By Jon Davis
On 34th Street and Fifth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan sits one of the world’s most famous buildings – the Empire State Building. When you look up at it from across the street, you can’t help think of the past and how it was built in the 1930s for a different type of industry.
But today, most developers and commercial real estate agents would describe the Empire State Building as outdated. Developers can build more energy efficient glass buildings faster and for less money, while commercial realtors will tell you its design and floor layout are not compatible with New York’s fast-growing start-up space.
That outdated business theory is no more evident than across the street from the Empire State Building where a minuscule (by comparison) 8-floor office building – called WeWork – is helping smaller businesses compete with industry giants.
One company inside that office building is the public relations firm, Macias PR, which Finance Monthly named the 2016 “Financial PR Firm of the Year – USA” and 2015 “PR Consultant Firm of the Year – USA.” In their profile story on Macias PR, Finance Monthly wrote “there is one public relations firm in New York that is completely revolutionizing the world of financial PR.”
The founder of the firm, Mark Macias, credits the more nimble, entrepreneurial office environment with helping his PR firm compete with industry giants, like Edelman PR.
The Changing Face of Public Relations
Edelman PR was founded in 1952 by former journalist, Daniel Edelman who many believe single-handedly invented the public relations industry. When Edelman opened his first office in Chicago, few people knew what public relations was, but today, it is the world’s largest, and likely most famous, public relations firm. Last year, Edelman PR brought in more than $855 million, according to PR Week.
But many healthcare and health tech companies say Edelman is outdated with its bloated system of 800 employees. Edelman employees say the firm is political, competitive and ripe with employee back-biting. As one former employee said, “it’s full of bureaucracy and red tape that makes you feel like you’re working for the government. People don’t work together. They’re stabbing each other in the back in hopes that your project fails so they will look better.”
Macias won’t predict the fall of Edelman PR in the near future because he says it is too big to fail overnight, but he does believe the global PR giant will begin shrinking as more healthcare, tech and consumer clients turn to smaller PR firms, like Macias PR. Macias says in the last year, two health tech clients and a financial client left giant PR firms with famous names for Macias PR.
“It’s no different with government or any other bloated organizations. The bigger a company or government gets, the harder it is to navigate and communicate,” said Macias. “When I was a producer for NBC in Miami, it was easy to navigate that newsroom. Story approval happened quickly, but in New York, everything was different. Even when I was the Executive Producer with NBC in New York, it was hard to streamline the communications channels or editorial selection process. When it’s one person against a system, the system usually prevails.”