Tuesday, March 31, 2009

PR at JBoss

A little shout out to Chantal Yang who, along with Laura Kempke and Sarah Conway, was one of my main point people and the "professional" side of PR at JBoss.

For a little background, JBoss began a concerted effort at professional PR at the beginning of 2003, with what was a significant monthly retainer for us at the time. These three women worked for us, while at Schwartz Communications, where Laura Kempke has remained. Laura was the head person on our account for the duration of our contract and Sarah and, later, Chantal were our account managers. Chantal stayed with us until the end, even working for a year at RHT post-merger. Sarah and Chantal are now at Page One PR. I could not have worked at JBoss part-time and raised three children during my tenure there, without relying on the help of these three very capable women.

In this post, Chantal shares her opinion of what it was like working for us, and some of the factors that made PR a success at JBoss. She doesn't say it directly, but I'm sure she and her colleagues got plenty of "I can't believe you let them get away with saying that." The irony is we engaged Schwartz Communications based on one reference and one reference only--Miguel de Icaza and Ximian, which was getting a lot of publicity at the time (2002) for their OS project Mono, which Marc felt was completely irrelevant. Back then, you couldn't open a trade or business publication or read about an industry award without seeing Miguel's smiling face and an accompanying halo of flattering elogies--"diplomatic", "takes the high road," "Wants OS to succeed to help the third world," "Linux Savior"...and so on. We decided that we, too, wanted the "Miguel" PR treatment :)

It will take a PR genius to give to give you a product and a "voice" if you haven't got one, however, based on your project and community's maturity, the right PR team can do a lot towards analyzing and amplifying your message, and taking it to places you might otherwise not be able to reach.

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