“Breaking Through the Clutter”
Challenge: Following the merger of Eisner and Amper, DLPR needed to communicate the breadth and depth of the newly-formed larger firm. DLPR managed the merger announcement and generated strong media results, including an exclusive national appearance on the Fox Business Network with the respective CEO and Chairman of the new firm. But what about post-merger? Would it be business as usual from a media perspective?
Mid-tier accounting firms merge frequently, and there was little inherent reason for the media to follow the transaction after the announcement unless there were layoffs (there were not). Furthermore, media coverage of tax and accounting topics in the business press is done at such a basic level that almost any credible accounting source would be knowledgeable enough to be quoted, creating a second significant challenge in differentiating EisnerAmper’s spokespeople.
With those challenges in mind, DLPR worked closely with EisnerAmper to meet the objective of making the newly combined name ubiquitous in financial, business, trade and regional media.
Strategy: Prior to the merger, DLPR had conducted a successful media visibility program for Eisner, positioning it as the largest non-Big Four firm headquartered in New York, and generating consistent, visible results in top-tier media such as the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg and CNBC.
With the new combined entity, we planned to continue to secure top-tier media results for Eisner’s spokespeople while leveraging Amper experts in the same way, particularly in practice areas such as public accounting and wealth management.
Our strategy was to engage in a more creative campaign. We needed to find new angles, particularly in tax, which is especially challenging from a media relations perspective.
Tax season generates numerous opportunities for accountants to secure high-visibility media, but it is also the time when it is most difficult for firms to differentiate their sources from competitors.
In 2011, DLPR learned that the head of EisnerAmper’s real estate practice, Ken Weissenberg, was a marriage equality advocate with an encyclopedic understanding of the challenges that same-sex married couples had to go through to file their taxes under the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). This legislation prevented the federal government from recognizing state sanctioned same-sex marriages.
DLPR broke through the clutter of spokespeople by brandishing Weissenberg’s tax expertise and combining that with his ability to speak to same-sex marriage. We were able to make reporters understand that while anyone could give advice on proper record-keeping, EisnerAmper had a high-level source who could speak authoritatively on how the tax system worked for same-sex couples. A unique twist to an otherwise relatively mundane tax story.
The strategy, while slightly controversial, worked extremely well: Weissenberg was quoted throughout the 2011-2012 tax season by The Wall Street Journal, CNNMoney, MarketWatch, Business Insider, The Star-Ledger, Yahoo! Finance, Bloomberg, Reuters, and he appeared on CNN.
We used the same strategy to generate additional high-tier feature media moving forward, indentifying other partners’ areas of expertise, past work experience and high profile client representations. For example, we secured a spot for partner Michael Breit on the “YES Network’s Forbes Sports Money” program by highlighting his work with Major League Baseball and the NFL.
DLPR has repeated its media relations success for the firm across numerous practice groups and topics, including FATCA implementation, private equity, technology, boards of directors, risk management and others.
Recent coverage includes a profile on EisnerAmper’s CEO in Crain’s New York Business discussing New York’s start-up climate, and the head of the firm’s Philadelphia office explaining trends in CFO hiring to CFO Magazine. We also secured feature coverage in the Wall Street Journal about the firm’s survey on risks confronting corporate boards and regularly secure TV interviews on CNBC, Bloomberg and Fox Business News for the head of the firm’s personal wealth advisory practice.