Q&A with Tom Coyne, CEO, Coyne PR

Tell us a little bit about your company.

Founded in 1991, Coyne PR has grown to become one of the top independent public relations firms in the United States. Recognized throughout the industry as “The Best Place to Work,” more than 150 talented minds now call Coyne PR – HOME. We have wildly creative offices in New York and New Jersey and colleagues in 115 cities, 49 countries, and six continents through our partnership with The Worldcom Public Relations Group. Our clients include many of the world’s most respected companies and those that want to be. We help these clients develop integrated strategies across all paid, earned, shared and owned platforms with the help of our full-service digital production studio. Our approach has grown over three decades of creativity, strategy, and service; and distinguished by more than 1,000 industry awards, including Midsize Agency of the Year, Consumer Agency of the Year, Creative Agency of the Year, North American Creative Agency of the Year and 2021 Best Agency to Work For.

What services you provide to your clients?

We offer a range of services to provide clients with the integrated communications solutions they need to influence brand and consumer relationships. These multi-platform solutions drive visibility, engagement and growth for many of the world’s most trusted brands. Services include deep experience in public relations, a dedicated social media practice, an award-winning digital marketing group and an expert advertising team. In addition, senior industry experts lead our practices with years of experience with significant brand campaigns across business categories.

What is your agency’s philosophy and mission statement?

Our philosophy is best reflected by the agency’s mission statement: “Our mission is not to be the best agency in America, but the best one to work for. If we are the best place to work, we will get the best people. If we have the best people, we will get the best clients. If we have the best people and clients, how can we not be the best agency in America?”

Traditional philosophy dictates that the best employees seek out agencies with the best clients; however, Coyne PR’s philosophy is counterculture: attract the best people, then the best clients will seek us out. By creating the best possible work environment for all employees, the agency produces the best possible results for clients and becomes a trusted resource for media. Coyne PR believes it is harder to find good people than good business; therefore, we hire good people regardless of account or agency needs.

Please share more about your agency’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

Coyne PR is committed to fostering an inclusive environment where individual differences are understood, respected and appreciated, recognized as a source of strength for the agency and valued as qualities that enrich the environment in which we work. Diversity is a strategic imperative that is core to our business and our culture, and we actively seek to reflect the diverse world in which we live.  While the diversity of our employee base currently exceeds industry averages, we continue to strive to create an inclusive and welcoming culture where individuals feel comfortable and empowered to be themselves. Our DE&I Council was created with the objective of fostering innovative actions that create and support a strong DE&I workplace. Employees set the agenda and spearhead initiatives to enhance the workplace experience and ensure that everyone, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation and physical ability, feels welcome and included at all times and sees a tangible path for career growth. Most recently, our committee has led efforts to educate and support many vital issues, including Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and Pride Month.

How were you and your staff able to overcome the challenges brought on by the pandemic?

Amid all the fear and uncertainty of the last 12 months, Coyne PR remained committed to our people and our clients. Senior leadership made it their promise not to lay off or furlough a single employee. We made it clear that salaries and valuable medical benefits would remain intact and that the health and safety of the extended Coyne PR family would always come first. Team members stepped up to contribute their unique talents, including:

o   The head of our IT department, a former chef, has improved our culinary skills through weekly virtual cooking demonstrations called Don’t Get Crazy: Cooking with Computer Mark.

o   EVP Jennifer Kamienski has emceed weekly Storytelling with Jenn sessions, where Coyne employees have recounted personal stories of heartbreak, career triumphs (and disasters), and lessons learned from our grandparents

o   Mediation with Meg led by Social Media Strategist, Megan Schuster, who showed us how to focus our senses inward through guided meditation sessions

o   Nutrition Rules! Bootcamp taught us to establish a healthy routine at home.

o   The #CoynePelotonCrew shared rides and encourages each other to keep going

o   Weekly Wisdom/Business as Unusual – a newsletter turned virtual talk show highlighting the ways we have pivoted and created successful events, campaigns and programs for clients during COVID-19

How did you shift your PR efforts to accommodate for the virtual world?

Since the worldwide COVID-19 shutdown, our agency has been leading the industry forward by developing cutting-edge innovations to continue to communicate on behalf of our clients seamlessly. In short order, we took our entire company and clients’ communication to the virtual world. Events, deskside meetings, premieres, releases, celebrations, product launches and sampling opportunities all changed to accommodate the quarantine brought on by the global pandemic. From there began the innovation, it was a collective innovation that came from every corner of the agency. As a result, the agency has helped clients revise communications plans, develop proactive initiatives, build full-scale launch campaigns and bounce back strategies. 

Has the pandemic had an impact on how you view work moving forward?

We have found many new ways to do our job at Coyne. From remote working to virtual events for clients, we discovered that our unique culture is not in the walls of our offices but the hearts and minds of our more than 150 person team. We look forward to evolving our best-in-class hybrid work approach called, “Work Your Way,” which is not written in pen, but always in pencil, to leave room for improvements that change with the needs of those who work at the firm to make Coyne great. We also learned that we must continue to provide clients with innovative solutions to reach their audiences at home, work and beyond.    

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