Hawthorn Group
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Holmes Report
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Hawthorn Group

a firm packed with political campaign and Capitol Hill veterans, Hawthorn understands the importance of applying political techniques to the corporate arena.

Holmes Report

Back when he was a country-and-western disc jockey, Hawthorn founder and chairman John Ashford was presumably known for his ability to spin, but as a public affairs professional his approach is just the opposite, emphasizing substance over style. In a firm packed with political campaign and Capitol Hill veterans, Hawthorn understands (as many do) the importance of applying political techniques—solid research; smart, strategic messaging; and an integrated approach to communication—to the corporate arena. He also understands (as many do not) that corporate and trade association clients need to build and maintain ongoing relationships with opinion leaders at the community level and in the nation’s capital, and that these long-term relationships are just as important as the client’s short-term legislative agenda.
Hawthorn’s track record includes high profile assignments in the environmental arena, for clients such as Georgia Pacific and Southern Company; on trade issues for American Honda; and more recently on responsible consumption for Guinness UDV, for which the firm handled a wide range of internal and external communications needs. Its strongest practices include consumer products, antitrust and litigation issues, and education, and revenues were up a very healthy 23 percent, ending the year at around the $9 million mark.
The firm continues to thrive by attracting top quality talent. It brought in former deputy chief of staff for the U.S. Department of Transportation, Norma Krayem, to strengthen its transportation practice, and created a new education practice, headed by agency president Shaila Aery, a former commissioner of higher education for the State of Missouri and Nancy Keenan, a former state superintendent of education for the State of Montana. It also added Jodie Bernstein, the director of the bureau of competition at the Federal Trade Commission to its antitrust and litigation practice and John Moore, former senior editor at National Journal as senior vice president for communications services.
The firm has been looking to expand by adding expertise in the capital markets to its expertise on Capitol Hill, and hired former BSMG and Morgen-Walke investor relations pro Ed Nebb to head its New York office.
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