PORTLAND, OR: Kent Hollenbeck, former Waggener Edstrom SVP of global corporate communications, has founded his own firm, called The Hollenbeck Group.
Hollenbeck worked at WE for more than 12 years before leaving in July. He created his firm in August with the goal of finding a balance between working with small start-ups and large, established clients, he said.
One of firm's key launch clients is mobile device manufacturer HTC, which shifted some of its work from WE to Hollenbeck this summer.
HTC hired Hollenbeck to manage “corporate PR business” in North America with some global integration, said Sally Julien, global director of corporate communications at the company. She added that HTC includes legal, storytelling, and executive platform work in its corporate PR business.
“We felt we could get a more personal level of service from a new, boutique agency,” explained Julien. “Hollenbeck himself is a proven entity for us and had done great work for HTC over the time that we've worked with him.”
She added that WE is still handling corporate business in Asia and product work in North America for HTC.
Hollenbeck said: “What we'll be looking to do a bit more than what I was able to do at WE is infusing those [corporate issues] with more creative content and digital-oriented things, so it's more rounded than the traditional approach.”
The agency, which has two staffers, will use contract support through the rest of the year to augment client work, Hollenbeck explained. He plans to expand the agency in the first quarter of next year.
He added that when he was at WE, he helped lead the firm's initiative to support start-up companies, which is a passion of his. It is a major part of his firm, particularly focused on the northwestern region of the country.
“I felt there an opportunity to have one or two really good brands, but not necessarily be beholden to having all large clients in a sense that it prohibits you to not work with start-ups, where a lot of great innovation is happening,” said Hollenbeck.