CLEVELAND, OH: Cleveland Clinic has hired a PR AOR for the first time in its 90-year history, with Ketchum picking up the account after a competitive RFP search that began in February.
While this is the first time an agency has worked with the nonprofit organization's clinical, hospital, research, and academic locations across the board, local PR firm RBB handled Florida projects in the past, while Kirvin Doakhas assisted its Nevada facility.
“We realized that, although Cleveland Clinic has a great reputation, not a lot of people know what services we provide, and what leading technology we have,” said Eileen Sheil, executive director of corporate communications at the healthcare provider. “We do a lot of things and we want to make sure more people are aware of us.”
Ketchum was chosen because it appeared to be a good fit with Cleveland Clinic's staff and had wide-ranging communications techniques, Sheil added. The scope of work includes research to find effective messaging to speak about its offerings, better bridging of its PR efforts with its digital tools, internal communications, and building awareness for a new facility that will open in Abu Dhabi next year.
The Omnicom agency will also help broaden the organization's reporter relationships. For instance, the clinic recently released a study about brain damage sustained by boxers and mixed martial arts fighters. But while the organization had plenty of health and general reporter contacts, it didn't have many sports reporter contacts.
“We don't have enough people to have all the relationships we possibly could,” Sheil said of her staff, which comprises over 40 communicators across the US.
Rob Flaherty, president of Ketchum, said: “One of the things we found in our research before we got involved and after is that [Cleveland Clinic] is one of the most widely respected healthcare providers we have ever seen. It's an intriguing opportunity, allowing us to work from a position of strength.”
Staff members from the agency's healthcare, corporate, digital, and word-of-mouth practices will work on the account, he added.
The contract, which is still being finalized, is expected to last multiple years, although Sheil declined to reveal the budget for Ketchum's work.
Founded in 1921, Cleveland Clinic receives 4.6 million patient visits per year and employs 2,800 physicians and scientists.