by Michael Fineman, Agency President, Creative Director
In 2015, Fineman PR experienced the rapid development of an ace team of diverse professionals and an acceleration of growth in creative digital strategies, including paid influencer programs and original content development. With deep roots in the San Francisco Bay Area, Fineman PR continued to lend strategic and tactical expertise to Northern California-based community organizations and events, including two events at the famed Levi’s Stadium. From traditional media relations to digital executions, our core competency in consumer messaging and outreach, community relations, corporate communications, multicultural specialization (Mosaico), and crisis preparation and management carried Fineman PR’s activities in 2015 for regional, national and international clients. Additionally, our dedicated food and wine practice, and our award-winning work for 18-year client Foster Farms were significant highlights.
Check out our 2015 State of the Agency Slideshow.
Fineman PR bucks the trend of the agency turnover epidemic with an exceptional employee retention record. The collaborative culture, career development opportunities, continuing education, and work-life balance foster talent and maintain the singular esprit de corps at Fineman PR. Karmina Zafiro, with the agency for 11 years, was promoted to vice president. Lorna Bush, our senior vice president, began her work at Fineman PR 14 years ago. Our awesome anchor, Vice President Heidi White, is now in her 19thyear with the agency. At the end of the year, V.P. Travis Taylor was promoted to Executive V.P. Serene Buckley, now a five year agency veteran, was promoted to Senior Director of Content Strategy and Development. Toby Baird, who heads our wine practice, and Juan Lezama, senior director of our multicultural communications practice (Mosaico), celebrated their six-year anniversaries with the agency. A tremendous source of pride for all of us is that our team is ethnically diverse and includes Asian, Latino and African American professionals, and nearly half of our 17-member staff are bilingual.
We continued efforts to stand out in our own community and gained new clients in non-profit, live event and government categories. We now count as clients San Francisco Marathon, Habitat Horticulture, HealthRight 360, Dale Scott & Company (California’s leading K-14 financial advisor), Progressive Insurance San Francisco Boat Show, San Francisco Police Department, Girl Scouts of Northern California, Central Contra Costa Sanitary District and Mission Neighborhood Health Center.
Event management this year included initiatives at the Foster Farms Bowl at Levi’s Stadium and work for HNTB, the lead designer of Levi’s Stadium related to the venue’s status as host of Super Bowl 50. We continued our work for the San Francisco Marathon which became a sanctioned qualifier race for the 2016 Olympic Team Trials and provided support for the San Francisco Boat Show.
Our wine practice is thriving, now representing Napa-based Quintessa and Renteria Family Wines, and Santa Barbara-based Zaca Mesa. Quintessa, owned by the renowned Huneeus Family, is one of the very best Cabernet Sauvignon producers in California. Zaca Mesa, founded 40-plus years ago by real estate dynamo John Cushman (of Cushman & Wakefield), is the pioneering Syrah producer in a region that now boasts some of the best Syrah wines in the world. We are launching the new, super premium quality Renteria Family Wines for a family who came to California from Mexico and became renowned as among the best vineyard managers in the modern era of Northern California winemaking, with oversight of some of the most highly regarded vineyard estates in Napa and Sonoma.
New work for our multicultural communications team, Mosaico (www.mosaico-pr.com) included assignments for Pro Ecuador (Mosaico’s first international client) and the Mazatlan Forum in Mexico. Early in the year, Mosaico helped a low income housing developer in Southern California fill its new development, leveraging broadcast news opportunities and strategically placed outdoor and broadcast advertising.
On the crisis communications side this year, we worked with clients involved in criminal investigations, changes in ownership, employee misconduct and sexual abuse, false and misleading product allegations, litigation, product recalls and crisis preparedness planning. Many clients on the issues and crisis side sought out our on-camera media training services which have also expanded over the past year. For client Foster Farms, we managed community issues related to the drought and the company’s water conservation initiatives; Avian Influenza threats; and false charges brought by vegan, animal rights activists.
After a challenging food safety crisis, during which we worked resolutely, Foster Farms’ laser focus and singularity of purpose transformed it into a food safety leader. The entire company pulled together with dedication and commitment to resolve the challenge and enhance the systems and processes of every part of its business. That teamwork and vigor is now paying dividends in workforce productivity, new prepared foods and value-add offerings, antibiotic-free and organic products, and wider brand recognition and distribution.
Our initiatives for the company even reached the White House from where recognition came for Foster Farms’ antibiotic stewardship, with feature billing on the White House’s own press materials and with a visit from Agriculture Secretary Vilsack.
We also helped the company make national news for its role in raising “TOTUS” (the National Thanksgiving Turkey) for the White House’s annual Presidential Pardon. We partnered with United Airlines to bring the turkey to Washington D.C via a plane dubbed “Turkey One” and also developed content for the inaugural presidentialturkey.com website and presidential turkey social media handles (including a Spotify playlist). A three-week stream of highly targeted events and engaging content earned more than 2,800 news placements across multiple geographic markets and a trending #TurkeyPardon2015 hashtag on social media.
Our agency was also involved in building and promoting several cause marketing initiatives that, in partnership with West Coast food banks, provided more than 250,000 meals to needy families throughout California, Oregon and Washington. We continued with Foster Farms’ Food 4 Thought incentive-based program that has supported more than 4,500 Central Valley elementary school students with more than 1.3 million pounds of food since its inception in 2009.
2016 is off to a good start with several additions to our client roster. For more on that, see our last agency news update. With our diverse client base, top notch team and growing capabilities and service offerings, I couldn’t be more proud of the agency we have built over the past 28 years. The outlook is bright for 2016.
Download a visual slice of our work here: Fineman PR: 2015 State of the Agency (PDF)