Tuesday, 30 April 2013

FH rebrand: Hostage to fortune?

Fleishman Hillard has announced (see NYTimes link below) that it is rebranding as FleishmanHillard, repositioning as a through-the-line "complete communication" business, and adopting the slogan, “The Power of True”.

More than whether it is grammatically correct,” The Power of True” is a disaster waiting to happen. FH has created a ‘hostage to fortune’ and will be watched like a hawk and pilloried for every bit of overblown hype it produces. The reputational, ethical and implementational (is that a word?) threats are massive.

I hope their in-house crisis management team has been strengthened alongside the clever, creative advertising and social media bods who are being added to their staff.

As this is an Omnicom group agency, the creation of a through-the-line business could take business away from other ad, PR and digital media agencies in the group. They could all be squabbling over the same budgets.

On the other hand, the one-stop-shop model may be attractive to clients. It has been talked about for a long time, and is widely used outside major cities. Usually, it is the ad agencies pushing into PR territory (doing it badly; usually as a loss-leader), but here is an PR business going the other way.

In 2011 Golin-Harris offered a media- and channel-agnostic restructure, although it still positioned itself in the PR sphere. It has just won the Holmes Report's Americas region ‘Large Agency of the Year’ accolade, which may indicate that its transformation is paying off.

Interesting times amongst the larger agencies: I wonder if a round of consolidations will be next?