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Brand Is Key to Tech Success

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Ad Campaign, Internal Meetings Support TFA's Image of Itself
CHICAGO--TFA/Leo Burnett Technology Group wants to stand out in the increasingly crowded field of high technology marketers as a shop of "meticulous mavericks" with a single-minded devotion to branding, its leader said.
"We're putting our stake in the ground to say the brand is what will drive the technology company," said TFA's chief executive officer, Sean Bisceglia.
The high-tech business-to-business specialist last week began defining its position to outsiders with a $2 million trade advertising campaign, and to its own employees with agency meetings in the shop's Chicago, Boston, Austin, Texas, and San Francisco offices.
The print campaign will appear in advertising-trade and high-technology-marketing magazines. One ad shows a parent helping a child with her first steps and the headline, "IPOs are money. Brand is wealth." The line, "Building technology brands," appears under the agency's logo.
"It gets everybody on the same road map as to where we're going as an agency," Bisceglia said. "The technology market is changing so fast, we needed to define who we are and who we wanted to go after."
That definition was made clearer to staffers in last week's presentations, during which Bisceglia described the TFA staff as "meticulous mavericks." Executives unveiled a mission statement and business plan that moves the agency from startup businesses to more established clients.
Seventy percent of the network's $170 million in billings comes from first-time advertisers or emerging clients, while 22 percent comes from companies that are just beginning to shape themselves as a brand. The remaining 9 percent comes from slower growth, established brands. By the end of 2001, Bisceglia said, he would like to see 60 percent of the agency's billings come from growth clients and 40 percent from emerging clients.
Later, he said, TFA plans to carefully check out new clients. "We need to be more choosy about who we need to take on." K