303 MullenLowe is expanding its full-service offering by opening a public relations unit.
The hub launches with Harley-Davidson, an existing creative client of 303 MullenLowe, as a PR client, after being appointed following a competitive pitch.
Speaking to AdNews, CEO Nick Cleaver says the capability is another string in the bow of the integrated agency, calling it “the missing piece of the puzzle”.
“When we integrated our offering, PR was becoming conspicuous by it’s absence, and it was beginning to limit some of our thinking and solutions,” Cleaver says.
“We’re quite capable in social media and content generation, but taking them further in the PR sense is the next step. There are no real dividing lines about where conversations stop and start, and you want to have the capability of managing those iterations in any channel.”
“It's just a natural reflection of the way the business has grown and the way you actually engage consumers in conversations.”
Competition in the PR space is rife, but Cleaver says its model is different to the traditional idea of how it works. The agency won’t be involved in what he calls the “functional” operations of PR such as publicity, but more idea propagation and the creation of ideas that can “live on their own”, along with events and activations.
To that end, it will fit within its broader integrated offering instead of being a separate arm.
“We don’t want any divisions in our thinking,” Cleaver says. “We’re all one collective and we'll be bringing together the appropriate teams to respond to a brief or respond to a campaign. That’s a better way for us to work and is a better way for clients to work.”
Cleaver says the agency has been staffing its social and contents teams for some time, so bodies to fill the new unit already exist, but it has hired a senior leader to head up the new offering, although he wouldn’t be drawn on who.
While pitching for new business will also be part on the agenda, Cleaver also says organic growth from current clients is its initial focus.
The move comes as MullenLowe globally looks to bolster its integrated offering, with a global rebrand highlighting its four arms of business; MullenLowe, LoweProfero, Media Hub and LoweOpen.
Speaking to Campaign UK global CEO Alex Leikikh says the network is looking to ensure each market it operates in will have the expertise of all four of those business unit arms.
LoweOpen has been rumoured to be launching in the Australian market for some time, and while no concrete plans exist, Cleaver says its launch is on the agenda.
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