Still best known for its work in crisis communications—thanks in large part to the success of founder Jeff Caponigro’s book The Crisis Counselor—Detroit-based Caponigro Public Relations is emerging as an impressive full service agency, with strengths in media relations, community relations, and public affairs. Caponigro has been joined by a small army of senior counselors including Walter Kraft, a former news director for ABC’s Detroit affiliate; Laura Moseley, one of the first African-American reporters hired by Time magazine; and Joe Kirik, onetime news director for television stations in Buffalo, Syracuse and Pittsburgh.
The investment in senior-level talent has been mirrored by an investment in technology, providing staff with the resources they need to meet any client challenge in rapid response mode. As a result, Caponigro gets called in to counsel companies facing interesting, urgent issues, from a U.S. Justice Department investigation to charges of sexual harassment to product recalls to class action lawsuits, and even a workplace shooting of seven people. That mix of assignments, unusual in a boutique firm, is enough to attract plenty of good people, but the firms hold on to them with a culture that combines generous benefits with a commitment to reducing stress in the workplace.
Now in its sixth year, Caponigro has fees of around $2.25 million, up close to 30 percent over 1999 revenues, and a client list that includes American Express Financial Advisors, Detroit Metro Airport, Michigan Peat, and local law firm Butzel Long, as well as newcomers Comerica, Home Depot, Detroit Edison, and Masco Corporation.