CHARLOTTE, NC: Driven Brands is letting Olson Engage take the wheel as its corporate communications AOR following a competitive review.
Driven Brands manages automotive companies including Maaco, Meineke Car Care Centers, Carstar, 1-800 Radiator & AC, and Take 5 Oil Change. Collectively, the brands have about 2,500 locations in North America.
The RFP process started in June. Five agencies pitched, and the list was whittled down to two finalists. Olson was selected in mid-July and began working with Driven Brands this month, said Blair Boggs, Driven’s CMO.
Olson is providing Driven Brands with services spanning franchise, employee, and corporate communications. Olson EVP Jeff Olson is leading a team of six on the account.
The company’s communications are internally focused, said Boggs, with franchise and employee engagement as its top priorities.
"The [company’s] growth is enabled by franchisees who are engaged and well-connected to us," said Boggs. "Employees are the ones who build a culture that can sustain that growth."
Driven Brands is at a size at which it needs corporate comms support, such as managing crisis comms and helping with its corporate and brand identity.
"Most people know our brands, and that is the way we want it, but as Driven Brands as a corporate parent becomes a larger organization, we have to maintain and extend Driven Brands [identity] with other groups of people, such as investors," said Boggs.
Boggs declined to share financial information about the company, noting that Driven Brands is privately held. However he said the company has grown both organically and through acquiring auto-care brands. Driven Brands is owned by Roark Capital Group.
Boggs added that the company is planning to eventually tap into Olson’s capabilities in consumer messaging and outreach.
Miami PR agency RockOrange, the incumbent on the account, was not invited to re-pitch. Boggs said RockOrange was a "really good" partner to Driven Brands under its "old agenda," but the company is moving in a different direction.
"We have a different take on what communications should be," said Boggs. "It is less of a perfunctory thing you have to do as a corporate entity and more of an enabler for growth. So [changing our corporate communications AOR] is more of a strategic as opposed to an executional move."
RockOrange provided internal communications support to Driven Brands since 2013. The PR firm was with the company as it grew from just two brands to more than six.
We are proud of the work we lead to help inform and engage both employees and their diverse franchise community," Miguel Piedra, principal and managing partner at RockOrange, told PRWeek via email.
Piedra added that RockOrange is "excited to see Driven Brands continue to build on its success and will cheer all their brands from the sidelines."
Driven Brands does not work with other PR agencies. Budget information was not disclosed.
Editor's note: This story was updated on September 25 with comment from Piedra.