New President Anchors Olson

Kevin DiLorenzo began his professional life as a reporter in Minneapolis, eventually moving into an anchor chair in Duluth, Minn. But after two years, DiLorenzo was ready to make a change; he moved back to Minneapolis and got into public relations.

“There’s a realization—from the news side—that PR spawns [just] about everything covered,” DiLorenzo said. “I knew there were good ways to do PR and there are bad ways.”

From Duluth, DiLorenzo, 41, had a brief stint at Bozell in Minneapolis before moving to Fallon’s nascent integrated marketing practice in 1993. In 1998, he moved to Interpublic Group’s Carmichael Lynch Spong (the PR division of Carmichael Lynch), and in 2003 he joined Olson as managing director. Earlier this month, he became president of the $125 million independent shop.

In his time at the shop, DiLorenzo has helped Olson grow from 40 to 100 people and add clients such as Formica, Nike Bauer Hockey and Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, as well as deepen its PR and media practices and open service offices in Cleveland and Baltimore, the agency said.

“This is a recognition of the job Kevin’s been doing all along,” said former president John Olson, who remains CEO. “He’s going to be an evangelist for our agency.”

A journalism graduate of the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, DiLorenzo’s primary focus in the new post will be to deepen and develop the agency’s current client relationships, promoting Olson’s practice of building “brand communities.”

“We believe there’s a better way and a different way,” DiLorenzo said. “When a brand is under attack, someone who feels a sense of belonging to that brand is willing to defend it. …[I]t’s about connecting to people.”

An avid skier and scuba diver, DiLorenzo said he might take up a new sport to continue adding “retainer-relationship” clients. “We’ve never been an agency that’s tried to win business on the golf course,” he joked. “Maybe that’s a new tactic to explore.”