St. Paul agency known nationally for PR work in food, education, CSR celebrates 25th anniversary with new awards, account wins, talent and website.
St. Paul, Minn. (June 28, 2017) – When Kohnstamm Communications started out, PR still lived in the shadow of advertising. Today, there isn’t a CEO who would launch a new product or create a community initiative without making PR the primary line of attack. Public relations has become so critical with fast growth companies that Kohnstamm has repeatedly worked its way out of a job — when the PR becomes so good it consistently over-delivers, it attracts large investors who then send the firm packing. This pattern happened with Happy Baby, Honest Tea, Icelandic Glacial, Kettle Cuisine, Noosa and many others of the more than 80 food company brands the St. Paul-based agency has launched over its history.
“I consider it a badge of honor — and I hope it happens more,” said Founder and CEO Josh Kohnstamm, who said the agency was fortunate to get in on the ground floor of the organic and natural food movement when so many fellow agencies were staking their claim on tech. “PR is all about building momentum and value, so when brands are sold for high multiple values, we view that as a validation of our craft.” While most of Kohnstamm’s food clients are not based in Minnesota, the agency is also actively involved in the Grow North Minnesota food scene, which continues to gain traction among local entrepreneurial food start-ups.
However, PR at Kohnstamm goes well beyond food. When the agency first started working with The Carlson School, then led by Dean David Kidwell, it was ranked 44th by U.S. News & World Report. Ten years and a score of media tours later, thanks to Kohnstamm, the Carlson School was in the news nearly every day, was seen as nationally competitive, and its all-important rankings broke into the top 25 for the first time — exactly what the school’s namesake, Curt Carlson, had mandated.
The agency’s newly launched website celebrates 25+ years of work with more than 100 case studies chronicling programs ranging from legacy clients such as Magnetic Poetry, Traveler’s Insurance, MOM Brands, to current clients such as Red Wing Shoes and Beech-Nut.
Kohnstamm Communications has won countless honors, including Boutique Agency of the Year. Last month, the agency earned a national PRSA Bronze Anvil Award for best word-of-mouth campaign for its innovative work with Amsterdam, NY-based baby food manufacturer Beech-Nut. In 2016, Kohnstamm created and launched a Mom Ambassador program in 22 cities that has enlivened the brand and its new organic and natural lines through local events and “Mom-versations.” Locally this spring, the agency was honored for best media relations at the Minnesota PRSA Classics Awards for an Angie’s BOOMCHICKAPOP campaign.
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The full client roster, practice areas, team bios and agency culture are showcased on the newly redesigned site at Kohnstamm.com.
In its B2B practice area, lead by Vice President Aaron Berstler, the team recently began supporting Red Wing Shoe Company for its corporate communication needs, building on its work for the brand’s global and domestic industrial businesses. Along with leveraging Kohnstamm’s corporate brand building and executive thought leadership expertise, this partnership expands the agency’s capabilities in the manufacturing sector. Also on the B2B side, Kohnstamm continues to strengthen its longstanding expertise in the healthcare, professional services and food safety and processing areas through clients such as 3M Food Safety and Universal Pasteurization Company.
In the consumer practice area, the agency expanded its natural foods repertoire with two new wins in June – Lily’s Sweets, maker of Stevia-sweetened chocolate with non-GMO ingredients and Fair Trade and gluten-free certification, and Misha Dairy, which aims to introduce the creamy, protein packed dairy snack quark to the U.S. market. Headed by Vice President Alan Newbold, the consumer practice also continues to grow its mom and baby product expertise, and is in year two of its consumer advocacy work with Beech-Nut.
The expansion of Kohnstamm’s client roster has brought new blood to the agency to help continue crafting award-winning PR campaigns. In January, the Consumer practice signed on media relations pro Reina Porritt as Account Supervisor, and social media specialist Alyssa Putzer as Account Executive. In February, Luke Gillespie joined the Business practice as Account Director, bringing global and technology programming expertise to the firm, followed by the addition of Michelle Peterson as Account Executive in May.