Branding Its Branders In Dallas

In response to an industry challenge from management consultants, JWT Specialized Communications here has formalized a new brand consultancy unit designed to provide added strategic planning and positioning support to clients.
The new group, to be headed in Dallas by senior vice president Veronica Spencer-Austin, will be working with all 26 JWTSC offices nationwide. It will focus on the shop’s main strengths of employee recruitment, mature marketing and business-to-business advertising.
“This will involve thinking, planning and creativity,” said Spencer-Austin, who shifts from her client services director post at JWTSC. “With the brand consulting group, we want to fill the gap that management consultants are creating.”
Agencies and advertisers nationwide are turning to outside consultants and client-side veterans. Shops are looking to stem the flow of billings to consultants by hiring client-experienced, and sometimes nonadvertising, veterans [Adweek, Oct. 5]. In JWTSC’s case, the firm is pushing the client experience of its managing partner Ron Jenkins (formerly advertising manager for biotech agricultural firm Pioneer HiBred and director of promotions for the National Pork Producers Council) and Spencer-Austin, who was employed at Kraft Foods.
According to Jenkins, the brand consulting strategies at the shop have developed internally since 1995, but only recently has the network opted to formalize the unit. “We needed to brand our own brand consulting group,” said Jenkins.
Spencer-Austin said clients who have accessed the brand consulting services include Federal Express, Maritz Travel Co. and Johnson & Johnson Medical.