R&R Hall of Fame pauses search, names Fleishman for short stint

CLEVELAND: The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last week decided to slow the tempo of its search for outside PR counsel. Rather than hiring an agency of record as originally planned (PRWeek, Jan. 17), the Hall has retained hometown firm Watt/Fleishman-Hillard for a four-month assignment.

CLEVELAND: The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last week decided to slow the tempo of its search for outside PR counsel. Rather than hiring an agency of record as originally planned (PRWeek, Jan. 17), the Hall has retained hometown firm Watt/Fleishman-Hillard for a four-month assignment.

CLEVELAND: The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last week decided to slow

the tempo of its search for outside PR counsel. Rather than hiring an

agency of record as originally planned (PRWeek, Jan. 17), the Hall has

retained hometown firm Watt/Fleishman-Hillard for a four-month

assignment.



Fleishman’s win doesn’t necessarily mean it has the inside track at

becoming the Hall’s exclusive agency once the four-month period has

elapsed.



Rather, the Hall will use a strategic communications plan (to be

developed by Fleishman) to determine whether it truly needs an agency of

record, or whether hiring firms on a project basis will suffice. The

plan will also address internal PR staffing needs, according to VP of

planning and development Janis Purdy.



Purdy said Fleishman won the assignment because it had a local presence

as well as national and international capabilities. In a sense, then,

the win validates Fleishman’s decision to enter the Cleveland market

last year through the purchase of the former Watt, Roop & Co.



’Fleishman impressed us with the homework they did on the state of the

organization right now,’ Purdy said.



The Hall received 18 proposals in response to a January RFP which called

for a two-pronged PR approach (namely, creating a plan and then

implementing it). The response was so enthusiastic, Purdy said, that the

Hall decided it would first award a contract to create a plan. Those

invited to make presentations included both local and national

shops.



Watt/Fleishman SVP Pam Barr said the Hall needs to think about

simplifying its messages. It boasts a variety of audiences - consumers,

the music industry and potential corporate sponsors - and trying to

reach all three groups, Barr believes, might lead to a communications

morass. In its pitch, Fleishman emphasized its past work with a client

that had faced the same problem.



Purdy declined to discuss how much Watt/Fleishman is being paid to

create the plan, but noted that the determination of future PR spending

will hinge on the firm’s recommendations and on the Hall’s financial

resources.



’They will tell us how we can most effectively use staff and where it’s

most appropriate to use outside resources,’ she explained.



Barr expects three or four Watt/Fleishman staffers to work on the plan,

which should be completed by the end of June.



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