After departing Eleven PR a few months back and passing the TBWA\ baton to Lauren Vosper, Kelly Bennett has officially launched his new PR consultancy One Plus One Communications and is looking to fill the gap he believes exists "between some of the more well-established, traditional corporate PR agencies and others, which are often housed within advertising agencies or media companies, that offer consumer and activation services".
"I do quite fervently believe there's a sweet spot that isn't quite being catered for," he says. "Neither of those two areas seem to coalesce in the middle ... I don't want to do tacky consumer projects and blow up balloons. And when I talked with Phillip Kelly about the brand, I said 'if we were a clothing brand, we'd aspire to be like Paul Smith: classic with a twist."
Bennett, the founder and director of TBWA\'s trans-Tasman agency and head of PR and Activation in TBWA\ Asia Pacific, says the networked world was pretty good to him in terms of professional development and the strong relationships and friendships he built at a senior level. And this network has already come in handy for the 'hey, have you heard about my new business?' phase that any start-up goes through, with One Plus One starting off with clients from the financial, entertainment, construction and professional services sectors, some of them from Eleven.
Like many before him, he felt the time was right to build something himself. But after getting to grips with Xero, commissioning the new brand, finding premises (the agency is working in the same space as Sugar & Partners) and trying to sign up new clients, he says he "feels like a one-armed paper hanger at the moment". But while it's time-consuming, he says it's also been enjoyable.
He says there is already clear market demand for this "creatively-led, business-driven, corporate communications consultancy", but he doesn't want to grow too fast.
"This is a long term venture and we're already in discussions with a network affiliate. That's a good thing because we can extend outside of the market we're in."
As for staff, it's still a lean ship, with the only other employee being Stephanie Lowe, formerly director of OMD’s Fuse PR division and a PRINZ award-winning consultant in her own right.
“We will be making a further announcement concerning other more senior staff announcements and our network affiliate partner in the coming months,” he says.
Bennett joined TBWA\ in 2006 from a senior communications role within the Royal Bank of Scotland, based in Edinburgh. He is also a founder of the CAANZMarcomms Leadership Group (where he served as deputy chair for two years) and was the only NZ/Australian PR judge at the 2012 Spikes Asia Festival of Creativity.