Baerlein & Partners commenced operation in March of 2017. Our collective success would be measured through collaboration between our partners and, most of all, the business results for our clients. To our great satisfaction, our new beginning was a resounding success and proof to us that clients want the full suite of services — but also want senior, experienced people doing their work. The top-down model in professional services had undergone radical change as clients demanded senior level expertise and judgment on their critical issues and business problems.
What became clear to us was the necessity and value of combining traditional communication services with the growing use of technology — everything from best practices in digital marketing and video content to analytics. A constant being the value of research and the ability to develop and execute the strategy based on data.
The client examples in year one fit the above profile — a startup financial services company that needed quantitative and qualitative research, brand discovery and development; a website that had premium features for mobile devices, and a planned communications rollout on the new company.
This financial services company work involved the collaboration of Eran Lobel (brand discovery and video content), Jon Karush (website development and digital strategy), and Joe Baerlein (lead strategist, communications planning and execution, and primary client contact).
A major higher education institution needed survey research, both quantitative and qualitative, an analysis of its alumni willingness to support the university, a communications plan to target key opinion leaders, a video content strategy, and a better understanding of Google analytics. This assignment involved Eran Lobel (video content and analytics), John Marttila (survey research), Rosemary Petta (media planning and buying), and Joe Baerlein (lead strategist and primary client contact).
A trade association with a potential in-house whistleblower brought the potential negative media exposure and regulatory review of tax compliance. In order to minimize the threat, both the legal analysis undertaken by the outside law firm and the crisis communications plan drafted by Joe Baerlein anticipated likely questions from the media. We worked closely to plan for the worst-case scenarios. Like many crisis assignments we have dealt with, this story never reached the media, almost always the best outcome. But we covered all the bases just in case.
Our new agency team brought another dimension to this crisis matter. Given the whistleblower threat from an existing employee, one key element was Joe Baerlein’s recommendation to the clients that they employ Ed Davis (security planning, corporate investigations) and his team to profile the potential workplace violence threat of this whistleblower.
His outside experts came back with information indicating a threat of possible violence based on an FBI profile test they did on the potential whistleblower. That critical information significantly changed the process and logistics of the termination of the potential whistleblower and greatly lessened the threat of workplace violence.
Other assignments brought us closer to the world of public policy and politics. Joe Baerlein was hired by Georgetown University, which was leading the higher education effort to advocate for permanent DACA (Deferred Action for Children Arrivals) changes in federal legislative laws, hired Baerlein & Partners in the Fall of 2017.
Working closely with John Marttila (survey research), Baerlein Partners undertook a national survey that measured voter attitudes on DACA and developed the message narrative for university presidents. In the development of the DACA coalition of higher education, immigration advocates, and religious leaders, Joe again brought agency partner, The Edward Davis Company, into this assignment with the goal of educating and mobilizing major city police chiefs to support a permanent fix for DACA.
While there were other, varied client assignments to highlight over the first year, this overview offers a flavor of this new agency model and our collective success.