Werth Associates
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Holmes Report
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Werth Associates

Holmes Report

After 45 years as the largest and most respected firm in the Columbus, Ohio, market, Paul Werth Associates has exceptionally deep roots in that community, and takes its leadership role in the public relations industry, both regionally and nationally, seriously. Senior executives are active participants within the Council of PR Firms and the PRSA, one teaches at a local university, chief executive Sandy Harbrecht sits of the board of trustees at Kent State, and numerous employees volunteer their PR expertise to a wide range of local organizations. As a result of those connections, the firm is part of the Ohio establishment, earning referrals from civic leaders, other professional services firms, and of course existing clients.


Of course, connections alone are not enough, and Werth is also known for its commitment to client service and its ability to drive real business results. Historically best known for its work in healthcare public relations and public affairs, the firm added depth to its capabilities in 2005 with two acquisitions: The Haunty Agency, which expanded PWA’s service offering to include advertising and opened the door to new and existing clients interested in an integrated marketing communications offer; and MMD Research, a firm with a 20-year history of providing quantitative and qualitative research and strategic counsel to marketing and public policy decision-makers, strengthening the firm’s already-impressive commitment to research-based programming and evaluation. Over the past couple of years it has developed a formidable interactive and digital practice, with digital crisis capabilities added in 2008.


The past 12 months saw very healthy 18 percent growth to around $5.8 million in fees, with the digital practice leading the way and expanded assignments from clients in the consumer products, professional services, not-for-profit and government sectors. Major clients include the Ohio Business Development Coalition, a public-private partnership that serves as Ohio’s marketing arm; auto insurance company SafeAuto; Chemical Abstracts Services; Huntington National Bank; and the Ohio State University Medical Center. New clients in 2008 included National Adoption Day Coalition and the Clean Ohio Campaign, a state ballot issue to continue $400 million in funding to protect clean water, conserve natural habitat, preserve family farms and create jobs without raising taxes.


The Clean Ohio Fund work was among the firm’s most exciting of the year: the initiative passed and won overwhelmingly with a 69 percent “yes” vote statewide. The firm also partnered with Ohio Business Development Coalition on a multi-year integrated marketing and communications campaign to increase capital investment and expansion in the Buckeye state; worked to support the T. Marzetti Co’s Sister Schubert line of yeast dinner rolls, popular in the southern U.S., as the company sought to grow its market share north of the Mason-Dixon line; and promoted National Adoption Day 2008 for a coalition of national partners, including the Dave Thomas Foundation, creating a PSA and earned media efforts.


“The national advertising and public relations campaign we implement with Werth to drive economic development in Ohio is doing exactly what it’s designed to do,” says Edward Burghard, a marketer at Procter & Gamble and executive director of the Ohio Business Development Coalition, “For two years in a row, Ohio has been the top U.S. market for new and expanded business facilities, and our latest Wall Street Journal national panel survey shows a 40 percent increase in recognition of Ohio’s positive work-life balance among C-level executives.”


New additions to the agency’s team included Jonathan Quinn, vice president, brand strategy, who joined with more than 15 years of brand marketing and advertising experience working on both the client and advertising agency sides of the business; Kim Ratcliff, vice president of account services, whose experience includes positions with the Ohio Department of Education and The Ohio State University; and Doug Lessells, senior vice president, integrated services, formerly an advertising and marketing consultant with The Columbus Dispatch.


The firm works internationally both directly as well as through its affiliation with Manning, Salvage & Lee.

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