailed out in February. Each package was followed up by
a phone call to gauge possible interest in setting up future
In addition, Wynne used the package as an entry point for the local
business media, pitching the idea of a profile on the firm to
publications such as the Los Angeles Business Journal, the Los Angeles
Times, the Daily Breeze and Entrepreneur magazine.
From a media relations standpoint, the candy mailer campaign resulted in
a lengthy profile (25 inches) in the (Torrance) Daily Breeze and an
article in Ragan's PR newsletter. Perhaps more importantly, the mailer
opened the door to meetings with powerhouse firms TBWA/Chiat/Day and
Deutsch, both of which expressed interest in setting up an agency
alliance or subcontracting situation.
'The campaign has been a great success so far, opening quite a few doors
for us,' confirms Grabiner.
Grabiner/Hall will continue the momentum with new mailers going out to
the same audience every six weeks. 'The challenge is in making them
memorable enough to stand out from the clutter,' says Grabiner.