In this second year of its Regional Forums, PRWeek will focus on seven top markets: Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Washington, DC, the Bay Area, and Texas. For each region, leading PR professionals from a variety of firms, corporations, and nonprofits will participate in a roundtable discussion about the PR issues that affect them and their peers.
Julia Hood and Tom Acitelli were in New York for the second of this year's PRWeek Regional Forums.
The unedited transcipt follows below:
Pat Hanlon VP of communications, NY Giants
Roberto Ramos President and CEO, LatinVox
Mark Devaney PR director, Grafica
Michael Kempner President and CEO, MWW
Peter Osgood Partner, Osgood, O'Donnell & Walsh
Mark Aaron VP of IR, Tiffany & Co.
David Kratz President and CEO, Euro RSCG Magnet
Jolie Hunt PR director, Financial Times
Raymond Kerins Jr. SVP and MD of media relations, Americas GCI
Cos Mallozzi President and CEO, Gibbs & Soell
R. Jeep Bryant MD of corporate communications, Bank of New York
Michael Lasky Partner, Davis & Gilbert THE EFFECT OF THE ECONOMY
Mark Devaney (Grafica): I think it depends a lot on which sector of the market you're talking about. I think that's one of the interesting things about the market in New York right now. For us, consumer marketing is a very hot area, and health care is very hot. I would say that corporate and technology is fine, but flat, in terms of growth.
Julia Hood (PRWeek): Sort of like it was two years ago?
Devaney (Grafica): Well, I think the difference is two years ago I wouldn't even have said consumer was really. I feel like companies are these days willing to spend a lot on consumer marketing. I feel like they are still being tight on their general corporate communications.
Hood (PRWeek): Is that the point of view on the corporate side?
Mark Aaron (Tiffany & Co.): Yes. I have found over time what leads to the growth of public relations manifolds, when companies are entering new markets, expanding into new businesses. So I think the firming of the economy may make some of that happen. But absent that, staff areas are often the first to be cut as the economy's heading south, and I think sometimes the last to grow as the economy's coming back. So it does take some catalyst inside the organization for us to be able to build up a staffing plan or an extension plan, again, for something new that the organization is doing. Just having the economy strengthen and business start to pick up doesn't necessarily deal with public relations measure.
David Kratz (Euro RSCG Magnet): A couple of years ago, agencies were doing a lot of things like corporate reputation practices and I do not hear very much about that kind of thing any more. I feel the real corporate work these days is the b to b work. Even the corporate communications they want to be tied to market results.
Michael Kempner (MWW): I think that's accurate. But I think in terms of communications, from our perspective, is picking up considerably. I think it's mostly even driven and transaction driven, and not always positive events. But I think the definition of corporate communications has extended dramatically. There's also so much in that bucket. So I think at the same time you can look at different practice areas, you can look at different buckets, look at corporate communications and see the pickup. The other practice, I would add, from our perspective, that is strong and remains strong and is growing rapidly, is public affairs, which, to a large degree, is also recession proof. And in bad times it's a good business and in good times it's a great business.
Roberto Ramos (LatinVox): From the perspective of an agency that was founded about two and half years ago, in the terms of a timeline, there was an interesting overlap. I got to see the, in terms of our specific focus being the Hispanic market, we're sort of dealing with two economies, looking at the general market and how the Hispanic market is being perceived. Definitely the Census data helped immensely. So although we were launching the entity at a very difficult time, for us, it was very good, in terms of a lot of companies were having this discussion: How do we get into the Hispanic market. And really the best way of getting in there, public affairs is key. Again, talking about marketing, we're perhaps 20, 30 years behind the timeline in terms of corporate reputation with the different...So we're definitely seeing the growth with consumers, health-care, another very healthy one. Any highly competitive segment. One of our clients, General Motors, the auto industry is obviously very, a lot of activities there. We're seeing the uptake on two levels. The economy's doing better. We're feeling a bit more excited about the opportunities. Then, the diversity opportunities, with regard to the Hispanics, given the fact that it's the largest minority and also, given the situation being what it is in Latin America, it's the most attractive Latin-American market, the one with the longest democratic history, the best infrastructure. And New York, I think, for the first time, is playing a decisive role in the Hispanic market. It used to be seen as purely Caribbean basing, and, in the past five years, a strong Mexican population, makes it a bit more diverse. So, from a marketing perspective, it's a place where a lot of things are happening as well.
Michael Lasky (Davis & Gilbert): We have an interesting perspective because we have a law firm that does a lot of work in the communications sector. We assess business trends by the kinds of agency-client agreements we either do or amend, the kinds of RFPs we are asked to look at by way of attachments, as well as the offer letters or the termination letters that may be on the employment side. We that perspective, I echo a lot of what David said. Certainly, both the agency-client agreement side and what I'll call line extensions to existing client relationships that agencies of ours have, certainly the pharmaceutical, consumer, customer-relationship management, marketing new media, and perhaps also public affairs. But those are the areas that we see a lot of activity on expanding of assignments, sometimes as new contracts are put into place, sometimes at the end of contracts that are put into place. Similarly, when we look at the employment side, certainly there's been a real stabilization. We're no longer involved in the kinds of reduction in force, mass layoffs in plain English, that were very much a part of the market a year and a half ago. I'd say stabilization with uptick, and when we see where the uptick is, not surprisingly, it aligns closely with those sectors. And I'd actually add that the multicultural agencies that we represent, you hear significant numbers in the Los Angeles area, substantial hiring. So those are very different kinds of predictors, both on the contract side and the people side, the talent side. But I think what we're seeing, not surprisingly, has some alignment between the two.
Aaron (Tiffany): I think I come at it in some agreement and a little bit differently as well, because on the consumer side, the corporate side, as a retailer, we're obviously delighted to see the economy improving, and it's really starting to pick up throughout the US and in New York in the second half of last year. But when I hear about all the cutbacks that had occurred at some firms, and you ask the question of are things starting to grow again, we never cut back. We didn't scale back our initiatives at all during the tough times of the past two years. We didn't cut back advertising or PR, so we don't all of a sudden step up to the plate again. We maintained that spending, and, of course, financial strength was part of it and this long-term philosophy was part of it as well. We've just taken this very, very consistent approach over the years, but we're certainly delighted to see the stock market's doing better and the layoffs on Wall Street have dissipated, and affluent consumers are doing better.
Cos Mallozzi (Gibbs & Soell): I think it's safe to say what we're seeing is the noise level has increased as it relates to business development, whether it be the RFPs or the inquiries that are incoming, in addition to our outgoing efforts. I still question how many of those are being converted. But I am seeing an increase over last year, which is very encouraging. I also think what we're seeing and we also recently launched a financial and a health-care practice, and that's where we're seeing most of the noise. And, of course, our consumer business continues to grow. We've had two record years and the consumer business has really been the driver of both of those. The other thing I'm beginning to see is these practice areas we all have are starting to converge. And I think where a lot of organizations and agencies maybe unlike G&S, had a very distinct consumer practice and health-care practice, etc, etc, down the line. And I think particularly here in New York, as far as I'm concerned, the world's capital, not just the nation's capital in terms of communications obviously, but technology and consumer and health care and all those components within, be it design and fashion, are all driving together that is kind of redefining lifestyle in general. I think that's an opportunity for all of us.
Jolie Hunt (Financial Times): I think that there's also a regional convergence happening right now, where the FT Asia has been huge for us in the past and we are now seeing investments in our parent company agreed to eight months ago coming to fruition with the launch of an Asian edition. I think the global economy, especially in China, you can see the boom having an effect on what we're doing in New York and on the global communications stage. I think different because I feel it's not really specific industries, per se, because of the paper, but really regionally. And we're tracking what makes the most sense for investment and for allocating time and resource. And I think the US coupled with Asia are the real boom for now.
Hood (PRWeek): And your headquarters are in New York?
Hunt (FT): The global headquarters, yes, are in London. But the US headquarters are in New York, and the Asia headquarters are in Hong Kong.
Hood (PRWeek): And you've been hitting PR quite hard, haven't you, in the past year?
Hunt (FT): Yeah, yeah. There's been a real focus on PR and what I think dollar per dollar PR can bring to an organization that traditionally advertising doesn't. And I think because it's more visible now. So the theory, if you go on Bloomberg or somewhere, your CEO, your clients or your subscribers see the tangible effects of strong media relations. It's a lot easier to quantify in a lot of ways. Personally speaking, there's a lot more interest on a global level on what PR can do, and it's a different animal because it's media for the media in a lot of ways. It's been fascinating to watch, and I think looking at the ripple effect, what's happening overseas and just the trendspotting here, it's...
Ramos (LatinVox): I think you touch on a critical point, and it goes back to what you were mentioning, Cos, regarding the marketing mix itself, and it's sort of Darwinistic dynamic that is taking place in terms of returning investments. We definitely see it in the Hispanic market as more companies are involved, are getting involved, in the Hispanic market, there's a greater degree of saturation, which also finds to a general market, you find a lot of these consumer surveys, no more commercials. So where do I take my message? How do I differentiate myself? So I think between the marketing and the mix, PR is climbing slowly. And, again, we see it with a lot of our clients. They want to extend that message beyond the 30-second spot.
Kempner (MWW): That's the million-dollar question right now. I think that there's a universal acceptance that advertising doesn't work or does not work as it did in the past, particularly among key demographics. And so a significant amount of discussion, speeches, articles, that money's going to be going into other disciplines and PR. The real question is when do those dollars really migrate in significant fashion. So right now I think there's some of it happening today. But do those dollars really go from advertising to PR or is it really just a discussion of how advertising agencies are going to spend those dollars. I think that's the million-dollar question right now.
Devaney (Grafica): Speaking as someone who works in an advertising agency, when the recession hit, we noticed a lot of clients that were typically spending money on brand advertising or direct mail started pulling back on those budgets and started looking to PR as the age-old free way to get attention. It's a great way for us to establish a deeper relationship with our clients to show them that you could use PR as a means to keep your brand alive in a, quote-unquote, down economy. And that strengthened relationships. And also just what a PR person brings to it without, I guess you could say, the flash of advertising that can be perceived as a lack of sincerity, which I don't think is true at all because I strive to work, all the media, the media has to work together. I don't think one's going to take over another, but I don't think there's been that big movement in budget from advertising to PR that we all kind of hoped for or wished for. The key message for me has been to keep the brand relationship between an agency in down times through PR.
Lasky (Davis & Gilbert): I don't think there's been a big movement either, but I do find clients are increasingly, and you were talking about media relations, and I find clients are increasingly connecting, going directly to the consumer, not necessarily through the media as well.
Hunt (FT): I think there's been shift in how people think and perceive PR, instead of just a budget change. I think that the perception has completely changed, especially in the boardroom, about what PR can bring.
Kempner (MWW): But do you really think it's back to where it was in 2000? I'm talking about perception.
Hunt (FT): No.
Kempner (MWW): It used to be more important than religion.
Peter Osgood (Osgood, O'Donnell & Walsh): I would like to take exception with what you said about the boardroom. The boardroom, half of them don't understand what the hell we do.
Hunt (FT): Maybe it's different for a publishing house. But I think that when we have the executive board of both the publishing and the editorial side of the paper, Ray and I work together, maybe Ray, as a third party, could comment on that better perhaps.
Kerins (GCI): Well, from the purest FT perspective, the most senior people understand it and get it, and that's the reason why there's been so much of this drive the last year. The understand the value of it based on one individual communicating the value of it internally, sitting down with them and saying, This is what's going to happen. And this actually stems off the conversation we had at our agency two years ago, which was we're hearing the money is going away, we're hearing people are slashing stuff, we're also hearing the money that's left, we want to have an established, What is my return on investment, what is the bottom-line difference you're going to show me in the end. This is nothing new. What we're trying to do, GCI started two years ago, is really look at that part and look at the head media guy for GCI. We're not talking about counting clips. We do it, some clients want it, fine. We're talking about what's the underlying driving factor that'll make that needle move. What is going to sell more subscriptions? What is going to put more butts in the seats of airplanes? So being smart about identifying your target audience and being smart about doing media, but the other stuff, all the stuff that we do, but is it really making that difference? And the answer is, in most cases, yeah, it's making a difference, but we have to keep challenging ourselves that much more every day. As part of an advertising firm, Gram advertising is one of our sister companies, we dive in and try to get more analytical data out of them as we can. What are women ages 18 to 35 reading, watching, how are they getting their news, where's it coming from? We did a thing for one of our clients recently, and found the number one publication for that group? American Baby. Who would've known? And when you have those hard numbers and you turn to your clients and say, This is what Nielsen data says, you want to reach a target audience, this is how you go about getting it. Here are the top publications on parenting in that age group. Newsweek, nothing against Newsweek. They're like number 94, number 94. It's interesting. We all have our own gut checks, but what is the business analytics we're trying to achieve? And we hired a management consultant firm in-house to help us push this thing along. Are we there? We're getting close. It's a long process, and I think if anyone finds that silver bullet, they're all going to make a lot of money.
Osgood (Osgood): Let's go back to the boardroom. That's the kind of work I do. I get agencies and companies, the biggest of the companies, the top guys will come down and say, You've got to look at this for me. How do we get in the C suite more? We got to get in the C suite more. And you go to the C suite and you talk to them, and they say, We've got our corporate communications, we don't need those agency guys. The question is: How many of those C suite people really understand the contribution that we make in multiple fronts other than when there's a crisis.
Pat Hanlon (Giants): Our league is what it is today because of PR. To me, this is an interesting conversation because we're talking about marketing and now PR is enjoying a resurgence in the business world. But the popularity of our league goes back to Pete Roselle, who was a PR guy. And there's no magic to it. It was grassroots PR. And that, combined with what a great TV product we have, all this conversation is foreign to me. But the history of our league is the reverse of what this conversation is. Marketing and advertising have had to catch up with PR. With the Giants, for instance, 15 years ago, there wasn't a marketing department. There wasn't any guy. The PR guy was the marketing guy, the community relations guy and he was the media relations guy. That was one guy. And the PR department was one and a half people. So it's interesting the comparison between your world and what we enjoy is night and day.
Aaron (Tiffany): Who has the larger budget, marketing or PR?
Hanlon (Giants): I don't know if PR has a budget. Marketing, because marketing just showed up at the table, you better justify it. But it's an interesting contrast with what we're talking about here.
AGENCY GROWTH ACROSS THE NATION Devaney (Grafica): For us, it's immense. We're getting LA, we're getting Detroit, we're getting the heartland, that's really opening up to these diversity opportunities.
Kempner (MWW): I think New York is strong, but I think a lot of places are strong.
Kratz (Euro): I've had a couple of instances, I don't know if other people have had this, but clients from other regions insist on being represented out of New York. And in that sense I feel it's become strong and hot. I feel that maybe it's because things were shaky for a while, but there's a real sense that this is the media capital, the most important market to be present in, the credibility factor, if you're making your stake, making your claim to New York.
Kempner (MWW): I think it's true, but I also have clients that in my mind, clearly should be based on New York, and insist on being based out of LA or Seattle. So I wouldn't say it's across the board, but I still think New York is New York, and nothing like it, but it's not across the board.
Devaney (Grafica): We recently had to move a bunch of people from San Francisco to New York. The client wouldn't accept being represented out there.
TALENT & HIRING Jeep Bryant (Bank of New York): I have been. I'm now finished for a while.
Hood (PRWeek): Did you use a recruiter?
Bryant (Bank of New York): Yes.
Hood (PRWeek): And how did that go?
Bryant (Bank of New York): I've now been in New York for a year or so. It's been much more feast than famine for me to come to this and start recruiting. Not that it was easy, but much easier than where I'd been before [Pittsburgh]. I guess, like a lot of you, I did find it easier on the external PR side, a deeper pool of candidates with strong media relations experience. It was harder on the employee communications side. And thinking about why that is, I think one factor that we still struggle with across many organizations is putting as much emphasis on the employee communications function, meaning not putting our best young talented people in that function and grooming there. So the talent pool on the employee communication side was much thinner. And the recruiter firm I was working with was saying that wasn't unique to this search. That was what they struggle with. Salaries can be the same, but looking for someone with PEEP(?) experience, both strategic and tactical in the employee communications side is more of a challenge.
Hood (PRWeek): And what about interest?
Bryant (Bank of New York): Again, I think that will vary from organization to organization, but I think in general you tend to be more of a star inside the organization when you're on the media relations side. And so it becomes a self-fulfilling process that therefore that's where the strongest talent resides.
Hunt (FT): That's like in HR. Some big companies will look at employee communications as an HR function.
Kempner (MWW): Many.
Hunt (FT): More than a typical corporate communications function.
Osgood (Osgood): So many companies are looking at their business model. Their people, the service industries, they are the sales people.
Kerins (GCI): I would say because of that we've actually seen an uptick in employee communications programs on behalf of our clients, because it's been part of the market communications function, if you will.
Mallozzi (Gibbs & Soell): I think there's still good talent out there. I just think it's a little harder to find. I seem to think it takes a little longer. I wonder where all the talent went that lost their jobs two years ago. I question was there really that much talent that was let go. I don't know. But we're finding good people are out there. We've hired four, five senior level people in the last 12 months, great contributors to the business already. It took a little longer to find them, but when we found them, they were the right people.
Osgood (Osgood): How about senior talent? Getting ready for this meeting, I looked through who was going to be here and I didn't see a number of the big agencies. I talked to a few top people over there to see what they were saying, and, again, they have no problem hiring mid-level talent and beginning talent. And we see this, too. But the problem is hiring senior talent. Getting it and getting it to grab hold. And a lot of them face economic problems. They're not even being allowed by their holding companies to hire in anticipation of improvement. They're under pressure to produce margins for the holding companies. So, they're working behind the track rather than ahead of the track. And it doesn't matter if it's the New York market. They have just as much trouble hiring senior talent anywhere around the globe, but here in particular we're still expensive.
Kerins (GCI): As one of the top 10 global firms, we're having a hell of a time finding good talent. It's killer.
Kempner (MWW): It's easy to find average people that may not fit your corporate culture. But to find excellent people who also fit your corporate culture is a challenge.
Kerins (GCI): I've had one open spot in my personal group for a senior-level health-care media expert for the last year and a half. Why? Because I don't want a publicist. I don't want a pitcher. I want a full-rounded PR person who is damn good at media relations. And I think if you look across the board, I think we've all now sort of raised our game that much more in PR in the last decade. And I think we're looking at the next level of full-rounded, full-service people. We just don't want anybody who's going to go sit in a room with a book and a press release and start pitching. Nobody needs that stuff, because clients don't want it.
Kempner (MWW): I have seen a pick-up, not at our agency, but people I've interviewed or people I know that are clearly very average talent getting hired for very clearly above-average salaries. So there seems to be somewhat of a rush to hire. You still have to hold true to your corporate culture. The fact is you still have to hold true and wait for the right people.
Kerins (GCI): And you hold out and you work harder and you hope the right person's going to come along.
Kempner (MWW): We've always spent a lot of time on retention, but you always keep that as a top priority.
Hanlon (Giants): How do you attract the candidates to find that person?
Kempner (MWW): We tell them we're across from you.
Kerins (GCI): We just hired a pretty significant guy to run our corporate group in North America. He came out of Ford Credit the last six something years. Walter Jennings is his name. I got to tell you, next to the head of our health-care practice, which came out of Bristol-Meyer-Squibb three years ago, probably that's the best hire we've personally made. Because he's so well-rounded, he's traveled the world, he's run agencies in Hong Kong and Tokyo and New York. I got to tell you, that was a hard, hard find. But we did what you were just talking about.
Kempner (MWW): I take Peter's point, in that I think there is a lesson in the revolving door among certain positions among certain agencies that people are settling. So you see a lot of revolving doors happening among the handful of agencies, among the same people. So that tells you people are settling because they can't find the people they want. They'll go to agencies back and forth.
Hood (PRWeek): Are you doing any hiring on the IR side, any at all?
Aaron (Tiffany): IR got hit pretty hard over the last couple of years, but it seems to be coming back. We're going to have a lot more openings at companies that were not really focusing on IR. They sort of subordinated it during the tough times. And it appears things are really starting now, which is good, because corporate America needs to take IR more seriously and rebuild reputations and rebuild credibility. With all the scandals in the past couple of years and all the new rules and regulations in the IR world, I think companies are finally starting to realize they've got to take it more seriously. And they've got to hire more senior people who can hit the ground running. I hear from recruiters who are asking me to refer people to them. And they'll say, Mark, I don't care what industry they're in. We want to find really good people. Anybody can learn the industry and learn the company, but they've really got to have good contacts on the Street and be respected on the Street. And that definitely over the past three or four months, I have definitely sensed more companies are saying it's time to get serious again.
Ramos (LatinVox): On the topic of recruitment again, I think one of the things to really highlight a little bit more is how close the industry really is. So a critical question is how do the people in the industry actually feel about what they do. And, again, we've touched upon the topic of internal communications, employee morale, if you're in the industry, you have a very good sense, if you speak to your colleagues, how the agency is doing. What is the moral DNA at that given point. And it's incredible how often us, being communications professionals, are the worst at communicating internally. And you see that. I'm not naming any names. Like Ogilvy for instance, and how they handled their own departures(?), and things like that. So I think that the brand that we build through our employees, the way we do things, is also critical, in terms of raising the bar in the industry in order to affect the best salaries. I think we're at a critical juncture of this objective of going to the outside world and telling the full story. I know from a Hispanic component, we're dealing with companies that haven't done much in the past. So what we have to do is make sure they have a Hispanic friendly story to deal with. So what that means is all of a sudden we're taking the role of business partners, and we're looking at the distributors and all these things that normally communications agencies don't have to look at. But again with this objective of having the tightest story possible to go to the external world, when we're all strategic partners, and there, I think, the way they see us increases. I think that's something that applies across the board to the industry.
Kerins (GCI): That reputation in the field, I don't care what agency it is, how is it started. People leave, and it's such a small world, people talk and things start to swell. And you might try to do a whole campaign, whether it be an advertising campaign, whether, but if you're not really about your people and taking care of them, and teaching them, not coddling them, but really teaching them and valuing them, then it's going to get out on the street. And we've all heard it and seen it from time to time. Each agency's been hit from time to time because we took the eye off the ball of our people. But we've got to be true to ourselves in that respect because I hear it all the time. I get a resume and it's, Oh they were in that place, poor people. And I don't want anyone to complain about GCI. We started six years ago. I was actually one of the founding partners who did this. We actually do a GCI academy, but it's real. And once a week there's a real training class. Internal, external trainers coming in. Jolie's actually done one for us as well. But it's one of these things we're going to stick with, regardless of ups or downs, highs or lows of the economy, we got to keep doing it because you want your folks to leave there, saying, You know what? It was a good place to work. If you're thinking of going there, go for it.
Kempner (MWW): I was always puzzled by how big corporations would split, the internal communications person would never talk to the media and conversely you had the media people who couldn't write word one. I always thought that was puzzling to me when I first got into the industry. And conversely you have media people who couldn't write word one. I always found it puzzling, when I got into the industry, because of the recession and the tightening of budgets, you've got to be more of a utility for a client and do all those things. And if not, people are going to be disheartened and you're going to have bad reputations.
Aaron (Tiffany): In the investor relations field, we've been pushing this whole integrated communications concept. Pretty hard not from an org chart standpoint to say the IR and PR should share the same office. But to say that the entire organization, IR and PR, needs to be constantly working with each other, thinking strategically all the time, and ultimately we're sending one message out there. Even though I'm dealing with financial media and my counterpart is dealing with nonfinancial, but we've all got to be on the same page.
Osgood (Osgood): IBM, it's interesting, the head of media relations actually drafts all the financial press releases, writes the 10-Qs, the 10-Ks. The lawyers get a chance to look at it and make comments. Head of media relations writes the script for the conference calls. It fascinates me to watch that system work out there. The head of corporate communications actually heads the crisis unit. The lawyers report to him.
Hood (PRWeek): So you're seeing a lot of resumes, though?
Kempner (MWW): Tons.
Osgood (Osgood): I think it's an opportunity for the privately held agencies because I think there are so many people in the big agencies that didn't get any raises or any bonuses, anything, for two or three years, yet who saw the leaders of their holding companies selling stock and pocketing millions. And they're saying, You know something, they really didn't care about me.
Kempner (MWW): A lot of the resumes I'm seeing are from people who maybe were staying where they were who now see an opportunity to move. I'll see 10 resumes coming out of one firm. Sometimes it's a small independent firm, sometimes it's a large holding company.
Osgood (Osgood): If I were looking for really senior people, I think this would be the interesting time for those in the privately held to go and seek out some of the talent. As the economy comes back, risk of unemployment goes down, so these people have more confidence in their ability to move. I think this is a time for movement.
Lasky (Davis & Gilbert): I think that's definitely what we're seeing. Two years ago, people were so happy to have their jobs. Nobody was moving. Now people are moving with much greater speed. Another interesting barometer that we see is, when I canvassed the employment group that I oversee before coming here today, one person gave me this analogy that I thought was pretty interesting. Four years ago, virtually not one day would go by where one client of the 100-plus agencies we represent, both public or private, were not calling and asking for a cease and desist letter about somebody violating a covenant or a non-compete on the client side or raiding an employee. Then, there was a period where it was, Please take them, where the phones went dead on the restrictive covenant concerns. And now there's a real interesting uptick, talking about you want to retain the people because there's good will associated with that client and that business relationship. So there's a real uptick in concern about essentially preventing a violation of a restrictive covenant as well as planning to ensure that your house is in order in that regard.
Ramos (LatinVox): Touching a little more on the idea of moving, it's not only moving to other companies, other agencies, our industry, it's incredibly mobile. In other words, it's starting your own business. If we look at some of the segments with incredible growth right now, it's the full consultancy. You think in a much more mobile fashion. It's my contact, it's my relationship with them, it's conceptual, I can go and do this somewhere for myself. It's the entrepreneurial barrier is not as high as you'd find in some areas.
Devaney (Grafica): From the talent side, one of the things we're looking at doing is maybe not necessarily hiring ourselves again. We've got a number of lawyers on staff, some folks from the medical profession. It's about looking for good people instead of, oh they've spent nine years at this agency, let's get them. Again, we don't know if that's the answer, but it's because we're all sort of strapped with the same resumes where we see, we try and go outside the picture and would that help the situation? And in most situations it has.
Hunt (FT): On the reporting side as well, it's now people who are traditionally not journalists by nature are looking to become journalists. We have an unbelievable number of resumes from ex-Goldman folks or Citigroup or investment bankers, where the media, especially the financial media, they're putting such an emphasis on the ability to read a balance sheet and comment thoughtfully on the trend and not just, and I don't think that is unique to the FT, but the amount of resumes we've received from all different types of folks - reporters, bankers, traders, producers of TV shows. We must get 100 resumes a week.
Aaron (Tiffany): That's refreshing to hear that.
Hunt (FT): And the editors are looking for that. Even the fellowships for financial journalists, the Knight-Bagehot at Columbia, there is such a large emphasis on keeping things straight and the impact governance has had on reporting and the consumers of your products, especially in the media. CONTINUED: 1/2