LinkedIn hires H&K to expand into entertainment industry, abroad and elsewhere

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA: LinkedIn selected Hill & Knowlton as its AOR to assist in expanding the brand's global presence and consumer education initiatives.

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA: LinkedIn selected Hill & Knowlton as its AOR to assist in expanding the brand's global presence and consumer education initiatives. The selection followed a competitive bid by six agencies.

LinkedIn's outreach plans include increasing site usage among its existing users and raising awareness among industries that do not currently engage with the site at a high level, said Kay Luo, director of corporate communications at LinkedIn.

“We're a profitable company and in the coming years we want to take it to the next level, including probably an [initial public offering],” she said.

Additionally, about half of its users are based outside of the United States, and the company plans to further expand its international market. Luo said its outreach strategy includes traditional and social media.

The company selected H&K based on its ideas, referrals, and employee engagement on LinkedIn.

“Over 1,100 of [Hill & Knowlton] employees are already on LinkedIn so that's close to half of their staff,” she said. “And that was really impressive to us.”

H&K's San Francisco office will manage the account with contribution from its Los Angeles team. Hope Boonshaft, EVP and general manager of H&K's Los Angeles office, said, among other responsibilities, the agency will help expand the site's profile in the entertainment sector.

“It's a huge industry,” Boonshaft said. “I think LinkedIn would like to tap into those resources, because there are so many people in this industry that work independently and that are not necessarily a part of a larger company like a studio. [They] could benefit from the LinkedIn experience of trading information about industry trends.”

Fleishman-Hillard, Dowd Agency, Shift Communications, Horn Group, and SparkPR also pitched for the account. According to industry sources, the Horn Group and Hill & Knowlton were finalists.

PRWeek learned from several industry sources that LinkedIn's budget ranges from $15,000 to $20,000 per month. Luo declined to confirm this figure but said the PR budget will likely expand over time.

LinkedIn also recently retained the Dowd Agency for its radio and television PR.

“We will be targeting the big three morning shows,” said Jim Dowd, founder and CEO of the Dowd agency. This includes The Today Show, The Early Show, as well as midday talk shows, cable news shows and the two big business networks- CNBC and Fox Business, he added.

The company's previous AOR, Atomic PR, worked with the company for about a year-and-a-half. Atomic did not pitch for the new RFP.

“After such a good and intense run together, we mutually agreed that now was a good time for a change,” said Andy Getsey, co-founder & CEO, Atomic PR. “We wish the LinkedIn team and their new agency the very best.”

Luo added, “I think we looked at what we needed and decided that a new firm could probably best help us with those goals.”

The company does not have immediate plans to expand its internal PR team but might do so as the brand grows, she added.

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