NYT advertising guru Stuart Elliott has seen the new Burson-Marsteller, and we can’t quite tell whether he’s impressed or not.
From the new tagline “Being More” to a revamped website and an inaugural series of “conversations” on disparate topics led by relevant “thought leaders”, Burson-Marsteller has undergone a fairly extensive re-branding to celebrate its 60th anniversary. The point of the shift as we read it is to emphasize the flexibility of the agency’s offerings. Some key quotes from its statement of purpose:
Being More means being more confident in our ability to communicate with more people, in more places, with bigger ideas, through constantly changing communications channels and with more impact.
One of the most exciting aspects of the times in which we live and work is that no one owns this model, because there are no boundaries.
Old distinctions between categories of paid, owned and earned media are fast becoming outmoded.
In other words: whatever you need done, we can do it—with an emphasis on content creation.
It’s a familiar refrain that reflects upon the ever-blurring line between agency types and responsibilities. Yet despite the “new and improved” message, founder Harold Burson tells Elliot that the initiative is “nothing new for Burson-Marsteller; we were always trying to be on the cutting edge” while emphasizing a “closer integration between public relations and advertising and promotion and direct marketing.”
Elliott isn’t too big on the new tagline (“Are these folks in P.R., or what?”), but the Burson-Masteller clients that he interviewed mention more content-heavy campaigns and related research, so the audiences that matter most seem receptive to the agency’s message.
In a final confirmation of the focus on flexibility, the agency announced plans to hire veterans of political campaigns, film festivals and other outside projects in order to make the most of their disparate backgrounds.
Looks like all the pieces are in place. As for the campaign’s value as a differentiator, only time will tell.