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Baltimore area marketing/PR firms in transition


There has been an unusually large amount of change over the past several months for the Baltimore metropolitan area’s marketing and public relations firms. The changes reflect favorable industry growth.

Most recently, award-winning Weiss PR announced a business transition and a revised name. Ray Weiss, president of this international and regional firm for more than 11 years, was happy to “hand over the reins” of the business to two of its long-time senior public relations business leaders.

The revised firm, Pugh and Tiller PR LLC (you’ll need to see the firm website to see its clever logo), will be jointly run by Weiss’ co-founder Jessica Tiller, and Matthew Pugh — a former manager at technology companies such as R2Integrated. Ray will stay on as senior counsel to help with growth and strategy.

As a major part of the transition, the firm is leaving its Baltimore location for new headquarters space in Annapolis. The Annapolis space is more convenient for the two principals and is strategically closer to its D.C. area embassy and other Washington clients while still accessible to the region.

Their work includes technology company clients in places like Iceland, New Zealand, and Canada. Jessica says that in addition, the firm serves local clients in employee benefits, commercial real estate and professional services.

Their new workspace fits trends in workplace utilization. Much of their work can be handled remotely. “We can often do our work with a laptop, phone and connection,” notes Matt. Their rented space is attractive, efficient and has shared services for mail, reception and client meetings.

Matt views this as enabling their firm to be agile and to pass savings on to both clients and employees. With reduced space overhead and a deliberate approach to growth, Pugh & Tiller is positive about the economy for its business and for its clients.

In 2019, there were several other marketing firm changes. Imre, long based in Hunt Valley, outgrew the space for its 145 employees. In consideration of discussions with employees, the agency relocated to a trending area of Towson where staff could walk to restaurants and access a gym.

The larger space is adapted to newer technology needs, for planned growth and to assure integration for the firm’s creative teams. The approach is different from Pugh & Tiller’s model, but it suits the types of services Imre performs for its retail, pharmaceutical, food and other clients.

Nevins & Associates, an established boutique communications firm, also made a recent move to a more bustling Towson location to accommodate its own growing business. The “hip” new space is also intended to help with the creative function and with the  continued recruitment of qualified employees.

Bonnie Heneson Communications (BHC), specializing in diverse marketing and public relations activities, also recently announced a change, with Kyri Jacobs expanding her role as president and CEO. Bonnie Henson, founder in 1990, will remain active in the business. The firm’s presence has expanded from the Baltimore metro area to include office space in Howard County.

Vitamin, a digital-first integrated advertising agency, announced in late 2019 an imminent move to a Federal Hill site near Key Highway. The agency is committed to the city and actually purchased its four-story building to be designed for the digital age. CFO Mike Karfakis describes the space as one where “there is an immediate impression that this is a modern, chic, cutting edge team.”

Earlier in 2019, Clapp Communications made a major transition. After 17 years as principal of a busy communications firm, Barbara Clapp sold her eight-employee firm to Arbutus-based Victory-360 LLC, a company that specialized in work for fundraising. Its principal, Michael Demos, rebranded with aspects of both names as Clapp360 Communications.

As did Ray Weiss, Barbara Clapp is remaining with the new organization to help with client relations and as a communications strategist.

WorkDesign magazine has discussed the acceleration of office space change as almost an evolution that reflects rapid industry change, technology advancements, costs and sustainability. Although the Maryland-based marketing/public relations businesses have taken different approaches to their space and growth, all are optimistic for the future and economy as they strive to better serve their clients’ needs.

Glenda LeGendre is principal of Marketing & Strategic Communications and can be reached at [email protected]