Tony Cashman
Tony Cashman

For anyone in PR, continuing to thrive after 30 years or more is a pretty substantial victory. For CashmanKatz (CK), we credit our success to six key beliefs.

1) Methodical growth beats explosive growth.

2) Expanding our turf protects our turf.

3) Our purpose is bigger than our company.

4) Client quality is more valuable than quantity.

5) The most important part of public relations is the relations.

6) PR is strategic brand leadership.


Though the industry has been on a roller coaster, CK’s growth, while impressive, has been a little less exhilarating by comparison. Slow and steady. Our history is one of methodical, organic growth. Tony Cashman and Ed Katz began the agency as solely a media buyer. A year later, we added creative and advertising strategy in response to client needs. A few years later, we added public relations. Then, over the next ten to 15 years, CK continued to create what clients and the market demanded adding research, then branding, then government affairs, then digital services, then video production, then social media. Slow and steady.

When organic growth needed a jump start, CK acquired small agencies from the area (Durham Group and Dsign Digital). New leadership came from within with the appointment of two long-time staffers, Amanda Mueller and Eric Cavoli to agency partner. Keeping it in the family. All along, CK has avoided the kind of drastic moves that result in the lowest of lows just as often as the highest of highs. As a result, the company has grown substantially over time, without business-threatening drop-offs or culture-shattering changes. Slow and steady.

CashmanKatz’s partners: (from left) Eric Cavoli, SVP, creative director; Amanda Mueller, SVP, client services; and President and CEO Tony Cashman
CashmanKatz’s partners: (from left) Eric Cavoli, SVP, creative director; Amanda Mueller, SVP, client services; and President and CEO Tony Cashman.


In modern-day PR, lines are blurred. PR agencies now compete with ad agencies, digital agencies, social agencies and hordes of hired guns. How many of us have received an RFP for PR services only to find it to be a more traditional advertising ask? Or, vice-versa. CK was never one to quietly play defense. The agency has constantly been on the offensive, acquiring new communications territory and ever-expanding our services and capabilities.

The CK of today reinforces our PR practice with branding, advertising, research, social media, digital, even video production in-house. In fact, some of our largest PR clients started as video or advertising projects. Expanding our turf has proven the best way to protect it. It not only creates new avenues for growth, it enhances our PR work. A full creative department ideating unexpected PR tactics. Media buyers leveraging paid schedules for coverage. Social media teams sparking brand conversations. Video production creating content on the spot, right down the hall.


Our culture has evolved to become much more flexible and employee-centric. Today’s workforce increasingly tips the scales of the work-life balance to livin’. Adapting to new ways of working and new attitudes about work is key to getting and keeping good people. And keeping spirits high.

Employees demand a purpose far more personal and meaningful than even their own company. An undeniable mission. Something bigger than the organization. CK continues to evolve its culture around diversity, equality and living a life of purpose. We recently changed our mission, eschewing traditional business goalposts, instead focusing on “achieving our full potential as humans while helping those around us do the same.” That’s something everyone can get passionate about.


While early client wins were mostly local businesses, CK has grown substantially by winning assignments from ever larger and more prominent brands. While the physical size of the agency has remained relatively unchanged, revenue has increased dramatically. Getting coverage for a local restaurant can be just as labor intensive as promoting a BIC lighter to the world. But one certainly pays better. We’ve grown by being more selective and purposefully pursuing the kind of clients that are more rewarding to work with.

While CK started out working with local retail establishments, our client history now includes two of the largest casinos in the world in Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods. BIC, the largest producer of disposable lighters and a leader in pens and shavers. ASSA ABLOY, the largest door opening systems provider. Mylanta, the leading liquid antacid in the country. Fortune 500 financial leaders like MassMutual and Lincoln Financial. CK even led PR efforts for the New England Patriots to pave the way for their move to Hartford in the late 1990s. Of course, all the positive press in the world wasn’t going to make that happen.


CK’s newly minted mantra is we help people help brands be great. It’s an acknowledgment that personal relationships produce the best results. So no matter how things have changed in 30 years, the most important part of public relations remains the relations. We get as much joy from seeing our clients succeed as people, as we do seeing their brands succeed. It’s also a much more enjoyable way to make communications. Together.


The past three decades have changed the PR world dramatically. Traditional newsrooms continue to cede territory to the digital world. Firms pitch influencers as fervently as networks. Every consumer has a voice that can actually be heard, good or bad. Being “cancelled” is a realistic threat. Media credibility is being called into question. And content is so loud and relentless that your brand’s voice struggles to be heard.

These challenges aren’t bringing down PR, but rather elevating its station. The key is realizing that public relations is more than media relations. It is more than its tactics. It is wholistic and integrated with every other marketing discipline. It is strategic brand leadership in a world of constant challenges to reputation and heavy demands on brands to be relevant, responsible and evolved. It is the brand’s north star for how to act. It can be the compass that guides advertising, content and just about everything else. PR is a lead in our agency, not a sub-service. We’re betting it will be for the next 30 years, too.


Tony Cashman is President & CEO of CashmanKatz.