Diane Weiser: Guiding small firm to big finish

At the beginning of May, WeissComm Partners cracked the top 50 — number 43 — of PR Week’s annual nationwide Agency Rankings of independent public relations firms.

In just six years, WeissComm Partners, a public relations firm specializing in biotechnology, pharmaceutical, medical device and diagnostic equipment, has grown from a single proprietorship to a company with 50 employees and offices in five major cities. WeissComm grew its revenue to $7.3 million in 2006 from $5.8 million in 2005, and is on track for $10.5 million in 2007.

“Ultimately we’re helping people make important health decisions and it feels good,” said Diane Weiser, 42, chief operating officer of WeissComm Partners.

Weiser, who joined WeissComm three years ago, has more than 20 years of experience in health care communications.

According to Weiser, WeissComm expects steady growth in the foreseeable future. 2008 projections call for $12.5 million in revenue and 65employees; within three to five years, WeissComm is aiming for $20 million in revenue, 100-200 employees, a spot in PR Weeks Top 10 or 20 independent public relations firms’ annual nationwide Agency Rankings, and a global presence.

Yet Weiser cautions that the growth must be managed: The commitment, she says, must be to hiring excellent employees. “[Our success] is interconnected to the talent we bring on,” Weiser said. “Great people attract great business opportunities.”

Although WeissComm focuses solely on health care, it addresses all types of client needs, from investor relations to corporate communications, and places senior consultants with a minimum of seven to 10 years of experience in the daily management of all projects.

“What that really enables is an ability to work with all stages of a corporation and product,” said Weiser. When a company is just beginning to organize, WeissComm might manage its investor relations. Once the company has created a product, WeissComm might manage its clinical trials publicity and recruitment. Eventually, WeissComm might manage advocacy relations and product communications.

Weiser said that by limiting its scope, WeissComm Partners increases its recruitment and retention.

WeissComm Partners clients include 3M Worldwide, Genentech, Medtronic, Pfizer and Washington Hospital Heatlhcare System, among others.

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