Firm to expand act to Big Apple

Trahan, Burden & Charles to shuffle senior management

Industry in transition


June 17, 1999|By Shanon D. Murray | Shanon D. Murray,SUN STAFF

To keep pace with new technologies as it expands to a full-service communications company, Baltimore advertising and public relations firm Trahan, Burden & Charles, said yesterday that it will shuffle its senior management team and open an office in New York.

The company is also planning to open another office in the mid-Atlantic region in a few months, the firm's principals said.

In Baltimore, the company will focus its efforts on expansion through acquisitions and strategic alliances with companies that can help the firm buttress its e-commerce, electronic marketing and other technology-related marketing services, the firm's principals said yesterday.

"The media options available to clients today are much broader than ever before," said Allan Charles, an executive vice president who founded the agency in 1974. "The industrial revolution took 300 years. The digital revolution will take 30 years, and we're in the middle of that now."

Effective Aug. 1, agency President Robert Matz will become chairman, relinquishing his day-to-day management duties to concentrate on lining up strategic opportunities for TBC on the West Coast. Daily management of the firm will fall to Sandra S. Hillman, now an executive vice president, who will be chief executive, and Charles, who will serve as chief creative officer.

Hillman and Charles also will assume the title of vice chairpersons.

The 115-person TBC, one of the top 100 agencies in the country, focuses on advertising, public relations, direct marketing, design, film production and electronic marketing, and has current billings of $142 million.

The executive changes are necessary for the agency's transition to a full-service communications company, the principals said.

Agency revenues in the $400 billion advertising industry are "shifting from 85 percent advertising to 60 percent ancillary services," Matz said.

"We need to make the company more facile," Charles said. "Ad agencies, by definition, have always had to be trend setters and early adapters, and figure out how to communicate with the next generation."

TBC is not alone in its transition. Eisner & Associates, a Baltimore marketing and advertising agency, said this month that it changed its name to Eisner Communications to reflect its emphasis on public relations and interactive media, and not just advertising.

"We've come a long way in the last 25 years," Hillman said. "We want to make sure we're still ahead of the curve 25 years from now."

The firm hired four people to open its New York office, its second outside of Baltimore. It opened a Reno, Nev., office in 1990.

The new office will focus on public relations in the tourism, consumer products and high-technology industries, with a possible expansion into advertising and direct marketing accounts.

"It became more and more obvious to us, that we needed to be in New York to serve our clients," Hillman said. "We're a Baltimore agency, but we're moving beyond Baltimore."

Pub Date: 6/17/99

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