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
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
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
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
’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.