**First Place Award Winner—New York Chapter, Public Relations Society of America, Public Relations for a Professional Service Firm, 1998
From a tiny Cincinnati design studio nearly a century ago, Libby Perszyk Kathman (LPK) had grown into the nation’s largest independent brand identity and package design firm, second only in size to Landor Associates. But while LPK had built a base of blue chip clients, the firm lacked the national and international recognition it needed to continue to grow and compete successfully for new clients and professional staff members. LPK retained Zlokower Company to help increase its national recognition.
- Increase LPK’s visibility in the media, particularly in The Wall Street Journal, BrandWeek and other national business and advertising press
- Target current and prospective clients as well as potential staff members nationwide.
How We Met Those Goals:
We needed to overcome several problems. Brand identity firms were less attractive to national media, compared with major advertising and promotion agencies. Secondly, news of LPK projects had to be very fresh, usually tied in with yet-to-be announced advertising campaigns. And third, most stories involving LPK would need approval and participation from its clients.
- New Announcements
We created a system with LPK to identify the most newsworthy projects, elicit cooperation from LPK’s clients and break the stories as quickly as possible to insure publication in BrandWeek, as well as regional and trade press. In 1996, we produced an announcement and photo naming Jerome Kathman, new LPK president
- Story Lines on LPK Service to Clients
Analysis of LPK projects helped create story lines pitched to Wall Street Journal and other national media on the re-emergence of the icon in consumer branding, global branding and packaging.
- Major by-lined articles
We helped propose and produce in-depth by-lined articles with photos, an example being Design Management Journal, a major journal within the commercial design industry which published an article entitled “Fine Line Between Reinvigorating Packaging and Maintaining Brand Equity,” by Jerome Kathman, new LPK President.
- Continuous Editorial Contact
Regular pitching of story ideas was supplemented by arranging desk side briefings with the client and BrandWeek, Money, Wall Street Journal, CBS, Financial Times, Business Week, CNN, and CNBC.
LPK’s national media visibility increased significantly. For the first time, new project announcements were breaking regularly with color photos in BrandWeek, in the national trade press and Cincinnati media. The new president announcement appeared in BrandWeek with photo and The New York Times.
Major stories incorporating the story lines broke several times in The Wall Street Journal and on CNN, CNBC, CBS radio, Bloomberg News and Reuter’s wires as well as in Sales & Marketing Management. Zlokower contacts and LPK media visits led to more interviews and eventual quotes on breaking and feature stories in Bloomberg Business News and Reuters.
LPK management reported a strong increase in awareness among clients and prospects which it believes contributed significantly to its growth. The firm, which had 100 employees in 1996, grew to 200 by 2000 while dramatically expanding office space and volume.
In 2000, due to the oncoming recession, LPK’s largest client, Procter & Gamble, cut its branding and design budget considerably, forcing LPK to lay off employees and end its public relations contract.