Gainesville Regional Utility Selects Zimmerman

Previous experience and quick thinking landed The Zimmerman Agency its newest account.

The Tallahassee, Fla., shop won the business of the Gainesville Regional Utility in a review against Pro Ink in Gainesville, Fla. Incumbent Cramer-Krasselt in Orlando, Fla., did not participate.

Billings are less than $1 million.

The two finalists survived an original group of 16 agencies, some from as far away as Oregon, according to Rosemary Fagler, GRU’s marketing manager. “Zimmerman led the way from the rfp,” she said.

Work for Texas-based Green Mountain Energy and for Tallahassee’s municipal services gave the agency insight into privately and publicly owned utilities.

Still, the client wanted to see which agency could think on its feet. Each finalist was given 20 minutes to respond to an assignment on an upcoming “green building” program, said Fagler. Each had 10 minutes to present its thought processes and make recommendations.

Zimmerman sold its idea for designating green buildings, then showed how the concept could be integrated with different disciplines.

“We chose something that would require a different effort than branding,” said Fagler. “We need someone who understands how to leverage marketing with public relations.”

Faced with the likelihood of deregulation within the next two years, Florida cities are scrambling to create some form of choice within their product and services offerings.

GRU derives revenue from electricity, water, gas, waste management and Internet access, which pays for the city’s parks, police and fire departments. This value, said agency president Curtis Zimmerman, must be communicated.

Advertising, public relations and interactive marketing will target consumers in Alachua County and Central Florida. TV and print ads, which break in September, will tie in with the University of Florida’s football season.