ATLANTA: ISP giant Earthlink, which recently announced the completion of a dollars 4 billion merger with Mindspring, has doubled its in-house communications department and earmarked approximately dollars 3 million for PR activities in the year ahead.
ATLANTA: ISP giant Earthlink, which recently announced the
completion of a dollars 4 billion merger with Mindspring, has doubled
its in-house communications department and earmarked approximately
dollars 3 million for PR activities in the year ahead.
According to Kirsten Hamling, who will lead the newly merged company’s
PR as VP of corporate communications and IR, Earthlink’s in-house PR
staff has been doubled to 10 full-time communications execs.
Geographically, they will be divided between the new corporate HQ in
Atlanta and Hamling’s Pasadena home base.
The merger resulted in few lost jobs among the company’s PR minions.
Mindspring corporate communications director Kirsten Witt will continue
in the same role for Earthlink. Based in Atlanta, she will oversee the
company’s narrowband and e-commerce communications. Arley Baker, who
oversees broadband, business services and content, will be Witt’s
counterpart in Pasadena.
Additionally, few of Mindspring and Earthlink’s existing PR firms were
shown the door. Though Hamling said she may consider consolidating
agencies in the future, Manning Selvage & Lee, Alexander Ogilvy and The
Bohle Company all remain on retainer. MS&L focuses on consumer PR, while
Bohle handles broadband and Alexander Ogilvy works on executive
visibility and business services.
According to Hamling, the company’s PR goal remains what it has been for
the last few years: ’We want to brand Earthlink as the clear number-two
ISP.’ While dollars 3 million may seem an exorbitant amount to achieve
this, the hefty PR budget is necessary to adequately support the
company’s four business units, ’each of which comprises about a dollars
1 billion dollar company,’ Hamling pointed out.
During the three months since the merger announcement, Hamling’s team
has been involved in coordinating a series of ’Lift Off’ events, all of
which took place earlier this month. These include the coordination of
an interactive online presentation for analysts and shareholders as well
as appearances by CEO Garry Betty on CNBC and CNN.
Claiming 3.1 million daily users, Earthlink bills itself as the largest
independent ISP. Recently reported fourth quarter results show the
company’s quarterly revenues approaching dollars 200 million.