Basic Info

Name:
Scott Allison
Contributor Status:
Native AdVice
Initial Contribution Date:
07/19/2016
Primary Location:
San Francisco, CA, USA

Career Info

Primary Industry:
Public Relations and Communications
Personal Career Headline:
CHAIRMAN & CEO, ALLISON+PARTNERS
Business Description (One-Liner):

Communications and public relations firm.

Experience Timeline:
21-30 years of work experience

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Career Snapshot:

Scott Allison is chairman and CEO of one of the fastest-growing global communications firms in the industry. Allison+Partners was named PRWeek’s 2015 “Midsize Agency of the Year,” In2 SABRE’s 2015 “Most Innovative Agency” and The Holmes Report’s 2014 “Agency of the Year.” Scott oversees the firm’s international growth, while continuing to provide communications counsel to many high-profile executives and clients. Prior to founding Allison+Partners, Scott was the West Coast president of Connors Communications and a senior vice president and partner at The Gable Group. He also served as a supervisor with Direct Communications, a San Diego-based political consulting group, and as deputy communications director with United States Senator Pete Wilson. A patron of San Diego State University’s School of Journalism and Media Studies, Scott provided a founding gift to the Glen M. Broom Center for Professional Development in Public Relations and funds a scholarship that supports internship opportunities for students.

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How did you get into the industry?:

Scott Allison is chairman and CEO of one of the fastest-growing global communications firms in the industry. Allison+Partners was named PRWeek’s 2015 “Midsize Agency of the Year,” In2 SABRE’s 2015 “Most Innovative Agency” and The Holmes Report’s 2014 “Agency of the Year.” Scott oversees the firm’s international growth, while continuing to provide communications counsel to many high-profile executives and clients. Prior to founding Allison+Partners, Scott was the West Coast president of Connors Communications and a senior vice president and partner at The Gable Group. He also served as a supervisor with Direct Communications, a San Diego-based political consulting group, and as deputy communications director with United States Senator Pete Wilson. A patron of San Diego State University’s School of Journalism and Media Studies, Scott provided a founding gift to the Glen M. Broom Center for Professional Development in Public Relations and funds a scholarship that supports internship opportunities for students.

Industry opportunities and challenges?:

There are real challenges in the ever-shrinking traditional media outlets.  Newspapers in the U.S. are incredibly hard hit and this has stripped away traditional outlets to take clients’ stories to. It takes a much more diverse campaign to tell and amplify a brand’s story.

Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?:

In the summer of 2001, COO Andy Hardie-Brown and I were working at a small New York PR firm. The dot-com collapse was in full swing and we spent an evening at a café in San Francisco discussing the future of public relations and how we could potentially build a new agency. Two months later, Allison+Partners was born. We believed we could create an agency where talented people could thrive in a collaborative environment that was devoid of hierarchy and politics. Today, we operate 25 offices on three different continents and represent some of the world’s great brands, including Progressive, Samsung and Toyota.

Your key initiatives for the success of the Business? Greatest Accomplishment?:

There have been so many employees who have contributed to the success of our business. One of the keys to success has been hiring so many smart people and retaining them for many years. It’s provided tremendous stability to the business as we’ve grown. The core values that we established when we launched the business have also stood the test of time and worked across borders as we built the company.

Your most difficult moment at the Business? (and what did you learn?):

There have been a couple of very competitive new business pitches that we didn’t win. Two that come to mind are Taco Bell and Cliff Bar. I always felt we could have done incredible work for these brands. You have to learn from the losses and come back better and continue to work on your service offerings. It can be character building!

Ideal experience for a customer/client?:

We tell all of our new clients that we hope we’re the last agency they’ll ever have to hire. We pride ourselves on doing great work and treating clients very well, which includes providing strategic counsel tied to their business goals and developing authentic relationships. We’ve been fortunate to have clients stay with us an incredibly long time and give us the opportunity to provide them with many new services.

How do you motivate others?:

You have to lead by example. The founders of the company are hard-working and humble. People also want to know you care, both about the company and about them.

Career advice to those in your industry?:

Know that you can build a lifelong career in the agency business. Many people think agencies are good starting points and that you should work at one early on in your career.  It doesn’t have to be like that.  We have many senior people here who have spent their entire careers at agencies and have flourished.

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