Horn Group to help hi5 in US

SAN FRANCISCO: Social networking site hi5 recently selected the Horn Group as its AOR, following a competitive review.

SAN FRANCISCO: Social networking site hi5 recently selected the Horn Group as its AOR, following a competitive review.

Mike Trigg, VP of marketing for hi5, said it selected the Horn Group because of its relevant experience, capabilities, and geographic reach.

The agency has been tasked with increasing hi5's brand awareness in the US, developing global messaging, and overseeing product launches, which include virtual worlds, new language versions of the site, and mobile components.

"We do see Facebook... as a major competitor," Trigg said, noting that both companies were experiencing "significant user growth."

The hi5 site launched in 2003 and claims to have approximately 80 million users, 80% of which are outside the US. Its communications strategy will involve expanding its user base to US markets by emphasizing the site's strategy of customizing content for each region, Trigg added.

Outreach in the US will mostly target top-tier business press and bloggers, and international outreach will initially focus on Latin American consumer media, said Dee Anna McPherson, principal at the Horn Group.

"Our big goal for them in the United States is going to be corporate messaging," McPherson said. "Outside the United States, we'll be mostly focused on user acquisition."

McPherson said a challenge for the social network has been getting attention from Silicon Valley media bloggers and reporters.

"One of the big challenges is [Silicon Valley influencers] tend to write about what they use, yet they're really the target user of hi5," she said.

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