CHICAGO - Making good on its vow to pursue global expansion without surrendering its independence, Hensley Segal Rentschler announced the formation of a global alliance called The B-to-B World Class.
The Cincinnati-based business-to-business advertising specialist last year had outlined plans to form alliances with similarly focused agencies outside the U.S. to help it serve the overseas needs of its clients [Adweek, Oct. 20, 1997]. The new World Class alliance so far includes partner agencies Marschner + Kuhn, with offices in Germany; PR Partnership in Hong Kong; and AD Communicado Ltda. in Sao Paulo, Brazil. More informal affiliations have been forged with agencies in seven other countries, said Richard A. Segal Jr., HSR managing director.
Segal said HSR is already at work on programs with World Class partner agencies for several of its clients, which include General Electric, Xerox, Makino and AK Steel. HSR's 1997 billings were approximately $38 million.
The alliance allows HSR to meet its clients' overseas marketing needs without seeking a global parent, Segal said. He also said the agency decided to form its own global affiliations rather than seek them through membership in existing professional organizations, which he said are "largely for tax-deductible international travel" rather than mutual account service.
One of HSR's challenges in organizing the alliance was "isolating business-to-business specialist agencies outside the U.S.," said Segal. "In Europe and elsewhere, the agency business is largely a generalist business. But we believe business-to-business really is a specialty, and as such we see tremendous opportunities for us and our charter members in providing specialized business marketing [globally]."
Segal projected a second phase of development for the World Class alliance within the next six to eight months could bring in additional agencies in as many as 30 countries.