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Franco Blog

10 Reasons Why Franco is Cool

Franco was recently named as one of Crain’s Cool Places to Work so we wanted to let the world know our favorite things about working here. We asked around the office to figure out what makes Franco so cool.

1.Franco is friendly

“I think Franco is cool because we get to work with so many awesome clients and get to see them grow/develop over time! I also think Franco is awesome because of our luncheons and snacks in the kitchen!! The culture of Franco is excellent and I feel like I can ask anybody anything at any time.” James Youness, public relations coordinator


2. Franco cares

“The people are what make Franco cool. When I interview potential new employees and interns, we get a lot of questions about the culture here. The first thing I always say is that we all genuinely care about each other – and that’s from the CEO down. What’s more is that we actually spend time with each other outside of work.” Ann Marie Fortunate, account supervisor


3. We always have food

“Being a new employee can be scary but I know Franco is a cool place because of how warm and welcoming everyone is. Also, you’ll never go hungry here, we’re always getting some good food!” Rachel Burnard, public relations coordinator


4. We do cool activities

“Franco is a cool place to work because  the agency truly makes an investment into its employees’ success. From small things like snacks to spontaneous group ice cream runs to massages for the floor, it shows that Franco is willing to go above and beyond to keep employees happy and motivated.” Geoff Geist, digital marketing specialist


5. Our office is in a cool location

“Since the GMRENCEN is one of our clients, our team helped to coordinate food trucks next to the RenCen all summer. I’m not sure why, but ordering and eating food out of a truck makes me so happy! We also planned yoga on the roof of the Beaubien parking garage multiple times this summer, which I was more than happy to participate in.” Jennifer Spears, assistant account executive


6. Franco gives back

“We have a number of opportunities to give back to the community through service including helping clients like The Salvation Army, TedXDetroit and the Belle Isle Conservancy, serving on organizations like PRSA and IABC, and participating in programs like Grow Detroit Young Talent.” Elizabeth Robbins-Sabourin, account manager


7. Franco loves Detroit

“Franco is cool because our office is in the GMRENCEN, right off of the water. Our views are beautiful and we’re right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Detroit. I think it’s great that Franco didn’t just come to Detroit when it started to be recognized as “cool.” We’ve been here since the beginning.” Adriane Davis, digital marketing specialist


8. Franco = family

“At Franco we function more like a family than just co-workers. Whether it’s a client project or planning a wedding, we are always there to collaborate and help each other out!” Erica Swoish, senior account executive


9. We value each other

“We are cool because we respect and value our employees and clients.” Tina Sullivan, senior vice president

10. Franco is a team

“I think the team captured the reasons why Franco is cool, but if I had to put it into one word, it would be “team.” I consider our clients and our employees as one big team that makes this place cool. We’re lucky to work with clients that reflect Franco’s values, and with teammates that truly care about one another. We are teammates in every sense of the word. We happily help each other when needed, celebrate our successes together, laugh and cry together, and work together to solve problems. I always say we have the best team in town, and I truly believe it. It’s great to be cool, and it’s awesome to be Franco!” Tina Kozak, president

Franco On The Town – August Edition

During the month of August Franco worked with a golf legend, sang along with a rock legend and met a baseball legend, and that’s not even the half of it!

Brittanie, Rene, Jen and Sasha spent the day representing Franco at the Country Club of Detroit coordinating media for the Turning Point Invitational. The annual golf event is held by Cornerstone Schools and serves as the charter school’s largest fundraiser. This year, golf great Jack Nicklaus hosted the event and helped raise more than $3.3 million for the Detroit charter school.


Tina and Erica enjoyed the sunset at the Scott Fountain on Belle Isle Park at the Belle Isle Conservancy’s Sunset at the Scott on Aug. 17. Proceeds from the event go toward replacing the Pewabic tile mosaic on the fountain basin.

ES TK at Scott Party

Tina and her husband came out for the last Chevrolet Rockin’ on the Riverfront concert staring Bret Michaels.

TK at Bret Michaels

Rene snagged a picture with Detroit Tiger alum Dan Petry at Comerica’s VIP Tigers party. She even tried on his 1984 World Series ring! “It was really heavy.” – Rene

RC at Comerica VIP Tigers party

Geoff snapped a selfie at the Woodward Dream Cruise while working on behalf of Franco client SMDI, visiting the Cooper Tires booth. “I may not have won free tires, but I had a lot of fun live-tweeting the event and getting great pictures of classic cars. “ – Geoff

GG at Dream Cruise

One of Franco’s fall interns, Rachel, posed with HOUR Detroit Magazine Managing Editor Dorothy Hernandez at the Fox 2 studio for a cooking segment from the August issue.

RB at FOX2 cooking segment

Some of Franco’s powerful women Rene, Erica, Marie and Ann Marie attended the Dbusiness Breakfast Series “Powered by Women”  at the Great Lakes Culinary Center.

RC ES MS AMF at DBusiness breakfast

Lauren and Joe celebrated another successful Comerica Hatch Detroit Contest season. Beginning in May, the two helped launch the 2016 Comerica Hatch Detroit Contest where entrepreneurs from across Detroit submitted their business plans in hopes of winning $50,000 from Comerica Bank and more than $200,000 in pro bono services from Hatch Detroit and its partners to open a brick and mortar location in Detroit, Highland Park or Hamtramck. After more than 150 entrepreneurs submitted to the contest, the submissions were narrowed to 10 semi-finalists and public voting determined the top four. At the end of August, the four contest finalists, Bird Bee, Meta Physica Massage & Sauna, Corbé  and Coriander Kitchen & Farm, pitched their business plans live to a panel of judges at the Hatch Off event in hopes of winning the $50,000 from Comerica Bank. At the event, Lauren and Joe assisted with media relations and helped announce Meta Physica Massage & Sauna as the 2016 Comerica Hatch Detroit Contest winner.

JF LC at Hatch

Lauren and the CBRE Franco team helped deck out the GM Wintergarden in décor for GM’s Global Health & Safety Week. Here, Lauren is attempting to make a bow out of caution tape.

LC making bows for Health and Safety week

Elizabeth, Sasha, Lauren, James, Adriane and Rachel all pitched in at GM’s Health and Safety Fair on Aug. 31.

Health and Safety Fair

Franco On the Town – July Edition

The month of July took Franco to Oregon, local events and we even had a chance to play with puppies.

Marie and Jen celebrated Buddy’s 70th anniversary with the unveiling of a new mural outside the original location on the corner of Six Mile and Conant in Detroit. Detroit Street Artist Fel3000ft painted an original art piece that blends directly into the sky.

JS and MS at Buddy's mural

Pictured left to right: Jen, Wes Pikula – Buddy’s Pizza vice president of operations, Michelle Lawton – Buddy’s Pizza marketing director, Marie, and Fel3000ft – Detroit street artist and muralist.

Jermaine got a tour of the Fox 2 truck during a live shot at Belle Isle for the 34th annual Metro Detroit Youth Day.


Brittanie took photos at Metro Detroit Youth Day. Here she is catching some great shots of kids in the boxing ring.


Ann Marie gave the camera a big smile while checking out a RAV4 Hybrid  at NWAPA (Northwest Automotive Press Association) Drive Revolution in Portland, OR.


Mary captured playful moments at Pathways Academy’s daycare photo shoot to help promote the Detroit charter school. Pathways Academy is geared toward 7th through 12th-grade pregnant or young parents.

Pathways photo shoot

Dan, Andrea and Lauren pause for a photo during Comerica Bank VIP Party at Cheli’s Chili. The Franconians are using their event knowledge at every Saturday Detroit Tigers home game.

DH, AK, LC at Comerica VIP Party

Tina got her puppy fix in during Pet Day On the Plaza. She spent time with this adorable Puggle (the offspring of a beagle and a pug).

“This is me and my new boyfriend, Louie.” – Tina

TK On the Plaza - puppy day

Mary and Rene enjoy some sunshine on a Fisher Building balcony overlooking downtown Detroit during a recent building photo shoot.

MP and RC at Fisher building

Elizabeth, Mary and Rene joined communications professionals from throughout metro Detroit at the DBusiness Breakfast Series. Guests enjoyed a presentation from Tom Wilson, president and CEO of Olympia Entertainment, detailing plans for the new Little Caesars Arena and the city of Detroit.

ERS, MP, RC at DBusiness Breakfast series

What’s your AP Stylebook Pet Peeve?

As PR professionals, we have been taught and follow the rules of the Associated Press Stylebook. The AP Stylebook is the PR professional’s bible. And occasionally there are individuals who break the rules. Sometimes by mistake and others simply may not know what the Associated Press has to say about it.

I’m on a mission to call out some common AP Stylebook mistakes because I see them too often.

My AP Style pet peeve is when people refer to a one-page informational document as a flyer. According to the AP, flier is the preferred term for an aviator or handbill; It irritates me because flyer is the proper name of some trains and buses.

I’ve asked my fellow Franconians to describe their biggest AP Stylebook pet peeve and here’s what they had to say:

“Major cities1 stand alone in datelines: Detroit is one of them that doesn’t need the state included.”

Joe F AP Stylebook

Joe Ferlito, account manager

“My biggest AP Stylebook pet peeve is capitalizing job titles. Unless you’re the President of the United States or the Pope, your job title should not be capitalized2.”

AMF AP Stylebook

Ann Marie Fortunate, account supervisor

“Irregardless: it’s not a word! According to AP Stylebook, “irregardless is a double negative. Regardless is correct.”

MP AP Stylebook

Mary Parkinson, assistant account executive

“When people refer to a page(s) on the web as a ‘web site’ (two words), I mentally glare at them. We’re in 2016, but some people still don’t know the difference between the place a spider weaves its web and an internet3 page. AP Style says, when referring to the internet ‘website’ is one word. Sorry Charlotte.”

RC AP Stylebook online

Rene Cizio, account manager

Last, but not least, we had a few people in the office who had plenty to say about the Oxford comma. Here are their thoughts:

“My biggest pet peeve is the Oxford comma… I used to love it and was taught to use it through high school, so I was very surprised to learn that it’s not proper AP Style. Now I always notice when someone uses it.”


Jennifer Spears, assistant account executive

“I hate the Oxford comma! It is just unnecessary punctuation.”


Erica Swoish, senior account executive

Do you have anything to add to the list of AP Stylebook pet peeves? Leave yours in the comments below.

1Note: AP Stylebook lists the following domestic cities that stand alone in datelines: Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Honolulu, Houston, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New Orleans, New York, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington.

2Note: AP Stylebook recommends capitalizing formal titles when they are used immediately before one or more names.

3Note: Prior to June 1, 2016, internet was capitalized. The entry has since been changed to lowercase the word.

Andrea Kenski is an account supervisor at Franco Public Relations Group and insists everyone spell flier with an “i” when referring to a handbill. You can reach her at (313) 567-5092 or You can also follow her on Twitter: @detroitcitygrrl and connect on LinkedIn.

Franco On The Town – June Edition

The month of June was filled with events in Detroit, a perfect reminder of the commitment Franco has to continue serving this city.

Erica and Stephanie Bowen from the Belle Isle Conservancy lent a helping hand to call and direct the program with the audio / visual crew at this year’s Grand Prixmiere.

ES at Grand Prixmiere

Pat and client Katy Wyerman working Grand Prixmiere.

PAJ at Grand Prixmiere 2

Mary, Sarah, Marie and Lauren gather in front of a Grand Prix Indy Car before the 2016 Belle Isle Grand Prixmiere in support of Franco client, the Belle Isle Conservancy. Other notable guests in attendance at the Grand Prixmiere included General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and Michigan Governor Rick Snyder.

MP, SK, MS, LC at Grand Prixmiere

Elizabeth and Sasha worked the kickoff event of On the Plaza featuring a performance by country artist Matt Gary and Michigan singer-songwriter Audrey Ray, with the help of NASH-FM. On the Plaza is a 17-week summer series of free entertainment, activities, food trucks and more on the GM Plaza from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday through September 29.

ERS, SR at On the Plaza

Marie was onsite for the Travel Channel’s Delicious Destinations shoot at the original Buddy’s Pizza on the corner of Six Mile and Conant.MS at Buddy's for Travel ChannelElizabeth and Sarah were both at Opportunity Detroit for client interviews- Elizabeth with CBRE and Sarah with Buddy’s and HOUR Detroit that day.

ERS and SK at Opportunity Detroit

The month of June brought Franco three new team members. Meet our newest additions!

Rene Cizio, account manager. Rene’s diverse background in news, PR, and social media in both corporate and agency settings with B2B and consumer clients make her a triple threat when you need a great idea and a plan to execute it. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from University of Michigan-Dearborn.  She is also a graduate of the Southern Wayne County Regional Chamber of Commerce Leadership 21 program, which educates and develops a diverse, select group of emerging leaders in southern Wayne County.

RC Web

Jennifer Spears, assistant account executive. Jennifer has a professional background in marketing and journalism, and served as an Americorps member with City Year Detroit, working as a tutor in a Detroit public high school and organizing in-school and extracurricular events. Jennifer graduated from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, with a Bachelor of Arts in German and anthropology and a minor in women’s studies.

Jen S Thumb

Geoffrey Geist, digital marketing specialist. Geoffrey comes to Franco from General Motors, where he was a specialist on the social media team, focusing on luxury clients. He is a member of the AdCraft club of Detroit and has held positions at a variety of other Metro Detroit companies, including Quicken Loans, Team Detroit/GTB and Treat Dreams. He graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Arts in advertising and is a fervent supporter of MSU and the city of Detroit.


Marie and Sasha were on-site at the unveiling of the newly installed bronze statue of Edsel and Eleanor Ford. One hundred years since Edsel and Eleanor Ford said “I do”, the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House has set out to honor the couple’s life and legacy during ‘A Century of Love’ 100th wedding anniversary celebration.

MS and SR at Ford House

Tina and Joe had the opportunity to paddle the lower stretches of the Rouge River celebrating the 30th anniversary of Friends of the Rouge at its annual Rouge Rescue event.

TK, JF Friends of the Rouge

Mary and her husband, Zac, snapped a picture with Major Jim McDowell at the KEM concert supporting The Salvation Army and their efforts for the Flint Water Crisis.

MP at KEM concert

Team Franco had a wonderful evening celebrating at HOUR Detroit’s Best of Detroit Party at MotorCity Casino Hotel’s Sound Board . Top left clockwise: Intern Brittanie and Sasha checked in all media covering the event, Rene snapped a photo in front of the Franco sponsorship slide inside of Sound Board, Ann Marie and Andrea enjoyed a night out with their handsome dates, Lori took a night off from being the office mom and celebrated the Best of Detroit with her friend, Debbie.

Best of Detroit

Tina and Sasha took a break from working with the media at ‘A Legacy of Love: Vow Renewal and Garden Party’ to take in the beauty of the Ford House grounds. Couples at ‘A Legacy of Love’ gathered for an unforgettable vow renewal ceremony at the picturesque Lakeshore estate officiated by Macomb county executive, Mark Hackel. The ceremony was followed by an elegant strolling dinner and dancing.

TK and SR ford house

Among the couples renewing their vows was Franco’s CEO, Dan Ponder and his wife, Cathy. They celebrated 34 years of marriage in June.

DP and Cathy

Civil rights activist, Reverend Jesse Jackson Sr., made a surprise visit to the office and grabbed a photo with Dan and Brittanie.

DP, BC, Jesse Jackson

Jen and Ashley took time to de-stress at a lunchtime session of yoga atop the Beaubien Place Garage. Rooftop Yoga is a monthly yoga class put on by client, GMRENCEN along with RenCen Fitness.

JS, AD at Rooftop yoga

Brittanie spent an afternoon at the 2016 Conference on Volunteering and Service, the world’s largest gathering of service-related nonprofit, business, government and civic leaders. She represented the nonprofit, 9/11 Day, which encourages people to honor 9/11 victims by participating in service projects around the nation.

BC at Cobo

Franco celebrated June birthdays by taking a trip down to Ashby Ice Cream & Palazzolo’s Gelato in the GM Wintergarden for a sweet treat.

Elevator selfie

Jen welcomed media at the Turning Point Invitational press conference held at Cornerstone Schools. Cornerstone announced that golf icon Jack Nicklaus will play in the annual golf invitational held to raise funds to provide quality educations for Detroit children. Cornerstone also shared their goal to grow and educate 5,000 children in Detroit, almost double their current enrollment.

JS at Cornerstone press confernence

Kayaks on the Rouge River

An inside look at the Rouge River

Ever wonder what happens to your water after it goes down the drain or runs off into the sewers? If you answered, “It makes its way to the river,” you’d be correct. But do you know which river or watershed your area drains into? I bet you do, but it’s something most of us don’t think about very often and we should because everything we do – from fertilizing to laundry to washing your car – has an impact on our watershed. I live in the Rouge River watershed and through our work to support the 30th anniversary of Friends of the Rouge and its annual Rouge Rescue event, I recently got an education about the Rouge, its history, its challenges and Friends of the Rouge’s vision for its future.

History of the Rouge River

Boblo boat

First, the Rouge River is Michigan’s most urbanized watershed – and it’s bigger than you might think. It drains 466 square miles of land in three counties – Wayne, Oakland and Washtenaw – and contains more than 400 lakes, impoundments and ponds and 570 miles of river, streams and creeks.

According to Friends of the Rouge, the Rouge River once was the most polluted river in the country. It was so poorly treated and neglected that it even caught fire twice. But Friends of the Rouge has been working hard for 30 years to improve its health, and in my opinion, they’ve done a great job.

Each spring Friends of the Rouge partners with volunteers from across the Rouge watershed to improve the Rouge River. Here Cyndi Ross, river restoration program manager for Friends of the Rouge, explains how Friends of the Rouge manages wood for the health of the stream.

Opportunities on the river

Kayaks near the Rouge River

I’ll admit, my perception of the Rouge was a very dirty, polluted river that shouldn’t be recreated in, but after seeing it first hand, I was wrong. As an outdoorsman and river fisherman, I’ve seen a lot of rivers; when I visited the Rouge River in Southfield, it looked as healthy as the Clinton River or any other river in southeast Michigan. It even holds sensitive fish species like brown trout, which is amazing to me considering that a fish survey in 1991 didn’t find any fish at all.

As it turns out, there are a lot of recreational opportunities along the Rouge, and Friends of the Rouge is working toward more public access to the river. Fishing opportunities can be found in many Rouge lakes and parks along the Johnson Creek, Main Rouge, Upper Rouge, Middle Rouge, Lower Rouge and many other tributaries. (A fishing guide, species list and fish consumption guidelines can be downloaded at

In addition, Friends of the Rouge is working on a Rouge River Water Trail that will eventually include 25 miles of river from Canton to the Detroit River. There are also plans to create a park along the Rouge that would serve as a stopping point along the Iron Belle Trail and be the home of a future kayak launch.

There are currently four areas that can be paddled: Newburgh Lake – Westland, Commerce Court to Goudy Park-Wayne, Ford Field – Dearborn, Melvindale to River Rouge. We had a chance to paddle the lower stretches where we saw some great wildlife including ducks, geese, blue heron, nesting gulls, turtles and fishing jumping.


We also saw some of the river’s challenges, including a combined sewer overflow location at the Detroit Waste Water Treatment Plant, which is one of the watershed’s largest challenges. The plant can treat more than 1.3 trillion gallons of sewage per day, but heavy rain events force untreated water into the river, which can include anything from raw sewage to excess lawn fertilizer that ran off into the drains which can make its way downstream and contribute to algae blooms in Lake Erie.

Problems aside, the paddling tour was a fantastic experience. We learned a lot about Rouge River past including a paddle into the original Rouge River channel, one of the only downstream areas of the Rouge remaining after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers redirected the river and developed a concrete encased river bottom in the lower Rouge, and had a chance to marvel at the former Boblo Boat, the SS Ste Claire, which now resides in the Rouge River awaiting restoration, before finishing our tour at Belanger Park along the Detroit River.

We had a great time and would encourage anyone who likes paddling to try it out. Friends of the Rouge partners with Riverside Kayak Connection for an annual kayak paddle of the lower Rouge each fall.

Joe Ferlito is an account manager at Franco Public Relations Group. You can reach him at (313) 567-5031 or

Franco On The Town – May Edition

May took Franco across the country, down the riverfront and everywhere in between.


Ann Marie was star struck as she posed with a Rolls Royce while she traveled with client, Haartz. Haartz presented their full line of topping materials and focused on the Twillfast CR on the Rolls Royce Dawn (the LARGEST convertible top in the world) and the Chevrolet Camaro in front of the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA).

AMF with a Rolls


Franco President Tina Kozak recognized graduates of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s inaugural Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) at the Foundation’s 2016 Legislative Reception & Annual Dinner on May 3 in Lansing. YEA! teaches middle and high school go-getters how to start and run their own businesses. Kozak had an opportunity to serve as a judge on the YEA investor panel earlier in the year, and was thrilled to introduce these new CEOs to the Michigan business community. Students and other guests also enjoyed a keynote speech from Carlos Gutierrez, former CEO and Chairman of the Board at Kellogg Company and former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Kozak serves on the board of directors for the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and the Foundation.

TK speaking at YEA!


Adriane and Sarah hit the town to catch the Musical Swing installation before it left Detroit. They discovered that their songs would sync up if they swung at the same pace and found out that more adults were interested in the swings than kids were.

APD, SK at musical swings


The second week of May was The Salvation Army‘s Doing the Most Good Week. Andrea took a few local media personalities out on the Bed & Bread trucks to serve meals to those in need. Pictured clockwise: Karen Carter from CBS Detroit, Marie Osborne from News/Talk 760 WJR, Renee Vitale from NASH FM 93.1 Detroit and Rio Scafone from Rio and the Rockabilly Revival.

AK Doing the Most Good week


Joe, Marie and Dan Ponder attended the 10th annual Salvation Army Sporting Clay Shoot to raise funds for The Salvation Army Outdoors, an initiative designed to provide youth and families with engaging and educational outdoor experiences. Check out Dan’s shot!

Our digital marketing specialist, Adriane, went to #SOCIALCON in Ann Arbor this month where she learned from social media experts from Facebook and Google.

APD at SocialCon


Lauren attended a TV segment at WXYZ TV20 for the Comerica Java & Jazz: A Coffee House Series. For the past 16 years, Comerica Bank and the Detroit Public Library have partnered to bring metro-Detroiters nights of jazz filled entertainment free of charge every third Tuesday of the month from March until July.



Ann Marie did some more traveling and found herself in Malibu at the Calamigos Ranch at the Haartz sponsored Motor Press Guild Drop Tops and Dirt event. She had the chance to buckle up in the new Buick Cascada that was available for test drives to media.

AMF in a Cascada


The PRSA Detroit Chapter hosted its eighth annual Strikes for Scholarships fundraiser for local students to further their education in the public relations field. Elizabeth, Pat, Tina K., Dan, Adriane and Sasha left it out on the lanes.

PRSA strikes for scholarships


Joe joined client Friends of the Rouge for the 30th annual Rouge Rescue. He is pictured here with Cyndi Ross from Friends of the Rouge as the team worked to open up a log jam in Southfield.

JF at Rouge Rescue


Adriane, Sasha, Joe, Ashley and Lauren brought back Franco Fit Club with a nice after work run along the Detroit Riverwalk.

Franco Fit Club


Franco Fit Club also took Sasha, Sarah and Ashley up to Rooftop Yoga hosted by the GMRENCEN Garden Ambassador Program. Building tenants joined Yoga Dan for a lunchtime yoga overlooking the Detroit River and Windsor.

SR, SK, AD - rooftop yoga


Dan traveled to Provo, UT with client, SMDI for the National Student Steel Bridge Competition. This is from display judging portion of the competition, where all 48 teams set up their bridges to be judged on appearance and their competition posters, which detail the components of the bridge.

Steel Bridge Competition in Utah


Dan also found well-deserved time for a hike up to the ‘Y’ on the mountain side while in Utah. You can see the Y in the center of the above picture.

DH in Utah

Detroit Design

Detroit is a hard working city, with its own highs and lows; it’s a place with fantastic roots and a true creative energy.  I dove deep in all things Detroit and within just a few months I was moving my life, design studio, and job all into Detroit. Soon after, my design adventures with Franco began just a week after I had relocated my studio and living space to Corktown via Royal Oak.  I knew Franco had a long standing relationship with the city, but little did I know how quickly this PR synergy would affect my life!

My First Design Adventure: NAIAS

I began at Franco in early November; two months shy of the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) yes, the same NAIAS that our president of the United States stopped at to visit, not too bad for my first major project. The amount of work the team put into this event was both staggering and inspiring to watch and also be a part of. Just a few weeks into the project I was creating print ads, numerous graphics for social media, atrium banners, way-finding banners, and a marquee display – a whole 4,800 square feet worth of screen that would be seen on the front of Cobo Center.

During NAIAS Preview Week all of our team’s hard work paid off because as soon as you stepped off the The People Mover you were immediately surrounded by a cloud of green, blue, and steel. It was exciting seeing crowds of auto show goers walk throughout COBO letting our little green way finding banners guide them through the hallways because they stuck out like exclamation points. Our SMDI graphics were everywhere on the walls, pillars, token machines and windows, and it was very cool.

SMDI Atrium Banner Design

SMDI Atrium Banner

SMDI Wayfinding Banner Design

SMDI Wayfinding Banners

But the most rewarding moment of them all was walking outside the GMRENCEN and looking up to see that SMDI green screen I designed, now sixty times the size of the computer screen it was created on displayed on the front of COBO Center.

SMDI COBO Marquee Design


Next Up…Granite City Food & Brewery

The next big event for me was the opening of Granite City Food & Brewery in the GMRENCEN. During this opening I really got a chance to see what Franco does for our clients and how we go above and beyond to make things happen. Before the official opening date, I was given the chance to use my photography skills  to take pictures of the space for the media. Putting on that hard hat and walking through Granite City was so intriguing and just as exciting, if not more, to see those same images in the Detroit Free Press the following week.

Photographing the space was the just the start of my involvement; I was also fortunate enough to create way-finding banners, that were placed throughout the GMRENCEN, door and window graphics, kiosk marquee displays, and The 48243 IPA beer label (appropriately named after GMRENCEN’s own zip code!)

Granite City Flyer Design

Granite City Food & Brewery Beer Label Designs

As time goes on and I continue to work on projects throughout Detroit, whether it is creating social graphics for the Fisher Theatre and the upcoming performances of Matilda the Musicalor a new billboard for the The Salvation Army, I will be reminded of the strong ties that connect Franco and the city of Detroit.

Matilda the Musical Graphic Design

Matilda the Musical Graphics

In-House Designer Ashley Dupuy posing with her 48234 graphic design

Franco In-House Designer, Ashley Dupuy, Posing With Her 48234 Beer Label Graphic

Ashley DuPuy is the in-house designer at Franco Public Relations Group. You can reach her at (313) 567-5093 or For more pictures of her Franco design journey follow her on Instagram @ashleyydupuy.

Franco is Hiring a Digital Marketing Specialist

Do you have an attachment to your smart phone and a natural tendency to Instagram your morning latte in the perfect light? Were you an early adopter of social media and stay up-to-date on the latest social media marketing trends? Franco Public Relations Group is looking for a Digital Marketing Specialist to join our team in Detroit’s iconic Renaissance Center.

The role is primarily focused on content creation and management of social networks for several of Franco’s automotive and technology clients. The right candidate will demonstrate a passion for social media and proven results with both business-to-business and consumer-facing brand networks. The candidate will interface with client teams, share community insights and be willing to take initiative in a fast-paced environment. The candidate will have excellent written and verbal communications skills, be self-directed and occasionally be willing to work during nonstandard business hours.

What You’ll Be Doing:

  • 50% Social Media / 30% Advertising / 20% Influencer Marketing
  • Manage social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, WordPress blog)
  • Create monthly social media content calendars with planned posts; implement work based on strategic direction of Franco and client team
  • Engage with online community and proactively respond to brand-related conversations
  • Identify trends and engagement opportunities that can support ongoing digital strategies
  • Remain current on the resources, applications and social tools available to clients and the agency to best meet the needs of clients
  • Support special events and campaigns
  • Utilize software for monitoring and implementation
  • Develop and maintain relationships with community and partner organizations
  • Report monthly metrics with relevant data analysis
  • Proactively present new ideas to clients and agency for enhanced communications programs
  • Work within a team environment and keep the client’s message consistent throughout cross-channel communications strategies


  • 2-4 years previous relevant experience with consumer-facing social networks and a thorough understanding of the digital space
  • Bachelor’s degree in marketing, communications, or related field
  • Digital marketing skills and proven experience managing networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, YouTube, Periscope, etc.
  • Strong content writing and editing skills, blogging techniques and a solid understanding of online community management
  • Experience developing, building and sustaining engaged online communities
  • Expertise with digital/social media measurement tools and platforms such as Canva and Hootsuite
  • Ability to work under pressure and prioritize tasks in an environment where guidelines and deadlines often change

Please send a resume and cover letter to by June 1, 2016. Indicate “Digital Marketing Specialist – Job Posting” in the subject line of your email.

About Franco

Established in Detroit in 1964, Franco is a full service communications agency that represents clients in the manufacturing, technology, nonprofit, professional services, health care and consumer industries. Through media outreach, community relations, social media and events (and always with a heavy dose of creativity), Franco helps its clients build their brand, raise awareness and connect with their audiences. For more information, visit or check out the Franco blog at

12 Books to Sharpen Your Public Relations Skills in 2016

Following the popularity of last year’s 12 Books To Read To Sharpen Your Public Relations Skills In 2015 post, I figured I should draft my 2016 PR reading list. I had fun reading my picks for 2015 and am looking forward to tackling my 2016 picks. Franco Book Club anyone?

1. Spinglish: The Definitive Dictionary of Deliberately Deceptive Language by Henry Beard


While I hate the term “spin doctor” to describe public relations professionals, I can’t help but laugh along with this dictionary. Some of the words and jargon we have to use for clients can be fairly amusing, but Spinglish rounds up all of the best ones for your viewing pleasure.

Spinglish: 12 Books to Sharpen Your Public Relations Skills in 2016

2. Be Your Own Best Publicist:How to Use PR Techniques to Get Noticed, Hired, and Rewarded at Work by Jessica Kleiman


There’s an old saying that the shoemaker’s children go shoeless and public relations professionals are no different. We can crush it at our jobs on a daily basis, but when it comes to promoting ourselves it’s a different story. Be Your Own Best Publicist is a great reminder to apply your public relations skills to yourself.

Be Your Own Best Publicist: 12 Books to Sharpen Your Public Relations Skills in 2016

3. The PR Masterclass: How to Develop a Public Relations Strategy that Works! by Alex Singleton


Written in 2014, The PR Masterclass is a more updated guide to media relations written by a longtime newspaper, magazine and digital journalist. If you’re looking for some tips on how to take your media relations skills to the next level look no further.

The PR Masterclass: 12 Books to Sharpen Your Public Relations Skills in 2016

4. The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. & E.B. White


We are always looking to improve our writing skills and The Elements of Style is a classic guide for the writer who wants something a little more sophisticated. If you are looking to impress your boss or clients with your linguistic skills make sure to keep this guide on your shelf.

The Elements of Style: 12 Books to Sharpen Your Public Relations Skills in 2016

5. The Art of Client Service: 58 Things Every Advertising & Marketing Professional Should Know by Robert Solomon


Working in an agency, client service is what we do day in and day out. The Art of Client Service is a great handbook for employees at any level. It also answers questions like “What happens when I screw up?” Whether you have been in the business for 2 years or 20, this book is a great refresher on working with clients.

The Art of Client Service: 12 Books to Sharpen Your Public Relations Skills in 2016

6. The Art of the Pitch: Persuasion and Presentation Skills that Win Business by P. Coughter


The Art of the Pitch has nothing to do with media pitches and everything to do with presentations. As you move up the ladder in your career, you will spend more time pitching new business to prospective and current clients. You may have a great idea, but if you can’t sell it to your client, their board or potential customers it means nothing.

The Art of the Pitch: 12 Books to Sharpen Your Public Relations Skills in 2016

7. Trust Me I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator by Ryan Holiday


I’m not necessarily condoning all of the tactics in Trust Me I’m Lying, but I think it makes for an interesting read. The author was the marketing director at American Apparel for many years and they’ve had plenty of PR crises throughout the years. In light of Tina Kozak’s recent blog post Election 2016: The Power of Earned Media, I thought this was interesting.

Trust Me I'm Lying: 12 Books to Sharpen Your Public Relations Skills in 2016

8. The Five Dysfunctions of Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni


As an account manager here at Franco, I love the leadership fable approach in The Five Dysfunctions of Team. A collaborative team is one of the best parts about working at Franco and this is a great tool for managers to help overcome common hurdles and create an effective working environment.

The Five Dysfunctions of Team: 12 Books to Sharpen Your Public Relations Skills in 2016

9. Above the Noise: Creating Trust, Value & Reputation Online Using Basic Digital PR by Carrie Morgan


It’s hard to find a social media book that is not already outdated, but Above the Noise was recently published in January 2016. I preach consistency to my social media teams and this is a great guide that follows the same approach.

Above the Noise: 12 Books to Sharpen Your Public Relations Skills in 2016

10. Mastering the New Media Landscape: Embrace the Micromedia Mindset by Barbara Cave Henricks & Rusty Shelton


Have you mastered earned, owned and rented media? As PR people we are all familiar with earned media, but many of us are still navigating the new opportunities that social media and online content bring to the table. Mastering the New Media Landscape provides strategies for each approach.

Mastering the New Media Landscape: 12 Books to Sharpen Your Public Relations Skills in 2016

11. Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant


I will admit it, I’m an idea person. I love coming up with new ideas and challenging the status quo. Originals is all about bucking outdated traditions and coming up with new ideas. This just came out in February 2016, so it has some fresh, relevant examples and challenges you to not just think differently, but to be an agent for change in your organization.

Originals: 12 Books to Sharpen Your Public Relations Skills in 2016

12. Smarter, Faster, Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg


Written by a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Smarter, Faster, Better teaches you how to work smarter, not harder. Working at an agency with billable time, makes you think about ways to boost your productivity. This author has researched the most productive people and shared what they have in common.

Smarter, Faster, Better: 12 Books to Sharpen Your Public Relations Skills in 2016

Which of these books is on your 2016 reading list? If you have a recommendation let me know in the comments.

Elizabeth Robbins-Sabourin is an account manager at Franco Public Relations Group. You can reach her at (313) 567-5029 or Follow her on Twitter @DetroitDuchess.

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