Sullivan Branding Makes Quartet of New Hires

By Andy Meek

Businesses that whacked their advertising and marketing budgets a few years ago have started to spend again, which is good news for firms like Brian Sullivan’s.


He’s the CEO of Sullivan Branding, a full-service brand development, advertising, marketing and public relations agency that has added a quartet of new names to the employee roster as market conditions continue to shift – for the better.

The growth is part of a continual re-engineering of the business to, as Sullivan puts it, “meet the demands of the current market and our clients.” The context for that demand is companies that pulled way back on ad spending in recent years put money back into their budgets in the last 18 months or so, but didn’t necessarily spend it all.

In the last eight to 12 months, Sullivan explains, they’ve started to spend again – and spend with confidence.

“Business is strong,” Sullivan says. “People are investing again in their brands and in their businesses.”

A similar focus can be seen at Sullivan Branding itself, where its CEO says the establishment of a distinctive company culture has resulted in interest from prospective employees from around the country.

A significant percentage of people hired at Sullivan, in fact, have come from somewhere other than Tennessee – from places like Denver, New York, Los Angeles and beyond.

At the same time, demand for the services of firms like Sullivan has picked up. And it’s picked up in a specific way.

“It means we’re hiring people who have expertise primarily in the digital and social areas right now,” Sullivan said. “The need for the creation of messages has not changed, but the channel for the distribution of those messages had changed dramatically.”

With that in mind, the new hires span a variety of departments – PR, operations, digital and creative.

On the PR side, James Dowd has joined the firm as a senior public relations account executive after working as a reporter for The Commercial Appeal. His responsibilities will include crafting communications strategies, identifying media opportunities and obtaining media coverage for the agency’s PR clients.

Meanwhile, William Malone is new graphic designer at Sullivan who’ll focus on designing digital and print projects for clients in the retail and banking industries. He interned at Sullivan Branding and has additional internship experience at International Paper.

Then there’s Cara McLane, who’s joined Sullivan’s digital department as a digital project manager. Her role will entail developing digital strategies and ensuring agency-led campaigns are effective across all mediums.

She previously worked on digital projects at archer-malmo. She’s the recipient of two Memphis Gold Addy Awards, and she has experience in product management, marketing, client services and communications.

In addition to these hires, Sullivan also has added Nikki Walker as human resources manager. She comes to the firm from OppenheimerFunds and will use her experience to put in place new development programs, provide career counseling and develop the agency’s new internship program.

Sullivan’s internship program is called the Refinery. According to a website for the program, four days a week interns will work with a department to create work for the firm’s clients. Each Friday, the intern class will work together as a micro-agency for their own client – “a real business with real client contacts, real deadlines and real deliverables.”

Sullivan currently has more than 70 professionals across offices in Memphis and in Nashville, making it one of the South’s largest independent agencies.