This just in.... Fleishman-Hillard Inc., one of the world's premier public relations firms, is going to the dogs. Having built its reputation on "using strategic communications to deliver meaningful, positive, and measurable impact on the performance of organizations," the agency announced late Tuesday that it has formed an animal care practice.
According to the news release: the group will be headed by Senior Vice President Catherine Haskins and co-chaired by Doug Bell, General Manager of F-H Cleveland; it will be composed of about 35 employees; offices include St. Louis, Cleveland, and Frankfurt, Germany; and the dog group also will focus on issues management and public affairs.
Bell spun the whole thing by saying, "Animals and humans share many of the same health care issues, from obesity to joint health to social anxiety. Policies that affect the research, development, commercialization, and regulation of human health products affect the animal health sector and vice versa."
However, most PR insiders were expecting the announcement and see this as the third phase of a three part growth strategy for the firm. Commenting on this development, Martin Turnbull, noted PR business analyst and professor at the Kepler School of Management, quickly pointed out that the animal health and nutrition industry generates some $15.2 billion in global sales annually.
Obviously there are many business segments that an animal care practice can serve. I would encourage F-H to take a close look at the pet funeral business . It already is doing some notable marketing as I report in the Spinspeak Letter (Pet Funeral Biz Gives Major Boost to Spinspeak Phylum Compassiontalk, see http://tinyurl.com/2mxud3). But surely much more is possible.
Dexter, one of our agency dogs, started his own blog back in April, but he doesn't keep it up much. I did hear a rumor that he was in discussions with one of the larger agencies to head up their canine social media practice.