Former Porter Novelli managing director Jane Sweeney and executive director Carolyn Kerr are joining forces to launch a new agency at Auckland's Wynyard Quarter Innovation precinct in March.
Sweeney says it will be a full service agency from day one, spanning earned media, content marketing, digitally-branded content and social media, high-end corporate communications, product launches, stakeholder management and regulatory issues.
"We're also looking at that great blurred area now around where does earned media end and paid media start," Sweeney says." It's a really exciting time to be launching an agency of this type."
The company doesn't yet have a name, but Sweeney is in the process of branding it. She is currently contracting and has already gained clients since leaving Porter Novelli at the end of last year. For the moment she's keeping those clients under wraps.
She hopes to add two or three more staff by the time the agency launches, saying they won't be from Porter Novelli.
Becoming part of a network of practitioners and agencies offshore is also on Sweeney's agenda and her particular focus is China.
She met up with a couple of agencies there during a trip to the APEC Women Leaders Forum in Beijing last November. "I thought, 'it must be possible to set up a network that maximises New Zealand's bang for buck up there.' I'm thinking through how we might tackle regional promotion like that."
Sweeney told Stop Press last year that governance roles were in her plans on leaving Porter Novelli. However, she says the focus for the next year will be on building up the agency, with board roles more of a focus the following year.
She'll stay involved with the three she currently has seats with: the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation, the Global Women Trust and the governance group of Diverse New Zealand Inc.
She also intends to join Arc Angels, the network of Kiwi women entrepreneur/investors.
Strahan Wallis succeeded Sweeney as managing director at Porter Novelli. He told Stop Press the agency had three on the shortlist to replace Kerr, saying one was particularly high profile.
He added Porter Novelli had taken on six new clients in the past three months. "We're in a great position as an agency and excited to move forward."