PR Niblets

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

FC Round-up: Trip to Istanbul; Staffing Up; and Winning Industry Awards

With the help of our staff, clients and industry partners, the first five months of 2014 are pointing to a great year for our firm.  It didn't look so good in late 2008 when we became "accidental entrepreneurs" during the height of the recent great recession. Back then, our boutique firm bled cash as we struggled to market ourselves, attract clients, build our reputation and manage payroll/benefits for our start-up staff.  In 2014, the economy is moving into drive and we now have a stable of multi-year clients, a growing reputation and some visibility into the road ahead.

The year started out with my taking office as president of the New York chapter of PRSA, the third largest chapter in the nation (and the country's largest 'city chapter'). My fairly intense day job multiplied into two as I helped provide leadership to one of the original and most respected PRSA chapters in the nation.  Thankfully, we have a great board with many respected names and up-and-coming superstars in the PR industry, as well as a solid core of volunteers continually raising their hands. That's allowed us to expand our programs, industry activities and community outreach. It's been a blast so far!

Our firm added several new clients to our roster -- CityShares, Worthy, 1st Alliance Lending and Secure-24 -- and thankfully, our free-time diminished.

In early May, my wife and I flew to Istanbul for a meeting of the PR World Alliance, our global network of best-of-breed independent PR firms. Our three-day, semi-annual meeting, hosted by Persona Communications was educational and inspirational. After arriving in Istanbul, we joined our partner Perran Ersu at Boğaziçi University for a Schumann and Brahms piano quartet by visiting renowned musicians. The next day, I participated in our board meeting (I serve as vice chairman of the organization).

On the second day of our conference, we hosted a speaker from the national government who put on his best game face and spoke about the growing positive climate for business in Turkey. We noted the phrase "Taksim Square" was never uttered aloud. Later, a political science professor from an Istanbul university provided the political perspective on what had happened -- and is still happening -- in the country. It was a day of contrasts. Our partners shared case studies and discussed best practices in their home countries.

On Saturday, we wrapped our business by lunch time and set out via mini-bus for a tour of Topkapi Palace, home of the Ottoman Dynasty between the mid-15th and mid-19th centuries. Then, on to Hagia Sophia for a look inside the Eastern Orthodox Cathedral which is both a Roman Catholic Cathedral and Mosque all under one crazily impressive domed roof.  On Saturday night, Perran hosted a bash on a yacht on the Bosporus Strait, sailing up the European coast and back down along the Asian continent.  It was quite magical.

Darby Fledderjohn
Best of all, I was gone for a week and our firm managed well without me -- a further sign of the maturity of our firm.

Shortly after I returned, our newest hire came on board. Account Coordinator Darby Fledderjohn is a recent graduate of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University and is providing a welcome extra set of intelligent hands to our team.  On her second day on the job, we closed early for the night and headed to the Mandarin Oriental in New York City for PRSA-NY's annual Big Apple Awards gala. It's a night that honors excellence in the PR industry.

We're proud to announce that Feintuch Communications, together with our client, Convene, the nation's fastest growing network of conference centers, took home three awards. Our campaign entry, called "Reinventing the Off-Site Meetings Industry through the Use of Human-Centered Design," won honorable mention for Marketing Business-to-Business: Campaigns with Budgets of $100,000 or less. We won a Big Apple for Reputation and Brand Management: Campaigns with Budgets of $100,000 or less.

But the big surprise win of the night (see the full list of winners here) was a new industry award recognizing "Best Business/Campaign Outcomes." The award recognizes campaigns whose success is measured by strategic results other than press clippings or broadcast segments.  In fact, our campaign for Convene helped the firm increase revenue last year by 21 percent and speed the close on a $10m fundraising round.

So, as May comes rushing to a close, I'm thankful for having survived our business adolescence and look forward to the next phase of our journey as we continue to deliver results to our clients, build our brand and expand. We promise to share more detail with you in the months ahead.

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