The Corporate Presence

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The Corporate Presence is a New York City-based design and marketing firm specializing in “deal toys”, “Lucites”, or “tombstones” for financial firms globally. The Corporate Presence is best known for designing the commemoratives for many high-profile transactions, such as those marking the initial public offerings of Twitter and Facebook.[1]

History

Growth and Expansion

The Corporate Presence was founded in New York in 1981 with an initial focus on traditional corporate gifts such as clocks and stock crystal pieces. The company immediately recognized an untapped opportunity in deal gifts, and soon focused its efforts on the investment banking community.

As the company’s reputation spread, especially within the larger “bulge-bracket” investment banking firms, its business expanded beyond New York City, to different regions of the U.S., as well as internationally. European-based business grew sufficiently that by 1998 The Corporate Presence opened an office in London, its first outside New York.

Further expansion occurred through the company’s acquisition in 1999 of the deal toy operations of Doremus, a division of the Omnicom Group. On the heels of this acquisition, the company opened an office in San Francisco and increased its marketing efforts in Europe, Asia, and Australia.

In 2001, The Corporate Presence purchased Acrylic Le-Bo, a leading manufacturer of Lucite commemoratives based in Quebec. With the addition of the production facility, the company became the industry’s first vertically integrated firm.

With the increased capacity and efficiencies of its own factory, The Corporate Presence took additional growth steps. A Chicago office was opened in 2001, followed by an office in Hong Kong office in 2005, and one in Sydney in 2006.

The Financial Crisis and the Collapse of Lehman Brothers

2008 was an especially challenging year for The Corporate Presence, and for the “deal toy” industry as a whole, with some estimating a decline in business of as much as 50%.[2] The collapse of the financial markets beginning in March 2008 brought with it the demise of several longstanding clients of The Corporate Presence. Most prominent among these were Bear Stearns, and, in September, Lehman Brothers.

The loss of Lehman Brothers was a particular blow to the company. Lehman Brothers had used The Corporate Presence for a significant number of the deals it chose to commemorate, which often ran to 80 every month, each involving as many as 50 pieces ordered, with individual pieces ranging in price from $30 to $100.[2] (The Corporate Presence has, however, continued to do significant business with Barclays, which ultimately purchased the North American investment banking business of Lehman Brothers.)

Return from the “Financial crisis of 2007–08”

The years immediately following the 2008 financial crisis saw many investment banks, especially the so-called “bulge-bracket” firms, institute various cost-cutting policies. These new austerity measures, coupled with the general decline in deals globally, resulted in further contraction within the deal toy industry and its individual firms.

By early 2013, however, many of the “Lucite” firms were seeing signs of resurgence in both deal activity, and demand for commemoratives. The total value of mergers and acquisitions in the United States during the first two months of 2013 rose 93% over those recorded during the same months in 2012.[3] In February 2013 alone, 5 deals worth in excess of $10 billion were announced.[3] In March 2014, when asked about the bounce back from the "Fiscal Cliff, David Parry, Director of digital strategy and marketing for The Corporate Presence told The Fiscal Times “I don’t think the business will ever come back to pre-crisis levels, but in the last year or so, we’ve seen an increased interest on the part of banks, going back to their original purpose: using ‘Lucites’ to highlight their creativity and accomplishments and serve as a way to brand the bank.” [4]

References

  1. "Congrats on Your Mega-Deal", Rob Walker. Published: May 27, 2013.The New Republic [1]
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Another Wall Street Casualty: The Art of the ‘Deal Toy’", Ianthe Jeanne Dugan. Published: February 11, 2009.The Wall Street Journal [2]
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Wall Street ‘Deal Toy’ Indicator Flashes a Bullish Sign", Katie Little. Published: March 5, 2013.CNBC [3]
  4. McGee, Suzanne. "Toys for Titans: How Wall Street Celebrates Its Deals". The Fiscal Times. http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Columns/2014/03/17/Toys-Titans-How-Wall-Street-Celebrates-Its-Deals. Retrieved 1 April 2014. 

External links

Official website