SEATTLE: Weber Shandwick veteran Tim Fry launched 468 Communications on Thursday to address the growing issue of what he calls "eroding public engagement," stemming from the ubiquity of digital and mobile technology.
Based in Seattle, 468 Communications specializes in communications services and location-based marketing. Fry, the firm’s president, said he founded 468 on a concept he calls "the presence economy."
"Because we are completely enveloped by digital and mobile tech, we are becoming less present with the people and places around us," Fry explained. "We are suffering from engagement erosion, but the irony is that in our efforts to be engaging in the comms industry, we are rarely truly engaged."
Fry said the new firm will think about "presence" in economic terms, and aim to quantify and measure it. Once a company can do that, it can work with the information, direct it, and in incentivize people to influence it, Fry said.
"Ultimately, we will build tech and services that contribute to, instead of detract from, presence," he added. "The firm will provide storytelling for the present economy."
468 Communications’ products and services are focused on helping clients increase presence with communities, including customers, employees, partners, and other stakeholders. The firm has partnered with Artifact Technologies, which will use its Mixby platform’s location-aware technology to immerse people in physical experiences.
It will work with clients in three areas. 468 Community, geared at businesses and nonprofits, will use the Mixby platform to engage people in stories about a specific community; 468 Event will aid event organizers to increase the presence of stories by making them more discoverable and actionable; and 468 Story is focused on helping organizations "transform" their products and services into compelling stories.
468 Communications is targeting clients in the retail and tourism industries.
"There is also a huge opportunity we see in internal comms and employee engagement, in terms of helping organizations to more easily and successfully onboard new employees," said Fry. "Through our services, companies will be able to engage people where they are and help them navigate a new organization and engage more deeply in the story of that organization."
San Juan County in Washington has chosen 468 Communications to launch a mobile marketing platform for the San Juan Islands, a tourist destination in the Pacific Northwest.
Other clients include Alane Adams Studios, Chrono Therapeutics, and iCIMS.
After nearly 18 years at Weber Shandwick, Fry departed his most recent role at the firm last July as global technology practice chair.
Fry was promoted to his most recent position leading the global tech practice in January 2013, and joined the Interpublic Group firm in 1996 as a client relationship leader, according to his LinkedIn profile.
He also served as GM of the Seattle office from 2010 to 2013. Before that, he was EVP at Weber.