As someone who loves technology, I have been fortunate enough to work with quite a wide variety of businesses in that market, from true innovators to those who were fighting for market share. In fact, the first client I took the lead on was Disc Manufacturing, one of the pioneers in the development of CDs, CD-ROMs, and DVDs, which also gave me a taste of both the music and movie businesses as vertical markets. I also leveraged my corporate communications skills, and my crisis communications skills in particular, to successfully battle a patent suit against an international French conglomerate, positioning it as a David vs. Goliath story that received significant national business and trade media attention. And while working on the Panasonic Office Automation account, I had the opportunity to launch and support a number of multifunctional products for the business-to-business market.
When I relocated to California to open up a West Coast office for Creamer Dickson Basford, a Havas-owned public relations agency, I pursued and landed a number of tech accounts. One of the first was CIDCO, which had been providing caller ID systems. We helped them enter the VoIP market, introducing their first voice over IP phone, which enabled users to make regular telephone calls over the internet. I also landed that agency’s first computer client, which is something they had been pursuing for years. I did a lot of work for AST Computer, one of the leading computer manufacturers during its heyday. We supported the company’s laptops, desktops, and servers, and in addition to handling the latter two product lines, I worked on-site several days a week. I went on to help shape a community relations program for Inca Computers, which was trying to establish itself as a PC retailer. And we even landed an internet service provider, Epoch Internet, which gave me some experience in that space as well.
While often looked down upon by the hi-tech purists, I have provided marketing communications support for a variety of industrial technologies over the years. For example, one of my earliest accounts was Windmoeller & Hoelscher, which manufactures blown film extrusion and packaging systems. I wrote a number of ads, case histories, and newsletters for this company, in addition to generating a lot of favorable media coverage. I also did work for Pure Air, a joint venture between Air Products & Chemicals (another client I supported) and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which manufactured complex flue-gas desulfurization systems for coal-fired power plants. And I provided support for a number of material suppliers, which required me to understand technologies in the automotive, construction, medical, and sporting goods markets.
During my years as a freelancer, I regularly worked as a subcontractor for Sohmer Associates, a public relations agency specializing in home audio, portable audio, home theatre, and home automation. I mostly wrote press releases and helped with media relations for companies that manufactured and distributed high-end audio components, headphones, home automation systems, speakers, and televisions.
Of course, these days nearly every company could be considered a technology client, as technology has become instrumental to the way in which nearly every company does business. That is why it is beneficial to have worked on a variety of tech accounts. Not only did this give me a good understanding of the technologies that are shaping this new digital world we live in, but I also learned how to manage the rapid evolution of products and markets that often goes along with supporting companies in this sector.