Gibbs & Soell has launched a business consulting practice that will take the firm’s work directly to the client’s business results. The practice will focus on brand positioning, market research and analysis, concept testing, and messaging and strategy. But the work, according to the practice’s head Steve Halsey, will go beyond traditional communications.
“We’re launching this practice as a result of being asked by clients and prospects to do very nontraditional things,” said Halsey, a principal and MD at the firm. Inquiries to G&S range from HR and legal to issues with IT and the C-suite, he said. The practice, Halsey added, will answer the question, “How can we more closely align those business strategies with what needs to be done from a PR standpoint?”
Included in the work the firm is already doing for clients is a global brand strategy for an “advanced materials company” and creating a new comms model and governance strategy for an agricultural company. The work also dives into digital and other areas of customer engagement. For example, Halsey said the firm worked with a client that wanted to get 50 to 70 people at target companies to try a new technology.
“Everyone always thinks digital is to the masses and it’s really digital to the most valuable prospects,” he said.
The work is geared towards gaining market share, for clients and for G&S. The firm is seeking to take a bit off of companies that aren’t in PR.
“If you want to grow you’re going to have to look at how you’re going to take it from someplace else,” said Halsey.
The timing of the announcement is also in line with the PRSA’s announcement that it has partnered with four other business schools around the country to bring PR courses to MBA programs. Halsey said it’s “long overdue.”
“We’re no longer in an environment where PR can exist by itself,” he said. “If PR executives want to have a seat at the table, they need to think about business problems and metrics. And successful execs of the future will know the importance of reputation management and stakeholder engagement.”