SAN FRANCSICO, March 8—Porter Novelli Convergence Group, the full-service international agency’s technology group, has been growing broader in recent months with the addition of consumer marketing and public affairs capabilities. Now it is getting deeper too, with the acquisition of Bay Area boutique Tsantes & Associates, a 25-person shop known for its expertise in the semiconductor industry.

According to Porter Novelli president David Copithorne, “John Tsantes is the world’s best PR guy when it comes to the semiconductor sector. He and his team have the broadest and deepest knowledge of semiconductors and other advanced technologies in the public relations industry.  In making him part of the PNCG team, we are adding significant intellectual capital in a key market segment.”

Tsantes has more than 30 years of experience in advanced technology, including 10 years as editor-in-chief, managing editor and senior editor of publications such as Electronic Engineering Times, EDN, and Electronic Business, and eight years as an analog and digital design engineer with technology companies including Raytheon.

Prowess in the semiconductor sector is particularly important, says Copithorne, because increases in processing power drive changes throughout the technology industry. “Moore’s Law says that the processing power of computer chips will double every 18 months,” Copithorne says. “That means the people involved in the development of new semiconductors have a perspective on what is going to happen in the consumer marketplace. They have a unique view of what the possibilities are.”

The acquisition also adds fuel to a trend identified by Weber Shandwick chief Larry Weber and others, “hyper-specialization.” Technology firms in particular are beginning to build teams of PR experts with increasingly narrow focus on a single segment of the industry.

Tsantes & Associates will continue to operate under its own name “until it has integrated its programs and operations into the broader Porter Novelli Convergence Group later this year,” according to Copithorne. The two organizations are already working together on the global public relations program for Analog Devices, a $2.578 billion Massachusetts-based leader in precision high-performance integrated circuits for analog and digital signal processing applications.

Analog Devices recently selected Porter Novelli’s Boston office to handle PR, but will draw on the expertise of Tsantes as well. “PNCG impressed us with its technical expertise, strategic capabilities and understanding of our markets,” said Joe Laskowski, worldwide director of marketing communications for Analog Devices. 

The Analog account win illustrates the attraction of the acquisition for Tsantes too, as Laskowski pointed to “efficiency improvements enabled by PNCG’s global network and worldwide coordination capabilities.” In the past, Tsantes has worked almost exclusively in the U.S., but chipmakers are looking at global markets.

Says Copithorne, “In the past, semiconductor manufacturers did not target international markets until a couple of years after launch. Today, they are thinking globally from day one. They need a global marketing strategy.”
“The globalization of the semiconductor industry is accelerating, and increasingly, our clients are asking us to drive strategic programs across multiple geographies,” Tsantes said.  “Our clients are also asking us for more diversified capabilities such as interactive, public affairs and investor relations services.  The Porter Novelli Convergence Group will enable Tsantes & Associates to deliver more and better services to existing and new clients.”