Pleon seeks to put PR ‘at top table' with senior hires

Pleon is trying to overhaul an ‘obsolete' tech PR model with two strategic senior ­appointments.

Percy Smend and Mark de Wolf have joined Pleon's London B2B tech practice as director and associate director respectively.

Smend moved this week from BBDO Consulting's telecoms and media practice, while de Wolf, a senior ­account director at Spreckley Associates, will start next week. Both hires coincide with a decision by London CEO Jennifer Paavola to bring Pleon's B2B tech offering up to date.

‘The traditional tech PR model of delivering press brokerage services to niche audiences as part of a monthly retainer has been rendered obsolete by web 2.0,' she said.

De Wolf echoed Paavola's desire to tailor the agency's B2B service to an increasingly web-savvy audience. ‘I started in PR in the dotcom boom when technology stories were intrinsically hot,' he said. ‘Today, tech brands have to be smarter about communicating their relevance to business audiences.'

Smend will work closely with Pleon's corporate practice on accounts including IBM, Shell and insurer Atradius. He said he would be working with clients to put PR ‘at the top table' alongside other marcoms disciplines that traditionally win a larger chunk of the budget.

‘PR is a highly visible and effective element of a brand communication strategy, but practitioners need to understand the wider context in which it operates,' he said.
Pleon recently lost tech veteran Mike Copland (PRWeek, 18 January).

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