John Raffetto and David Herman co-founded RH Strategic and have been making investments in talent and services over the years to position the firm for growth. We talked to them about the strategic objectives behind the acquisition of MIX Public Relations, a firm specializing in B2B technology PR.
What drove the MIX PR acquisition?
We have been seeing increasing demand for communication services across all our markets. When we became familiar with MIX, their staff, and their expertise, it seemed like a perfect fit. We’re adding a talented team of PR pros with deep expertise in B2B tech PR to our roster, as well as a number of clients that are innovating in markets like cybersecurity and data privacy, wireless charging, and fintech. In Hally Wax and Matthew Mors we are expanding our leadership team with two professionals who each have 10 years of experience running an agency. Bottom line, the MIX acquisition is about scaling our talent and adding more thought partners without compromising our focus on being exceptional. The business cycle is strong, and we want to lean into it.
What services does RH Strategic offer and how will they change because of the acquisition?
We’re a full service public relations and public affairs shop with a heavy dose of strategic consulting due to our market expertise. The MIX team adds even more firepower in media relations and content. Going forward, we see growing demand for strategic consulting, content, digital PR and analytics. We’re always going to be investing in service evolution to give our clients the edge.
What’s the origin story of RH?
We began working together in another firm in DC at the height of the dot-com boom. We learned a lot from working with big companies with big budgets and startups with somehow even bigger budgets. We lived through the bubble burst and designed new models for supporting our clients, with emphasis on strategic consulting and on managing clients communications as extensions of their in-house teams. We opened RH Strategic for business in Seattle and DC in 2008, which happened to be the start of the Great Recession, although they don’t tell you that until a year in. We’re still the same firm at our core, but we have grown organically and now through investment.
How do you differentiate RH Strategic from other firms?
Our brand is dedicated to the innovators — those who see a better way, a better future, and are building it. It’s why we don’t do food or travel or movies. Tech is the obvious segment for transformation, but we are also seeing significant transformation in healthcare and government. We know these markets as well as our clients. So our differentiation is the years of experience we have introducing innovators in these markets to the world, so they get their shot at reshaping it.
Another point of differentiation is our private sector and public sector focus. The increasing role of government as customer, regulator and influencer can no longer be ignored. It takes a specialized understanding of this dynamic to pull the right levers and find growth through PR and public affairs. The new DC office we opened in the Washington Post building at the start of the year is representative of that importance.
What is in the future for the agency?
Growth. Everyone here has a growth mindset. Growth is more fun. Growth doesn’t come without exceptional talent, and so we are investing heavily in attracting more of the best to unlock our full potential. We are growing our space, our geographic footprint, and our expertise.
Are there other acquisitions planned in the future?
We have an investment and growth mindset, so we will always have an eye toward opportunities that help us expand talent, add geographies or grow our service mix. We’re always making connections and building our network. We’ll invest again when we see an opportunity to strengthen the value we can bring to clients.
RH Strategic is a Seattle and D.C.-based communications firm with a nationwide presence and additional global reach via membership in the Worldcom Public Relations Group. We provide strategic public relations for innovators in the technology, government and healthcare markets.