Monty Hagler has played a significant role in the growth of public relations operations for North Carolina public affairs specialist CapStrat and local advertising agency Trone, but since April 2007 he’s been doing it for himself, having spun RLF Communications out of its ad agency parent, and growing the firm from three people to 17 in a little more than 18 months. He has accomplished that not by focusing on a particular practice area or industry sector, but by developing and executing strategic communications plans that help clients reach their business objectives.
The past 12 months saw continued growth, on track for 25 percent until tight credit markets took their toll on several clients, and the firm ended the year with revenues of around $1.6 million, with growth aided in part by the launch of a new practice group, RLF Spotlight, to help promote celebrities and personalities, which has worked with authors, TV reality show personalities, athletes and personal finance experts. More mainstream clients include Leggett & Platt, a Fortune 500 diversified manufacturer based in Carthage, Mo.;
In addition to Hagler, the leadership team includes vice president Mary Leigh Wallace; Stephanie Skordas, a 20-year veteran of television newsrooms, non-profit public relations and agency work; and Mark Tosczak, a former print reporter and editor who also handled communications for non-profit and corporate clients. New additions in 2008 include Ron Irons, who joined with nearly 30 years of experience as an advertising creative director; Joan McGeachy, who brings experience as a marketer and management consultant; and Aleasha Vuncannon, who joined to handle product launches, trade media relations and consumer promotions.
Interesting assignments included the launch of a $50,000 concept bed at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, which received world-wide media coverage and acclaim; a campaign for CareOne that significantly increased the client’s use of social media as a tool for connecting with customers, potential customers and key audiences; and a short-term assignment to promote a $134 million street improvement bond campaign for the City of Greensboro, which passed with nearly 60 percent of the vote.
RLF currently works only in the