Founded in 1999, at the height of the dot-com boom, Atomic has grown over the past decade to become one of the largest independent technology public relations specialists in the U.S. It has enjoyed such consistent success in part because of a distinctive analytical approach to communications—its ComContext process, developed over six months before the firm took on any clients, is designed to provide agency teams with critical insights that fuel strategy, elevate creative thinking, and provide granular metrics on program performance—and a focus on helping clients cope during times of transformation: communicating a change in positioning, raising awareness, dealing with an IPO or acquisition.
The firm applies the same rigorous approach to client relationship management, with online portals that foster real-time collaboration, automate several basic tasks, and free up time and money for the more important task of finding and telling authentic stories for clients—an approach that helps ensure cost-effective communication—as well as allowing clients to see just what kind of results the firm’s work is producing on a range of metrics including coverage volume, quality and tonality, and key message delivery, typically including detained analysis of the competitive landscape.
Founded by Andy Getsey, James Hannon and Rebecca West, who met while Getsey was president and COO of tech agency Shafer—Hannon was his first hire, West joined a couple of years later—Atomic now employs a team of 60 delivering fee income of around $7.6 million following impressive 40 percent growth in 2008. That included significant growth in the firm’s emerging media capabilities, adding expanded search, digital video and blog design staffers and technology, and an extension of the ComContext platform.
The firm’s client list extends from deep tech to consumer tech, from Internet commerce to digital
entertainment, working with brands from Echelon and Sigma Designs in integrated circuits to Verizon and Smule in mobile consumer technology, from Bebo and Linkedin in social networking to top Web commerce brands Hotwire and RealtyTrac. New additions to the roster in 2008 included AFCOM, Ingres, Hotwire, TVN, Clear Capital, CMEA Ventures, Kidzui, Travel Ticker, Smule, Credit Karma, Hydra, Meraki, Knewton and Grid Alternatives.
Highlights of the past 12 months include the campaign that made the western region of Verizon the second most covered and quoted entity next to Verizon’s executive office; a push to get Bebo on the map in the U.S., which laid the groundwork for the company’s $850 million acquisition by AOL; an expert program that led to the acquisition of ad pricing technology company Rapt by Microsoft; the repositioning of Linkedin that led to an increase of more than 700 percent in several key media metrics, an increase in valuation of more than 500 percent and the addition of 20 million members; and a campaign that made RealtyTrac the number one most quoted real estate resource in the U.S.
According to Cliff Boro, the CEO and co-founder of KidZui: “We chose Atomic PR because of their strong track record with Internet brands, their immediate understanding of what KidZui is all about—and their uniquely up-to-date mix of expert people and expert systems: custom apps for media and blog analysis and program measurement, a combination of strong traditional and social media expertise, and efficient online program management tools. The Atomic team is doing a fantastic job. They helped us craft the key messaging and sprang to action almost immediately after coming on board, helping KidZui land a fantastic review in the Wall Street Journal, and attain positive worldwide broadcast and print pick-up. We even had a picture of KidZui on the huge TV in Times Square! KidZui’s audience grew 48 percent in December alone. PR continues to be a key marketing channel, and we are very happy to have invested funds in this area and to work with Atomic.”
Atomic does approximately 85 percent of its work in the U.S. and manages any international work through partner agencies and networks. But demand is growing outside the U.S. for Atomic to offer the same measurement-driven programs and analytics in global markets, and the firm is working on establishing Atomic-owned resources in Europe and the Asia-Pacific in 2009.