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Twenty Years (actually 22) with Blattel Communications: Traci Stuart

How did you come to Blattel Communications?

If the title of this post doesn’t date me, this response will! I actually found the opening at Blattel Communications in a “help wanted” ad in the print edition of the San Francisco Chronicle. For several years, I had been handling food and beverage and sports and leisure PR accounts on behalf two different agencies, in both Southern and Northern California, when my primary client was gobbled up in a leveraged buyout. In the aftermath, the acquiring company severed its unit’s agency contract, and I found myself working with real estate and financial services clients. When I connected with Ellen about Blattel Communications’ (then, Blattel/Associates’) needs, she assured me that working with lawyers would be a natural extension of the skills I was using on behalf of developers, construction companies and banks. She was right. It was a great fit.

I found I really enjoyed the challenge of working with issues (rather than products) and highly educated, dedicated professional service providers even more than the consumer brands that had been my staples. The dynamic and highly targeted nature of servicing business-to-business (B2B) clients beat the mass-mailed, seasonal and trade show-intensive work that consumed my days with business-to-consumer (B2C) accounts. (Yes, I said “mailed.” That was how a press release or pitch was handled in the early ‘90s – until the total innovation of the fax machine, that is.)

Beyond the clients, which I still love, the agency was and is a fantastic place to come to work every day. Ellen Blattel and the many outstanding folks who have come and gone (or come and stayed) over these past 22 years have made for a truly engaging and pleasurable workplace experience – even when we’re group-complaining about a challenge. I’ve got to think we’re doing something right if we can pull off all these long-time employee posts and count several Blattel Communications’ alums as clients and friends.

What makes Blattel Communications special?

We all love what we do and really care about delivering quality and value. When I chat with contemporaries, most of whom are blown away by the fact that I’ve had the “same job for 22 years” – it’s just not very Gen X of me – they invariably ask about getting bored. I work at an agency with constantly evolving and shifting clients, and I get to explore new and different issues trending in the media every single day, and I am incredibly fortunate to collaborate with quality people that I genuinely like and would hang out with anyway. There is just no getting bored – and if I do find myself even close, it’s a kick in the pants to find something new to throw myself into – whether an agency leadership idea, new business initiative or account service innovation. And the fact that we’re versatile and flexible enough to accommodate any and all new ideas means my work is never dull or limited. That’s special.

Where is Blattel Communications headed?

The changing nature of journalism/media is helping to shape our future. Content marketing, simultaneously condensing and expanding distribution channels, social media, hyper-local reporting and citizen journalists and demand for video, infographics and other visual “storytelling” methods are all helping to guide our energy and development. The evolution of professional services firms, whether they’re realizing the importance of consistent messaging and communication with their clients or separating the PR function out as distinct from other marketing and business development disciplines or taking a mature program to the next level and fully embracing marcom technology, drives our focus. We’ve got to continue to stay a few steps ahead. In addition and as we find outstanding team members who don’t think California is the place to be, we’re expanding our geographic footprint and reach while ensuring consistent high quality and the special culture we’ve created stay intact. We are headed for 25 more years…

Traci Stuart

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