Jonathan Sanchez was recently appointed SVP and chief communications officer at IAC, the multinational corporation boasting more than 60 brands such as Ask.com and Citysearch. Sanchez spoke to PRWeek about the company's various brands and communications efforts.
PRWeek: How important is traditional media and trade media outreach for IAC?
Jonathan Sanchez: Media today is multi-channel, multi-faceted, and multi-disciplined. People get business stories from entertainment press, financial information from Bloglines accounts and market reports from Ask.com. We don’t discriminate our media selection based on old-fashioned descriptors. We are a broad network that works with media partners that fit with our objectives and needs.
PRWeek: What is the 2007/2008 branding/marketing strategy for IAC?
Sanchez: IAC is an endlessly multi-product family of companies, with more than 60 different businesses servicing an incredibly wide spectrum of consumer needs. Our strategy today is what is has been for many years – deliver awareness for the businesses we own, demonstrate our market strength and own more of the conversation about our vast category and sector expertise.
PRWeek: Which of the IAC businesses do you expect to dedicate significant communication resources to?
Sanchez: Since Ask.com is the “glue” that unites our brands and helps define a common identity for IAC, we will naturally devote much of our focus to working with the Ask Communications team to make sure we are delivering a consistent and clear message. That being said, the value of running an integrated communications strategy is that we have the flexibility to leverage our strengths and talents across the businesses as the communications needs of our brands evolve.
PRWeek: What role, if any, will the green movement play in your communications effort?
Sanchez: The green movement can only play a part in our communications operation if it plays a part in our businesses everyday. Many companies ‘green-wash’ their communications plans without paying attention to their real everyday green credentials. In my previous position [as chief communications officer of Euro RSCG Worldwide and creative director of Euro RSCG Magnet] I worked to turn an advertising network carbon neutral – so people know I have a passion for this subject area. Many of our businesses already have genuine commitments in place which are real – but not necessarily marketed to the press. When we do something it will be based on a sound business decision – not a hot communications trend.
PRWeek: Is IAC working with PR agencies on its various properties? If so, would there ever be a situation where you might unite all brands under one agency?
Sanchez: IAC businesses do work with PR agencies, as our different companies have different communications needs. We are looking at ways to manage this across all our companies – to ensure, for example, we share best practices, evaluation metrics, and best-values.
PRWeek: How would you describe IAC’s overall communications strategy/messaging, given that it oversees so many brands? Do you try to discuss the IAC brand in consumer media, or is it just targeted to the business press?
Sanchez: IAC is a corporate brand – and our reader is the business reader. We believe that the consumer focus should remain with the individual businesses whose products touch consumers’ lives directly. However, we know that in today’s world – the enlightened investor and inquisitive consumer are coming ever closer together and the communications office is working on strategies that reflect and support this trend.
PRWeek: What is the greatest challenge of jumping from the agency side to the corporate side?
Sanchez: IAC is a brilliant business, run by people who are best in class – intelligent, business-focused and results-driven. In my role I work alongside CEOs every day that see corporate communications as an integral part of their marketing mix – and as such I am able to work almost as if this communications office was an agency. We work in tandem with our businesses, we respect them as if they were clients – and the depth of talent in my department would be an asset to any PR agency.