The Richards Group Gets Clubby

ClubCorp, a Dallas-based owner and operator of private resorts and country clubs nationwide, has hired The Richards Group here as its first corporate agency of record.
Richards will be responsible for the company’s corporate branding, as well as public relations duties (previously at Edelman Worldwide Public Relations) through its Richards/Gravelle unit, according to the Dallas agency.
Not only will Richards try to more closely align ClubCorp with its individual properties–including the Pinehurst resort and golf course in Village of Pinehurst, N.C., home to the 1999 U.S. Open–but raise the profile of the management company to guests, investors and developers.
“The reason ClubCorp has decided to become more aggressive . . . is so we can continue to attract new business opportunities,” said Gerard Smith, the company’s executive vice president of marketing and communications.
“They want to have an increased visibility among people who would come to their resorts . . . and people who would do business with ClubCorp,” said agency principal Jim McGhee, who will head the advertising account.
Richards’ billings from the $1 billion company were undisclosed. Smith said the client utilizes its own magazine, Private Clubs, to facilitate considerable brand messaging.
ClubCorp operates approximately 250 resorts internationally. Many of the individual properties will continue to handle local advertising on their own, according to Smith. None of Richards’ corporate efforts will supercede the local brand identity of the property.
“A member joins a country club, not a corporation,” Smith said. “But on the other hand, if you’re a member at one of our clubs, there are certain benefits that are made available to you as being a part of a member club of ClubCorp.”
Smith would not disclose if other agencies were involved in the “informal review” leading to Richards’ selection.