Upstate New York has historically offered pretty slim pickings for those seeking quality public relations counsel. Most clients tend to gravitate to Manhattan—where they can combine agency briefings with a Broadway show and a five-star restaurant. But MRA is bucking the trend, having built an impressive, award-winning PR operation from its base in Syracuse (it also has an office in Atlanta) and developed a portfolio of business that includes not only local companies but also national clients who appreciate creativity and commitment.
The firm first garnered national attention for its work on behalf of Verizon Wireless—a philanthropic program that encouraged consumers to donate used cell phones to victims of domestic abuse. That program earned MRA the opportunity to work with the CTIA Wireless Foundation, managing programs for Motorola, Ericsson, and Radio Shack. The firm has also developed a technology practice, with clients such as Telergy, Slingshot, ADT Security and Honeywell’s nylon products and services group, and is expanding into healthcare, thanks to work from Bausch & Lomb, Welch Allyn, and NDC Health Information Services.
The public relations group is not dependent on its advertising agency parent for most of this work, but it’s also not afraid to draw on the creative and strategic planning expertise of its sister discipline. At the same time, employees have the opportunity to work across practice areas—an approach that is fosters a spirit of teamwork and delivers a broader perspective to clients. That approach fueled healthy growth last year—the firm’s fees were up about 80 percent to more than $2 million—and PR chief Chuck Beeler is predicting another banner year in 2001, with possible expansion into new geographic markets.