Charting the future of public relations
Holmes Report
News and insights from the global PR industry


Holmes Report

Creative boutique

San Francisco


The San Francisco public relations market has been among the most turbulent in the country over the past decade, and the key to survival has been adaptability. Michael Fineman’s firm has reinvented itself several times as the market has shifted, creating specialty practices in food public relations, telecommunications, high-tech and Internet PR, expanding into crisis communications (most notably in the food sector), and developing a brand public relations methodology to differentiate itself from the competition. The past couple of years have been difficult, but Fineman has maintained its position as one of the most interesting independent firms in a highly competitive market.

                The most recent addition to the firm’s portfolio of services is a healthcare practice, launching WellnessExpress Clinics, California’s first no-appointment, non-urgent health care clinics in retail locations, and working with Sequoia Healthcare District to repair a damaged relationship with the local community. More and more of the firm’s work seems to include some crisis or issues management, from the introduction of a new wine cork that eliminates the chemical compound that can cause wine taint to the firm’s work for Foster Farms, which was forced to deal with a parade of issues: avian influenza, animal welfare, labor action in central California, and Latino community outreach.

Says Greta Janz, director of marketing for the company’s fresh poultry group: “We have worked with Fineman PR on a number of marketing and reputation issues for the past eight years.  In 2005, our company experienced a confluence of a number of critical issues related to our industry and our business, all of which precipitated an unusual level of public relations activity…. We are pleased with the agency’s work and have appreciated its counsel, which it consistently provided with great immediacy. One of the agency’s best traits has been its diligence in alerting us to issues of concern in the consumer marketplace and, at the same time, giving us a corresponding list of recommendations on how best to address those issues.”

                Other clients include Chateau Montelena Estate, Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates, Seguin Moreau, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Tapp Technologies, Latino Community Foundation, and Latina Breast Cancer Awareness Agency.

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