Modern media savvy

Nedd/Detroit Public Relations expands market through technology

Cathy Nedd will get your company noticed. In six years, her firm, Nedd/Detroit Public Relations, has become one of the premier minority-owned public relations companies in Michigan.

The 11 professionals at Nedd/ Detroit, including writers, communications strategists, event planners and graphic designers, provide media services ranging from event planning to community relations to corporate identity development. With such clients as Home Box Office, Johnnie Cochran, Pepsi-Cola USA, 100 Black Men of Detroit and the Detroit Health Department, the company’s revenues last year were $750,000.

“People are very impressed with our ability to place things in the media,” says President Cathy Nedd, 38, who owned a word-processing company and handled public relations for the successful campaign of Mayor Dennis Archer of Detroit before starting Nedd/Detroit.

Nedd used the relationships she developed with newspapers, television and radio as Archer’s press secretary to increase the visibility of community organizations such as the Detroit Pre-College Engineering Program, which has been steering minority youth into engineering for 25 years.

“We were being told by one of the largest public relations firms that we could not get any press coverage because we’re a small nonprofit,” says Pre-College Engineering Program Executive Director Kenneth Hill, who talked to half a dozen firms before coming to Nedd/ Detroit. “We’ve placed just as many articles in 18 months with them as we had in the other 23 years we’ve been around.”

But in the beginning, Nedd wasn’t able to deliver these services with ease. “I definitely didn’t do it right,” says the self-described risk-taker who launched her firm with a computer bought for her by her stepfather and $5,000 of her own money for a desk and rented office space. “It is a very stressful way to start a business because you need cash flow.”

Nedd hustled to keep the money coming in because she didn’t have any reserve capital. “You might not pay bills on time because you are using [company revenues] for growth,” says Nedd. “It is just not the ideal situation to maintain the best credit.”

Nedd started her company with an eye toward being a community-based firm that corporations would come to for expertise in appealing to the minority market. But since last year’s implementation of a strategy to attract new customers, “we’ve been approached by everybody and we can do the work,” says Nedd. “So there is no reason to be pigeonholed.”

The plan involves making as many decision makers as possible aware of Nedd/Detroit. This includes sending out newsletters, letters of introduction and press kits. Next, Nedd/Detroit gleans information about opportunities from prospective clients. It then bids on projects and, if all goes well, signs contracts.

Nedd is expanding the company’s e-commerce client base while adding new services, such as Publicityonline.com, an interactive service where Nedd/Detroit professionals generate press coverage from information that a user has provided online. A name change is also in the works-the company will soon be known as Nedd/Worldwide-to reflect its changing focus on expanding globally via the Internet.

Nedd/Detroit Public Relations, 6533 E. Jefferson, Suite 801, Detroit, MI

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