Chegg.com hires WS

SAN FRANCISCO: Chegg.com, an online textbook rental company that recently raised an additional $57 million in venture capital, has hired Weber Shandwick.

SAN FRANCISCO: Chegg.com, an online textbook rental company that recently raised an additional $57 million in venture capital, has hired Weber Shandwick.

The startup enlisted WS for help with its two-pronged strategy to build its brand awareness and its business credibility, said Tina Couch, VP of PR. Couch did not conduct an RFP, but selected WS because she previously worked with them while at Match.com. The month-to-month contract averages mid-six-figures annually.

“Weber is a very budget-conscious and results driven,” Couch said. “And like Match.com, Chegg.com is an online business so there are a lot of parallels.”

Representatives at Taylor, Chegg.com's former agency, did not respond to calls for comment.

"I'm not only building awareness for Chegg.com," Couch said. "We're building awareness for the entire sector."

To build its corporate credibility, the team is leveraging its successful new round of funding, which is considered unusual because venture-capital funding has dramatically slowed during the recession.

“We're really targeting the financial and business media to drive that we're a viable business,” Couch explained. This strategy targets parents, university administrators, educators, and partners.

Chegg.com is also building a digital and youth-oriented strategy to target college students and college newspaper editors.

“That's low-hanging fruit because they are students so they're naturally interested in this space,” Couch said, adding the startup plans to maximize its PR around its two busiest seasons, fall and winter. It also hopes to secure more coverage like its September mention on theToday show.

“We saw business spike then, but it trailed off again,” Couch said.

Additionally, the team will also develop messaging around the environmental component to renting books and leveraging its partnerships with companies like MTV University and McGraw-Hill.

“The potential we have to do PR and marketing around being green alone is tremendous,” Couch said. “Our philosophy has been ‘don't buy it,' but that means so much more than don't buy from a bookstore.”

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