Auto industry upheaval over the past 25 years has meant significant change for the North American automotive supplier sector. In fact, only 12 companies (24 percent) named in the 1992 version of Automotive News’ Top 50 OEM Suppliers to North America list are still on the 2017 version.
Yet amidst all that turbulence and turmoil, Bianchi Public Relations, a company that helps keep auto suppliers’ names in the headlines, is still thriving after 25 years of auto industry ups and downs. And this week, the firm is celebrating its silver anniversary.
Bianchi said that although some of the tools and technologies of the PR business have changed since 1992, the agency’s role has not: helping good clients connect with their constituents by providing them with solid counsel, content, context and credibility.
A full-service business-to-business public relations agency with expertise in automotive suppliers and the professional service firms that support them, Bianchi PR started as a literal “one-man band” in a basement office in 1992. Since then, the Detroit area PR agency has grown to become recognized perennially as one of the top independent PR firms based in southeast Michigan.
Industry disruption and exciting times ahead
“As much as the environment for auto suppliers has changed in the past 25 years, there are even bigger changes ahead, driven by the disruption being caused by the trends of electrification of automobiles, self-driving technology and ride-hailing/ride-sharing growth,” said agency president James A. Bianchi, APR. “This disruption—which will see dramatic shifts in supplier strategies, increased competition and new tech entrants in the automotive space—make it more important than ever for suppliers to communicate with their customers, stakeholders, employees, suppliers and Wall Street.”
“Detroit is still the crossroads for the most exciting business in the world – the auto industry – and we are fortunate to have been able to live our passion for helping good companies in this industry tell their stories for so long,” Bianchi said. “And with all the new PR and social media tools and techniques now available to serve our clients, the next few years will be the most exciting time in our history.”
In an industry where relationships are key, Bianchi said clients see real value in the deep relationships and trust that the agency staff has cultivated with key local, regional, national and international media over the years.
“Relationships are paramount to our business,” Bianchi said. “And our strong relationships with clients, media colleagues, vendors and teammates have driven the firm’s success. Now, as we enter our 26th year in business, we thank all of those people for their loyalty and support.”
“While we grew in experience, skills and scope, our focus on generating positive results for a select group of clients has remained constant,” Bianchi said. “Our clients tell us that our sharp focus and senior-level service are key reasons they have partnered with us far beyond the industry average of three years—with some client relationship spanning 20 or more years.”
The same type of longevity and stability are also hallmarks of the Bianchi PR staff, where the account team members average more than 16 years each with the agency. For example, the firm’s vice president of account service, Jessica Muzik, recently celebrated her 21st anniversary with Bianchi PR, having joined the firm upon graduation from Wayne State University in Detroit.
Agency history highlights
When it was founded in 1992, the agency initially concentrated on media relations for automotive and heavy-truck suppliers. The firm now offers extensive experience in a wide range of traditional and digital PR and social media activities for the automotive, manufacturing, technology and professional service firm sectors.
A few of the Bianchi PR’s highlights over the past 25 years include:
- Long-term relationships that smash the industry averages—such as those with current clients Freudenberg-NOK (25 years) and Adient (the former Johnson Controls seating unit—21 years) and former client TRW Automotive (22 years);
- Developing a close working relationship with renowned San Francisco PR firm Landis Communications to serve Silicon Valley tech firms who are seeking to move into the automotive space;
- Expanding its worldwide capabilities and reach through active participation in the Public Relations Global Network, which spans more than 50 major markets around the world to give clients senior-level, local expertise wherever they need it;
- Pioneering of the proprietary SMaASH (Social Media and Automotive Supplier Habits) study, the first of its kind, which showed how North American automotive OEM suppliers were using social media;
- Partnering in 2015 with Stevens Strategic Communications and other PRGN partners to help Domino’s Pizza launch its revolutionary DXP delivery vehicle with a national news conference, generating more than 1 billion media impressions; and
- Launching the unique Detroit-focused SMUPS (Social Media Use by Professional Services) study, which reviewed how 25 top Detroit-area law, accounting, staffing, architectural and engineering firms use social media.
Blue Chip Clients
Bianchi PR’s current clients include some of the world’s leading manufacturers, such as Adient, BASF, Cooper Standard, Freudenberg-NOK Sealing Technologies, Schaeffler Group, SRG Global and Yanfeng Automotive Interiors, as well as Detroit-based firms such as ATA National Title and KIRCO/KIRCO MANIX.
The firm has also worked with:
- Organizations such as the Automotive Industry Action Group, the Center for Automotive Research, SAE International, the Motor Vehicle Lighting Council, the Steel Market Development Institute and Marketing & Sales Executives of Detroit;
- Global auto suppliers such as Johnson Controls Power Solutions, TRW, PPG, Pittsburgh Glass Works and 3M;
- Truck industry suppliers such as Accuride Corp., Fruehauf Trailer and Meritor;
- Technology specialists such as FRIMO, Munro & Associates, NxtGen Emission Control and Ricardo; and
- Professional service firms in the law, consulting, engineering, market research and forecasting sectors, such as Brooks Kushman, APX international, Providata and LMC Automotive.
To thanks its clients and celebrate some of its most notable PR efforts over the past 25 years, Bianchi PR has been running a biweekly series of Top 25 PR projects in the PR agency’s blog.