On the Eighth Day

After The RunAfter seven years in our own business and more than 50 years combined in public relations on both the corporate and agency sides, the jacobstahl principals have made the great decision to become joiners.

As my mother would say, we’re not from the joiners. After working in large, multinational public relations agencies since the early 1980s, starting our own business meant blazing our own trail and in so doing, consistently providing the kind of thinking, expertise and service we have always felt paying clients deserved. As seasoned communications professionals, we wanted to create our own set of best practices and leave behind the compromises of agency life. Playing by our own rules meant, among other benefits, having and taking the time to really learn and live the brands we were privileged to work on, and partnering with others we knew well and respected.

We’d seen the blogs posted by our colleagues at larger public relations agencies and even followed some for a while before abandoning them for blogs written by those in other areas of communications finding them of more interest, more relevant to our day-to-day working life and less self-promotional. One blog we enjoy is Larry Woodard’s from Vigilante Advertising posted on ABCNews. It’s always current, covers a range of communications issues, easy to read, isn’t just a segue to a Vigilante offering and usually contains a nugget that is worth sharing with a client. In short, a blog worth reading. If jacobstahl posted a blog, it would have to meet the same criteria or it just wasn’t worth doing.

So we waited and resisted the blog bandwagon. After all, we won’t be reporting from the World Economic Forum in Davos or from the last gathering of biotech glitterati in Silicon Valley. Our musings will mostly be from the waiting area at Penn Station and various other stations along the pharma corridor on the Acela line, gate seating in LaGuardia and airports in hub cities of American Airlines, and from our venerable offices in a non-descript building in NYC where the inspiration begins. Exotic power locations will just have to be sacrificed for thought-provoking and meaningful content.

Why have we decided to join the blogosphere now? The answer is simple and very personal. We have something to say and the time just feels right. Not very scientific, I’m afraid, but hopefully we will have called this right. In the turbulent environment of the last few years, healthcare marketers –some of whom we call our clients– have been under significant pressure to deliver bigger results from smaller budgets. What is the role of PR in this scenario? How should the practice evolve to deliver harder results and when should we push back and stand by the solids PR has always offered? What does PR success look like now? Have traditional “awareness” programs gone down the memory hole? How do corporate PR teams adjust – and direct their agencies accordingly—to the changing needs of their internal brand clients? What’s the operating definition of “patient and consumer education” when ROI is measured in sales ratios and lead generation? These and other questions warrant attention.

We are also committed to delivering a perspective here that is decidedly un-pharma-geek. Jeremy spent years on the consumer side working with major multi-national companies, many of which didn’t need TARP money. This has given him permission to advise our health care clients to look beyond what they see for ideas about building patient loyalty to their brands, and offer wackier answers to client meeting ice-breaker questions like, “If the brand was an animal, celebrity, reality show host, car, what would it be?”

Finally, and this is only meaningful for those who know us, our blog will occasionally offer a window into how working with your spouse is not only possible, it’s really OK.

Welcome to After the Run. Thanks for reading. Stay tuned.

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