Ogilvy launches 'Espresso' offering for startups

SAN FRANCISCO: Ogilvy Public Relations has launched a service for startups called Espresso, aimed at helping emerging companies tell their brand stories and engage media and potential partners.

SAN FRANCISCO: Ogilvy Public Relations has launched a service for startups called Espresso, aimed at helping emerging companies tell their brand stories and engage media and potential partners.

Espresso soft-launched in June. Since then, the firm has presented to startups and received feedback, said Luca Penati, MD of Ogilvy's global technology practice. The service officially debuted on Tuesday.

Penati said one of his passions is following startups and talking to angel investors and VCs, which is where he got the idea for Espresso.

“It really struck me that the agencies that are now helping startups are just focusing on media relations, and that's not bad, but it's a very short-term focus,” he said.

Penati added that he saw an opportunity to go beyond media relations and fuel startups' growth by crafting brand stories and connecting them with influencers and potential partners.

Most firms working with startups are boutiques, he said. While they are good at what they do, they do not have the global reach or “breadth of relationships and connections” of Ogilvy.

Espresso has three clients at launch, including social data and insights company SpotRight and Rock Health, a digital health organization supporting entrepreneurs. Penati declined to disclose the third client.

To serve clients, Ogilvy will pull two team members, a senior staffer and an account executive that best fit the account work, he added.

Penati explained that employees who work with startups also need a passion for that industry or a particular brand.

When it comes to bringing on clients for the offering, Penati said the firm wants to be selective, so it has put criteria in place to ensure there is “mutual interest” between agency and brand. Criteria include the startup being fun to work with, having a great story or potential story, using new or innovative technology, and having a good reputation with investors.

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