14 Charlotte PR firms that could be game changers

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As a digital media guy, I was invited to a special “media event” before the Ritz opened the Punch Room (outstanding spot, by the way). I looked around the room on the 18th floor and noticed a bunch of people that didn’t look like traditional media people. I was the nerdiest one there (I constantly tuck in my shirt and wear a Brooks Brothers non-iron).

I thought Heidi (amazing lady that runs the Ritz’s Sales and Marketing team) made a mistake along with her PR agency by not inviting media folks.

Then it hit me. How does the Ritz Punch Room audience consume media? In nerd talk, what media influences this target audience’s discretionary spending? It’s Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, etc. I’m not cool enough to snapchat, but I cyber stalked many of the attendees on Instagram. Sure enough, they had large, engaged followings.

Communications is getting it’s face ripped off. The change is intense. The opportunity is intense.

This doesn’t mean that traditional media awareness and coverage is ineffective. You’ll rarely find a person who believes more in the power of print or long form video than I. But, it does mean that communications will become a priority for senior management teams.

In my opinion, Charlotte PR firms are pivoting and will continue to pivot. Don’t be fooled, this is a huge market because business owners, GMs and marketing directors need partners to help them navigate the new media world and find their authentic voice (sounds like cheesy marketing speak, but it’s true).

Here are the top Charlotte PR firms and consultants to watch.

Consultant: Gwen Poth (Gwen Poth Communications).

Branstorm
Leader: Colleen Brannan, Founder/President 
Key Clients: Levine Properties, Northeastern University Charlotte, ai Design Group, Charlotte Regional Partnership
Stats: <5 employees | Site

Carolina PR
Leader: Sig Huitt, Founder/President
Key Clients: Capstone Advancement Partners, Johnson & Whales University, Southeast Anesthesiology Consultants
Stats: 20 employees | LinkedIn | Site

Crown Communications
Leader: Kathryn Blanchard, President
Key Clients: Brixx Pizza, Coca-Cola Bottling Co, Bank of America, Reid’s
Stats: <10 employees | LinkedIn Site

Eaddy Perry & Associates, Inc.
Leader: Tonita Perry, Principal/PR Strategist 
Key Clients: Coca-Cola, Absolut Peach, ESPN, General Motors/Lincoln
Stats: <10 employees | LinkedIn | Site

Eric Mower & Associates
Leader: Matt Ferguson, Managing Partner
Key Clients: Ford, GE, Dixie
Stats: 250 employees (<25 in Charlotte) | LinkedIn | Site

FleishmanHillard Charlotte
Leader: Matt See, Senior VP of Social & Innovation
Key Clients: Udi’s, Citi, AT&T, Barnes & Noble
Stats: >2500 employees worldwide (<10 in Charlotte) | LinkedIn | Site

LGA
Leader: Judi Wax, Director of Public Relations
Key Clients: BB&T, Carolina Panthers, Novant Health
Stats: >50 employees | LinkedIn | Site

Pivot PR
Leader: Drew Porcello, President/CEO 
Key Clients: Wolfgang Puck Pizza Bar, The Bechtler, Le Meridien
Stats: <10 employees | LinkedIn | Site

Social Ape Marketing
Leader: April Smith, Founder and CEO
Key Clients: Rich and Bennett,  Queen City Brewers Festival, Kimbrell’s Furniture
Stats: <5 employees | LinkedIn | Site

Spark Strategic Ideas
Leader: Anne Marie Holder, Founder and CEO
Key Clients: Cabela’s, Smashburger, Dean & Deluca
Stats: 10 employees | LinkedIn | Site

Taylor
Leader: Ryan Mucatel, Managing Partner
Key Clients: Allstate, Mercedes-Benz, NASCAR
Stats: >200 employees worldwide | LinkedIn | Site

#thesavageway
Leaders: Torrie Savage & Paula Bartlett
Key Clients: OrthoCarolina, Tobacco Free Mecklenburg
Stats: <5 employees | LinkedIn | Site

Wray Ward
Leader: Heather Tamol, Director of Public Relations
Key Clients: Lowes, NASCAR Hall of Fame, Sunbrella
Stats: >50 employees | LinkedIn | Site

Yellow Duck Marketing
Leader: Julianne McCollum, Founder
Key Clients: The Vue, Woo Cosmetics, Tupelo Honey Cafe
Stats: <10 employees | LinkedIn | Site

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Ted Williams
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Publisher, golfer, dad and magician (seriously).