Tag Archives: 50th anniversary

2014 – A memorable year

2014 was a big year for us. Not only was it Franco’s 50th anniversary year, but last January, I transitioned into the role of president, succeeding Maria Leonhauser, who retired after more than a decade with the agency. I knew that at times the role of president would be challenging, but anyone who knows me knows that I love a good challenge.

Throughout the year, we worked to reenergize Franco culture, redefine excellent client service, and realign our pro-bono efforts to better support the region we love. And we did this all while achieving more than 20 percent revenue and employment growth.

I couldn’t be any more proud to lead this amazing agency, and more specifically, this amazing team.

The team gathered for a picture at the Belle Isle Conservatory during Franco Fun Day in October.

The team gathered for a picture at the Belle Isle Conservatory during Franco Fun Day in October.

We added an assistant account executive, a manager and a director, as well as two interns, growing our team to just over 20 employees, while further expanding our capabilities to extend past traditional public relations and marketing. With services like content generation, social media and design, we’ve also been able to expand clientele, adding high-profile accounts like Punch Bowl Social, Jolly Pumpkin, Deloitte LLP, the Belle Isle Conservancy and the Steel Market Development Institute.

Sure, the City of Detroit has seen its share of ups and downs throughout history, from economic recessions and a thinning population to the nation’s largest municipal bankruptcy; but, through it all Franco has not only remained in the city, the agency has always played a key role in shaping the region’s business and community landscape through our client work and volunteer leadership.

Perhaps best put by our founder, Anthony M. Franco, whose decades-old definition of public relations stands the test of time, “Public relations is the art and science of analyzing trends, predicting consequences, counseling leaders, and implementing professionally planned programs of action which will serve both the organization’s and the public’s interest.”

I’m proud to say that today, we’re still living up to the standards Tony laid down, while building a legacy of our own. 2014 has been a wild ride, and it would not have been possible without our incredible team.

So, in October we decided it was time to celebrate our 50th anniversary and our team during a Franco Fun Day. We took to the city in a sweet ride from the Detroit Bus Company and visited some of the city’s most iconic landmarks. From bell ringing for The Salvation Army in Campus Martius and visiting Belle Isle Aquarium to enjoying lunch at the home of Detroit’s original square pizza and a celebratory “cheers” at Two James Spirits, we made our way around the D for one fun-filled day with the Franconians.

And like any good year, our nonprofit and automotive teams kicked it in high gear in November and December, pulling long days and long nights to support the red kettle campaign and North American International Auto Show, among others. And now that the NAIAS media days have come to a close, it’s safe to say we’ve had another successful year with our great team.

So, as we reflect on 2014, we raise a Jolly Pumpkin sour beer to toast the past 50 years – let’s take the next 50 by a storm!

Tina Kozak is president of Franco Public Relations Group. You can connect with her on  LinkedIn or Twitter @tinakozak. Connect with Franco PR Group on Facebook and Twitter @FrancoPRGroup.

Cyber Shot is a reminder of how much we’ve evolved

I received a cyber flash-from-the-past a few months back via a former colleague who posted a photo on Facebook from one of my earliest jobs in public relations. There was a fresh-faced me among my PR Associates co-workers atop downtown Detroit’s Penobscot Building in a promotional image that would accompany an article touting our firm’s strengths to the business community.
A lot of memories flooded back with that mid-‘80s photo.  The friendships I still cherish with a few in the group and the loss I still feel from the passing of others. I thought of the projects that allowed me to apply my newly acquired PR skills and the seasoned practitioners in that shot who kindly nurtured my professional growth.

Much has changed since then. PR Associates blended into Franco’s DNA in 2002 when Franco acquired the agency to proudly roll on as Michigan’s oldest independent PR firm. In fact, we’ll be celebrating our 50th anniversary in 2014!

The profession and we as practitioners have also changed dramatically.  I took a lot of good natured ribbing in sharing that photo with my young Franco colleagues.  We laughed at the fact that they weren’t even a glimmer in their father’s eye when I stood on top of that building.  (Well, it was mostly them laughing.) We also laughed at my conservative skirt suit and pearls – must haves for any budding professional in those days.

There’s a casualness in today’s workplace, most notably reflected in the informal wardrobe choices of the youngest professionals.  Buttoned up business attire is now donned only for the most important of meetings and events.  And those of us who once dressed to impress everyday have happily embraced this more comfortable dressed down fashion trend.

But this casualness does not reflect a lesser commitment or competency among today’s employees compared to those of us with roots in a more “formal” era.

Like all professions, the Internet boom and the ever- increasing reliance on communication via social media has transformed the practice of public relations. The proliferation of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and dozens of other social media outlets, combined with 24/7 network and cable news, means the response to events large or small the world over can be immediate and relentless.

For those of us in PR, the more controlled, two-way communication between a company and its various publics has long been replaced with commentary occurring in all directions at warped speed.  It’s a phenomenon that would overwhelm yesteryear’s more formal approach to public relations. But the younger practitioners entering the field have transformed the profession.

Their flexibility and spontaneity have infiltrated our work . . . all for the better. Their familiarity and fearless use of all the electronic gadgets that are the new tools of our trade challenge those of us who’ve been at PR for a while to up our game.

And that’s a good thing, if YKWIM.

Pat Adanti-Joy, APR, is an account manager at Franco Public Relations Group.  You can reach her at 313-567-5046 or joy@franco.com