Richards Vet Joins Daughter at ViBrand

DALLAS Richards Group principal Rod Underhill has left the independent Dallas agency after 17 years to join his daughter Kelley Massoud at her start-up ViBrand Consulting, he said.

Underhill, 55, will carry the title of chief executive, and Massoud, 33, who also has worked in marketing, will be president, Underhill said. Among the services Dallas-based ViBrand will offer are presentation skills training, new business pitch coaching and brand strategy development, Underhill said.

Ad agencies that want to improve their win ratios in account reviews are expected to call on ViBrand, Underhill said.

“What we’re really trying to be is a growth accelerator for the Dallas advertising community,” he said.

Additional potential clients may be law firms, independent petroleum companies and other businesses that have never advertised but need help in creating a brand strategy, Underhill said.

Underhill managed the Motel 6 brand, the most award-winning client at Richards, for 14 years. He was also the author of the strategic process for developing a brand strategy and CEO of the Spherical Brand Strategy Consulting group at the agency.

Underhill joined Richards in 1988 when the 8-year-old agency had about 40 employees and $40 million in billings, he said. Richards is now one of the nation’s largest independent agencies with billings of more than $1 billion.

Before Richards, he worked for 13 years at TracyLocke, rising from account supervisor to executive vice president and CEO of the agency’s Los Angeles office. Underhill began his career as an account executive at Ogilvy & Mather in Los Angeles.

He was a founding board member of Bryan’s House, a Dallas home for children with AIDS. He also has served on the Texas A&M Center for Retailing Studies board and is the author of the book Who’s Minding the Brand? Underhill also is vice president and a board member of the Dallas Ad League.