Tony Sapienza, formerly global practice leader at Weber Shandwick Worldwide, and Paula Slotkin, who had led the corporate communications function at Computervision, launched Topaz Partners in 2001, just as the bottom was falling out of the technology public relations market. To build a successful business in troubled times, they need to offer something different. They did so by offering big agency reach and resources with small firm flexibility and pricing (something many firms talk about but Sapienza and Slotkin, given their respective backgrounds, can actually deliver); by promising “total partnership” with their clients; and by focusing on and measuring return on PR investment.
Since then, the firm has continued to stand out from the crowd in large part because of its continuous commitment to innovation. Topaz was one of the first boutique technology PR firms to introduce a suite a social media services (back in 2004) and has developed considerable expertise in buzz marketing and online communications. And the firm’s issues driven approach to media relations, guided by its Message Playbook positioning guide and its Influencer Map of important opinion leaders, means more proactive outreach, even when there’s no obvious client news to communicate. Last year saw the restructuring of the firm around formal practice areas focused on key market segments: wireless/telecom, it security, marketing technology and data management.
Topaz has grown at a healthy double-digit rate every year since its creation, and 2007 was no exception, fueled in large part by the continued growth of the firm’s social media capabilities, and by strength in the wireless and marketing technology sectors. The firm added new clients including Brijit, Campaigner, CYA Technologies, ELX, Mazu, Novarra, Orchestria, Prospero,
Among the firm’s most interesting assignments for 2007, Topaz expanded its work with BitDefender, adding social media initiatives such as blogs and podcasts, in addition to taking on coordination of international PR. For Balihoo, the firm used social media tools to establish thought leadership and drive leads, monitoring and reacting to blogs, forums and newsgroups, conducting outreach to relevant bloggers, and identifying issues and topics for the Balihoo blog. For Computerworld, Topaz stepped up its strategic media outreach effort aimed at positioning Computerworld as the model for the new world of tech trade media. And for Vanu, Topaz worked with a New York Times correspondent to develop a profile that positioned Vanu as a leader in one of the most promising segments of the telecommunications market
"The Topaz team works in partnership with Vanu to extend our marketing resources,” says Marty Gilbert, vice president of marketing for Vanu. “Working with Topaz, our industry visibility and subsequent interest in our technology has increased significantly and we have gained greater credibility and mindshare in our key markets. In addition, the ideas, follow-up, PR recommendations and strategy provided by Topaz are true assets to our team.” Adds Laurie Azaria Klausner, director of marketing communications, Prospero Technologies: “Topaz works very closely with our marketing team here at Prospero and we view them as integral to our marketing success. Topaz’s expertise and solid relationships in the social media arena have been a tremendous asset in getting Prospero’s voice heard in a crowded market space.”
Topaz Partners expanded its international public relations and strategies services practice in 2007 by strengthening partnerships with key agencies and individuals in