Financial Times revamps PR strategy to capitalize on growth in US

NEW YORK: The Financial Times, the international business newspaper striving to consolidate gains in the US, has named Jolie Hunt PR director for North America.

NEW YORK: The Financial Times, the international business newspaper striving to consolidate gains in the US, has named Jolie Hunt PR director for North America.

As part of the newspaper's brand expansion on this continent, Hunt, who formerly worked in business development for the FT, has seen her PR role expanded into what she calls a "liaison between the commercial and editorial sides."

"She's my right-hand person for the development of the newspaper and its public expression in all forms," said US managing editor Lionel Barber. "She's involved with the marketing director. She reports to me on all significant media opportunities, and she is consulted on new editorial plans."

The branding effort for the Pearson-owned newspaper includes a consumer ad campaign, its first in three years, and the opening of two printing plants here. The paper's past marketing efforts include the May 2000 launch of FT.com, with an event featuring actor Dan Aykroyd.

In the five years since it launched its US edition, the FT's circulation has more than tripled, to reach 142,000. The new marketing efforts are designed to capitalize on that growth, but will remain true to the paper's niche: senior-level executives and government leaders. All the while, the salmon-colored broadsheet will be competing in a tough market that includes The Wall Street Journal, with 1.8 million readers.

"We're trying to grow while preserving the core readership of the FT," Hunt said. "We're

not trying to be all things to all people."

Hunt has brought in GCI Group to help raise the FT's media profile.

"We're looking at corporate image branding," said Ray Kerins, SVP/MD of the media relations department, Americas. "It's not unlike an investment bank. They've got a lot of intellectual capital in their infrastructure, and we're going to help them roll that out, both with the stories they write and the expertise they hold."

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