By Tori Wittenbrock
GREEN BAY – First established in 1992, as Leonard and Finco Communications, Inc. with a strong focus on media relations, Leonard and Finco Public Relations, Inc., as it’s now known, was a joint effort by two former WBAY-TV coworkers – Charlie Leonard and Susan Finco, hence the name.
Finco took the reins as sole owner in 1998, when Leonard retired, and the firm began to blossom.
Today, she said the small but mighty team consists of public relation (PR) professionals that hold more than 100 years of combined experience in public and community relations, internal and external communications, marketing and the media, management, community engagement and outreach, as well as branding, reputation and crisis management.
Finco said the main focus of the firm is to tell a client’s story.
“Our mission is to provide clients with strategic PR and marketing expertise in an ethical manner by listening to their needs and generating creative ideas that achieve quality results,” she said.
Reminiscing about the past, looking toward the future
Finco said in celebration of Leonard and Finco’s 30th anniversary, the firm has taken to its social media platforms to share and memorialize its history.
“Through the years, we’ve had a number of different logos, so those have been fun to go through and see how design trends have changed,” she said. “We’re also reaching out to thank our clients – we wouldn’t be successful without them.”
Finco said the company has changed a lot over the years, with the biggest influence being the growth of social media and the Internet.
“You have to be more strategic than ever before to successfully convey messages to targeted customers, clients or stakeholders,” she said. “The multitude of communication channels/platforms can make that challenging, but that’s also where we can bring value to our customers, since this is something we do every single day.”
Expectations for quick responses, Finco said, have also been a change in the team’s approach. She said because of recent advancements in instant communication, immediate reactions are often required, and the firm does not have the luxury of taking multiple days to decide how to approach a problem.
“If a crisis hits, you have to be almost instantaneous in your response,” Finco said. “Quick and logical thinking is a required skill set.”
Yet another big change in the company’s history came in the mid-1990s.
Finco said the company changed their name from “Leonard and Finco Communications” to “Leonard and Finco Public Relations,” mainly because society began to change the meaning of the word “communications” to refer to phone, internet and television streaming services.
“When we started getting calls from people looking for wireless phone service, we knew it was time to change the name,” she said.
Casting a large net
What started as a local niche has quickly grown to be one of the state’s largest PR firms, representing global, national, regional and local clients in a variety of industries – ranging from large companies and corporations to nonprofit organizations and small businesses.
Finco said some of the firm’s biggest projects include the Lambeau Field referendum, as well as its groundbreaking, redevelopment and opening activities, the Resch Center and KI Convention Center, Cabella’s and Lodge Kohler openings, the De Pere bridge project, Fox River Cleanup Project, the formation of Central Brown County Water Authority and many others.
“We take great pride in having worked on some of the largest public projects that have taken place in Northeast Wisconsin,” she said. “Our team members love living in Northeast Wisconsin, and it’s always fun to be involved in projects that make improvements and a difference to our communities.”
Leonard and Finco has received a variety of recognitions and awards over the years.
The team, alongside the Green Bay Area and Howard-Suamico school districts, received a Public Relations Society of America WisCOMsin Award of Excellence for a collaborative news conference regarding pandemic safety.
The firm has received the Cornerstone Award from the Green Bay Chamber, as well as numerous PRemier Awards over the years.
Finco herself has received a variety of awards from the Rotary Club of Green Bay, including the Community Leadership Award and the Free Enterprise Award.
More information on Leonard and Finco Public Relations, Inc. can be found at lfpublicrelations.com.