RSM McGladrey Picks Kerker To Boost National Exposure

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RSM McGladrey Inc., a subsidiary of tax preparer H&R Block Inc., has named Kerker, Minneapolis, as its advertising agency of record.

An estimated eight agency teams pitched for the business that previously was handled on a project-by-project basis. The budget is still being determined.

"The mandate is to first of all build a brand synergy to RSM," said Chuck Kelly, president of Kerker. "We're going to do account planning to focus the brand, and then our next step is rally RSM employees and partners around this brand focus."

Besides developing marketing strategy to penetrate to new markets, Kerker will handle advertising, direct marketing, online and public relations.

The tactics are meant to promote RSM as a national brand.

Unlike H&R Block, which offers tax services to individuals, RSM, Bloomington, MN, focuses on professional services, handling tax matters for businesses with annual revenues of $5 million to $250 million.

H&R Block, Kansas City, MO, bought RSM a couple of years ago, Kelly said. RSM has more than 3,000 employees and 100 offices nationwide. It is part of RSM International, whose 550 offices in 75 countries make it the seventh-largest accounting, tax and consulting firm worldwide.

With new marketing, RSM wants to dominate the middle market in the United States.

Kerker's portfolio of clients includes Johnsonville Sausage, U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray, Buca di Beppo, 3M Corp. and Definity Health. Billings last year were $51 million.

Kerker is working on direct marketing material for RSM's Web site. An online tool kit will contain templates of direct marketing communications forms and literature that each RSM office can adapt for its use. These mailers or letters can be sent to prospects or current customers.

Public relations efforts focusing on employees for RSM are also slated to kick off this fall. A major brand rollout is scheduled tentatively for next spring.

"The challenge is that the RSM brand is not a well-recognized brand, and one of the things we're building is that brand among professional services," Kelly said. "They're growing, and naturally they want to have more brand exposure in the markets they're competing in."

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