Norman creates, manages and implements long-range integrated strategic communications programs tied to clients' business goals and helps emerging clients to jump-start their PR and social media programs. He counsels CEOs and senior management on national media and online strategies, including developing new corporate positioning, establishing communications plans to support sales force, business development, and VC communications.
Norman develops messages that repositioned companies to more effectively reach new customers and the media and that work has led to some of his industry awards. His work repositioning Corning as a tech powerhouse, not the manufacturer of Corningware cookware (a division the company had sold off five years earlier) led to a Bell Ringer from the Publicity Club of New England. He won a Silver Anvil from the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) for helping to relaunch distance education pioneer Mind Extension University (now Jones International University).
Strategic Approach = Strategic Media Coverage
Norman has generated coverage in national print, broadcast and online media, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Fortune, Time, Newsweek, Wired, CNN, CNBC, ABC "World News Tonight," MarketWatch.com, TheStreet.com and Bloomberg News. He also has secured coverage in leading trade publications such as InformationWeek, eWeek, EE Times, InfoWorld, Computerworld, Supermarket News, Cablevision, Advanced Manufacturer, The Manufacturer, and New York Jeweler. He has booked and staffed numerous consumer- and B2B-oriented media tours.
His experience and contacts with the national media is extensive, spanning Norman's career in public relations. Previously he worked at Brodeur Worldwide, a global technology agency, most recently as Vice President of National Media Relations, and at Ketchum Public Relations, one of the world's largest public relations agencies, where he worked in a similar capacity.
In fact, while at Brodeur, Norman identified a strategic opportunity: to develop a much-needed expertise in national media relations. He wrote the business plan for the National Media Relations team and grew it to 15 people working on 25 clients across four offices, generating more than $3 million in fees. Norman was responsible for the NMR Team's practice identity and reputation, for developing and evolving new client-focused products and services as well as staff-oriented processes and training for the 400-person firm.
Range of Industry Experience and Communications
He also has significant experience working with midsize companies, including Luxoft (raising its North American visibility), GilderGroup and Forbes Conference Group (launching a new jointly sponsored conference), Symbol Technologies (showcasing technologies beyond bar codes), Internet Security Systems (raising its visibility in the national media), ON Semiconductor (launching the Motorola spin-off).
His experience with working with entrepreneurial companies includes Sand Video (helping it generate visibility that lead to competitor Broadcom acquire it for $80 million), Color Kinetics (helping it be acquired by Philips), Q1 Labs (announcing a significant round and new CEO), Zebek (supporting the company until its acquisition), Oversight Systems, KVH, VistaScape, and others. Norman also has experience working with nonprofit organizations, from small (InterfaithFamily.com), midsize (Bridgestar) and large (Joslin Diabetes Center and M.I.T.)
He has managed strategic M&A communication plans for clients including Corning, Internet Security Systems, Novell, and Hyperion and implemented successful IPO programs for companies including FirePond and ON Semiconductor (ONNN). He has planned and executed issue-oriented programs for a range of clients, including the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Dental Association and Beef Industry Council.
He has spoken at conferences and guest-lectured on public relations. Norman has served on the board of directors of a small importing company.
Integrated Social Media
Norman's blog, PR & Social Media Back Talk, has been providing insights and attitude about PR, journalism, and social media for more than a decade. Norman's Twitter ID, @NormanBirnbach, has been named one of the Top 100 Twitter Users in Boston several times. TopPRAgencies has recognized Birnbach Communications in its monthly rankings of top social media agencies from 2013-2014 and Top50AdAgencies included the agency in its list of top PR agencies.
He contributes humorous articles to McSweeney's Internet Tendencies, Barnes & Noble's "Grin & Tonic," Splitsider, the Higgs Weldon, and other online humor sites.
His essay, "The Diploma That Life Confers," was published on the Op-Ed page of The New York Times the day he graduated from Oberlin College. His blog, PR BackTalk, provides insights and attitude about PR, journalism and the media. You can follow him on Twitter at NormanBirnbach.
Blending strategic thinking with hands-on program management and execution, Jennifer creates the results clients want. With over 14 years of experience in communications, she knows what makes the media tick, how to build a winning corporate or product story, and how to project an integrated and compelling image across key audiences including influencers, employees, investors, and customers.
Jennifer works with companies across the consumer, technology, healthcare, and distance learning industries, including Timberland, Luxoft, Joslin Diabetes Center, DiscoverUniversity, VistaScape and others with programs ranging from local and consumer media outreach, to positioning and message development, brand promotion and jump-start marketing. A recent program with software provider VistaScape and Logan International Airport resulted in coverage in over 20 local and national media outlets including The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald, WCVB, WFXT, Fox National, Business Week, USA Today, AP, UPI and others.
Jennifer has also provided PR counsel to nonprofit organizations including the Young Entrepreneurs Alliance, Wayside Youth and Family Support Network and the Sherborn Historical Society.
Previously, Jennifer was Vice President at Brodeur Worldwide where she headed global accounts with Corning and IBM Software and also helped smaller companies like Brooktrout Software and WRQ gain traction in a crowded marketplace.
Her work with Corning Incorporated focused on reinventing their image from a consumer goods company to a technology leader. Program accomplishments included: a 60% increase in national business coverage across key outlets like Fortune, Forbes, Business Week, CNBC, Financial Times, New York Times, Fast Company, USA Today and others; launching new branding and corporate advertising programs; providing strategy and program execution for over $10B in acquisitions; introducing a new CEO; and helping the company celebrate its 150th anniversary on a national and community level. This image-changing work was recognized with a Bell Ringer Award from the Publicity Club of New England in 2001 in the Organizational Identity Campaign category. Perhaps most importantly, despite recent tough market conditions, Jennifer and her team helped Corning maintain its new image rooted in stable leadership, world-class innovation and business credibility.
For clients like IBM Software, Brooktrout, and FirePond, Jennifer developed a deep understanding of the software arena - who the players are at any given time (competitors, partners and influencers), what makes the industry tick in terms of trends and shifts, and what elements create a credible and unique story in the software and e-business spaces. She has strong application experience in workflow automation, supply chain management, business intelligence and CRM. Other areas of expertise include data management, transaction processing, security, networking and optical technologies. She is experienced in working with vertical industry influencers and customer/partner programs. Jennifer has determined the current power level of client's image/product offerings with the analyst community, pinpointed where they want and need to take the company next with this audience, and helped them devise and implement strategies and tactics to increase and sustain a stronger presence. Combining good old fashioned care and feeding of analyst relationships with an eye to uncovering and nurturing win-win opportunities, she has worked closely with clients help move the needle.
On IBM, Jennifer and her team were instrumental in moving the persona of IBM Software from a quiet, "glass house" player to an aggressive e-business leader. Through extensive work with trade media, analyst and business partner communities around the globe, coverage consistently portrayed IBM Software and its products favorably vs. tough rivals like Microsoft and Oracle, and Lou Gerstner was dubbed Software Executive of the Year by Software Magazine.
In addition to her client work at Brodeur, Jennifer was also involved in many agency initiatives including developing and hosting client service training sessions, spearheading the agency's first account quality assurance program, and providing employee and financial management skills coaching.
Prior to Brodeur, Jennifer did PR for Kendall Square Research where her work focused on crisis management with the media and investor communities. She started in communications at Digital Equipment Corporation where her PR programs gained unprecedented coverage for several of the company's vertical industry units including Chemical, Oil & Gas and Pharmaceutical.
Jennifer graduated summa cum laude from Boston College, and is a Board member of the Women's Advisory Committee of the Boston Chamber of Commerce. She has also been a guest lecturer for PR and IR classes at Boston University.
Her trade analyst relations program called, “The Wild Wild West” was converted into a successful financial analyst program for U S West (now Qwest). She subsequently developed a Financial and Trade Analyst Day in Boston for US WEST, which attracted dozens of sell and buy side investment community attendees as well as trade analysts in supply chain logistics.
Cheryl has deep experience in the business-to-business area in technologies spanning industries and countries, including multinational corporations (GE Plastics); smart cards (The Global Chipcard Association); wireless banking & financial transactions (724 Solutions); to interactive TV (Commerce TV, Liberate); insurance (ISI/CGI) and telecommunications (AT&T Broadband, USWEST, Tundo, Interactive Enterprise, Edge2Net). Her healthcare experience includes working for Phase Forward before their IPO.
A former Reviews Editor at PC Week, Steve spent seven years at Brodeur Worldwide, most recently as Director of its Product Reviews team, developing an industry-leading product reviews and awards practice. He provides the best possible service for product-oriented technology clients by combining access to his contacts at such publications as eWeek, InfoWorld, PC Magazine, Network Computing, and CRN with his insider's knowledge of what it takes to garner win reviews.
Steve's clients at Brodeur included IBM Software, IBM Personal Systems Group, Internet Security Systems, Novell, Phillips Electronics, BioLink, Eastman Software, and WRQ. For IBM Software, Steve's helped launch IBM's VisualAge brand (VisualAge C++, VisualAge Cobol, and VisualAge Smalltalk) by generating positive product reviews. He also supported the release of VisualAge Java and WebSphere tools.
Previously, as Reviews Editor at PC Week, Steve developed lasting relationships with many reviewers who are now key industry influencers.
Before PC Week, he spent three years at a consumer software start-up, where Steve's responsibilities included nearly all phases of operations: distribution, marketing communications, product design, technical support, manufacturing, and PR. In addition, Steve has worked for Soft-letter examining the software distribution channel and as a general assignment reporter and photographer.
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