Marian Salzman believes in creating the future. “We ask our clients, what headlines do you want to read or how do you want the world to see you?” says the CEO of Euro RSCG Worldwide PR. “Then we use the full array of public relations tools to generate that future.”
For example, the company’s Newsengine media relations team generated 10.8 billion media impressions for Wyclef Jean’s campaign for president of Haiti as part of its program to help the one-time pop star be seen as a serious political candidate. Similarly, it dramatically increased awareness of eye health among U.S. minorities in an award-winning campaign for Transitions Optical.
“We have an unwavering focus on earned media, and we deliver amazing coverage for our clients, along with marketing innovations that drive the news,” says agency president Lisa Rosenberg. “We have an entrepreneurial spirit and are willing to push the envelope in terms of creativity and taking risks. We help our clients be the news—not just be in the news.”
From its New York headquarters, Euro RSCG PR partners with global brands, high-profile celebrities and cause organizations to develop publicity strategies that capture attention in traditional, digital and social media. “We excel in consumer, cause, B2B, healthcare and wellness campaigns, and social is embedded in everything we do,” Rosenberg adds.
Euro RSCG PR is also deeply committed to causes. For pro bono projects such as Haiti relief, it donated the equivalent of more than $1 million of agency hours last year. It also works on cause-related campaigns for groups such as Mary J. Blige’s Foundation for the Advancement of Women Now, Ford Motor Company’s Warriors in Pink and ReMIND.org, an organization that helps wounded veterans.
“A lot of agencies talk about pro bono work, but Euro is truly generous of heart,” says Lee Woodruff, co-founder of ReMIND.org with her husband, Bob Woodruff. “They’ve done a great job with our annual event, Stand Up for Heroes New York, whose stars have included Bruce Springsteen. It’s great to see an agency with high ethics, morals and standards be so successful.”
In the first quarter, Euro RSCG PR added several new brands to its account roster, including GSK’s Advair, Chiquita, the CLIO Awards, Durex (Reckitt Benckiser), and GE Lighting. “Brands that know what they want from an agency relationship are most likely to achieve their objectives,” says Rosenberg. “Look for clients who will sit down with you at tshe table, roll up their sleeves and work together with you.”
While media relations is at the center of the agency’s work, Euro RSCG PR’s disciplines include strategy development and account services as well as a new function that Salzman calls “community.” That means tapping into conversations among regular people, not just key influencers. “It’s a very interactive approach, where we use the community as a research instrument for developing and refining the story. Then we can better activate those conversations for our clients,” she says.
For example, notes Salzman, “we hear that cause is the new celebrity, but celebrity still breaks news.” So when the firm created a campaign for diabetes awareness, it used father-daughter actors Paul and Mira Sorvino to talk to diabetics about treatment in a refreshing way.
With her blog and regular media interviews, Salzman has long been a high-profile trend-spotter, having popularized the terms “metrosexual” (in a 2003 marketing study) and “personal CPM” (a valuation of individual influence). Today, says Salzman, “you have to sell in a hashtag,” referring to the importance of well-crafted Twitter messaging. She points to a recent campaign built around #royaltwedding to curate the conversation around the marketing implications of the recent William-Kate nuptials.
Salzman adds that the future of PR is all about aligning news and trend-spotting. “It’s about anticipating the density and velocity of change and even creating social movements based on ripples and currents in society,” she says. “All of these movements create opportunities to hijack headlines, create buzz, build conversational momentum and own an unbelievable amount of the chatter. That’s how you can use PR to reshape a market space and ignite consumer desire.”