Room selects Diffusion as AOR

Room offers staffers in open-plan offices privacy.

NEW YORK: Room, a startup that sells self-contained phone-booth sized "rooms" that allow for privacy in open-plan offices, has selected Diffusion as its AOR.

Diffusion started working with Room late last month. The agency said in a statement that it plans to educate business consumers about Room’s story and position by using activations, announcement support, an integrated product reviews program, and media outreach. 

When Room launched its first product, Room One, in May, it was working with another PR firm but was unhappy with the results, explained Room CEO and cofounder Brian Chen. He would not disclose the name of the past firm.

Chen, who has previous startup experience, said he called on his network in the venture capital world to create a list of six to 10 potential agencies before choosing Diffusion.

"This is not the first company I’ve started," Chen said. "I asked a bunch of my venture capital friends for references and recommendations and created a shortlist that way. And then reached out to understand more about the PR firms."

Chen said the whole process took approximately two months. Budget information was not disclosed.

"We were impressed with the creativity [Diffusion] brought and their storytelling," said Chen. "They understood intuitively and they very quickly grasped the kind of brand we wanted to build and the position. And their prior experience with direct-to-consumer startups was appealing as well."

Room sells direct to office managers, something Chen said is unique in the office furnishings industry. The company is hoping office managers used to buying personal home furnishings directly on the internet will find Room’s business model more appealing, he said.

"I think Steelcase [an office furniture company] built its brand on Baby Boomers," Chen said. "So I see gaps in branding in the workspace area that we want to fill. Another way we’re going to compete is by having a modern purchasing experience. If you go to the Steelcase website today, you can’t actually buy a chair. You have to contact one of their dealers."

Tim Williams, campaign manager at Diffusion, is leading a team of five agency staffers on the account.

Employers began dismantling cubicle walls a few decades ago in an attempt to promote teamwork and collaboration. However, the Chicago Tribune recently declared the idea a disaster and critics say open flexible spaces are distracting and reduce productivity.

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