Bronner Outlines a New Direction




Direct Marketing Shop Realigns Senior Levels, Plots Expansion
BOSTON-Bronner Slosberg Humphrey last week named David Kenny chief executive officer as part of a sweeping management restructuring. The shop also plans to open offices in other major cities.
“These moves will help us better align our organization with our approach to brand building and customer management,” said agency chairman and founder Michael Bronner, who turns over the chief executive mantle to Kenny but retains the title of chairman.
Agency partner Michael Slosberg was promoted from executive creative director to chief creative officer. In his new role, Slosberg will become “a resource to all [departments] on creative issues,” Bronner said.
Day-to-day activities in the shop’s 120-person creative department will be overseen by a trio of executive creative directors: Betsy Karp, Steve Olderman and Bob Chimbel.
Executive vice president John Hoholik has been tapped to head up Live Channels, a new division that will assist clients with telemarketing initiatives, customer service programs and retail and face-to-face sales experiences. Live Channels was formerly known as the agency’s Teleservices unit.
Bronner plans to establish offices in New York, Detroit and San Francisco within the next year. The new outposts will mainly service existing clients in those markets.
The San Francisco office, set to open next month, will be used by Bronner’s Strategic Interactive Group to service West Coast clients such as Adobe and Disney. Staff in the proposed Detroit office will work on General Motors’ Oldsmobile account, which the agency won earlier this year.
In an exclusive interview last week, Bronner and Kenny said they believe the new organization will allow the shop to better deliver uniform and seamless communications at the many points of contact between customers and clients.
Rather than acquire other agencies or make a public stock offering, Bronner believes his shop can maintain its momentum by continuing to develop programs designed to build brand images through one-on-one communications between clients and their customers.
“I think a lot of people confuse branding with advertising,” said Bronner. “That’s just one point . . . All the points must come together: phone, mail, Web, retail [and the] face-to-face sales force.”
Bronner acknowledged that Kenny was a driving force behind the new initiatives. Kenny joined the agency in 1996 from Bain & Co., where he had been a member of the Boston-based management consulting firm’s global policy committee. In that role, he teamed with Bronner Slosberg to help develop strategic directions for American Express, a mutual client of both companies.
Kenny will continue to oversee the agency’s IBM and AmEx relationships. The shop had resigned most of its estimated $50 million in AmEx direct marketing billings because of a conflict with the AT&T Universal Card [Adweek, July 15, 1996].
Bronner Slosberg does retain some consulting work that neither AmEx nor AT&T views as a potential conflict, Kenny said.
The shop now has eight partners. In addition to Bronner, Slosberg, Kenny, Hoholik and president Steve Humphrey, executive vice presidents Harvey Kipnis, Malcolm Speed and Reuben Hendell also hold equity.
The Boston agency should reach the 1,000-employee plateau sometime next year, Bronner said.