CAMPAIGNS: Agency PR - SoCal firm makes a 'name' for itself

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.

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