Fire Crisis, Recovery & Reinvention

Project description

At approximately 6 a.m. on Sept. 10, 2012, the formerly named Mary Beth West Consulting, LLC (MBWC) – a strategic public relations and marketing communications firm that routinely advises clients on crisis preparedness and response – suffered a major crisis of its own when its office building in Maryville, Tenn., burned.

Thankfully, there were no injuries. Thanks to strong planning the company had conducted in advance for internal team and external client / business communications, as well as cloud-based IT systems and remote access for the MBWC team to continue work, business continuity resumed the next day.

Looking beyond the immediate aftermath and to its 2013 fiscal year, the firm focused on embracing a strong leadership stance alongside a “lemons-to-lemonade” strategy, with public relations taking the lead to rebrand the firm, position the recent crisis to spotlight MBWC’s expertise, and generate a heightened reputation for the firm in the areas of not only communications strategy but also overall business strategy. MBWC’s business goal was to poise the newly renamed / rebranded Mary Beth West Communications, LLC, for long-term recovery from the Sept. 10, 2012, fire event by achieving revenue growth of 25 percent in 2013 – three times the industry average (using 2012 statistics as a barometer, the national average for agency growth in 2012 was approximately eight percent).

MBWC met and exceeded its revenue goal between January 1-December 31, 2013, with 68 percent growth over 2012. This was more than twice the stated goal and more than eight times the national industry average for agency revenue growth in 2013. The firm grew from an employee base of five in Q4 2012 to 15 people as of December 31, 2013. In October 2013, the University of Tennessee College of Communication & Information named Mary Beth West its “Public Relations Alumnus of the Year,” the first time the College had ever bestowed the honor in the public relations program’s nearly 40-year history.

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