Phelps, the integrated marketing communication agency for such clients as Panasonic and Public Storage, has named Ed Chambliss chief executive officer. The move reflects an expansion of research, strategy and creative at the agency, which has recently added new leadership in these disciplines and updated its own brand story. Joe Phelps, who founded the agency 36 years ago, will serve as chairman of the agency’s board of directors and develop his nonprofit, the Getting Better Foundation.
As a pioneer in integrated marketing communications, Phelps is known for successful marketing campaigns that meld traditional advertising with public relations for measurable results – from record Whole Foods Market store openings to doubled online traffic for Public Storage and awareness of the renovation of Los Angeles International Airport. As Phelps’ president since 2015, Chambliss has led a re-orientation of the agency with a focus on digital creative and planning. Chambliss came to Phelps 17 years ago, after beginning his career as a copywriter at BBDO and then headed the copywriting department at the Portfolio Center in Atlanta.
“Even with all of data and technology businesses have at their fingertips, marketing remains about communicating with customers who, last time I checked, were human beings,” said Chambliss. “That takes empathy, insight and the ability to resonate with people no matter where they are along the customer journey. We’re in a great position because we provide the synthesis and speed that clients can’t get from conventional agencies, via open collaboration among interrelated specialists who can react to marketplace changes with relevant communications.”
It’s significant that the Phelps leadership transition comes from within. In addition to being one of the few 100 percent employee-owned marketing agencies, Phelps runs on an unconventional model – client-based teams where specialists from strategy, creative, public relations, media and a variety of digital disciplines see and collaborate with others in real-time. The result is award-winning work and exceptional client duration, with clients averaging eight years and several relationships extending for multiple decades.
“We occupy an unusual space in marketing, where we’re able to help our clients align and amplify their efforts across advertising, public relations and social media,” said Joe Phelps. “It takes a lot of experience across disciplines to deliver on that promise, especially in today’s complex digital environment. And it takes an appreciation and a facility with open collaboration to lead an agency like Phelps. Ed has demonstrated all of this beyond a doubt for several years.”