Fitzgerald Forms Brand Development Unit

ATLANTA Fitzgerald + Co. has established The Brand Development Group, a new unit within the agency.

The operation will be led by former senior vice president and director of brand planning, Paul Gilberto, 36, who has been promoted to president.

Gilberto joined the Atlanta Interpublic Group shop three years ago from Pollack, Levitt & Nel. He also worked in brand management at Ralston Purina, Georgia-Pacific and Procter & Gamble.

The decision was driven, according to Gilberto, by requests from clients that the agency had not been providing in the past. “We were brought in three years ago as strategic planning, developing briefs from consumers’ perspectives to aid the creative product,” he said. “Sine then we’ve developed forecasting methodologies that allow us to predict how much we can sell in the market before we actually market.”

The unit will seek new clients. Its most recent projects have been for Equifax, Carter’s Infant Wear and Lane Ltd., the kind of work that would typically have been farmed out, said Gilberto.

“We look at three areas: consumer interest in buying a product or service, the marketing spend behind it and distribution,” he said.

TBDG’s focus is on companies that need to develop a marketing plan, not advertising. “We’ll be looking at clients who have a business-to-business focus, who either have an agency or don’t need one,” said Gilberto.

The group, which Gilberto said would add entry and senior-level hires, will continue to provide brand development support to Fitzgerald clients.

“This is a trend and we’re playing off it,” he said. “Clients are more cautious with their marketing budgets. This allows them to understand before they spend their dollars how it’s going to impact their business.”