Porter Novelli Vet Launches PR Shop

John Howard spent most of the last decade recruiting tech clients to public relations shops Porter Novelli and the Weber Group. Now, he will use his business-development experience at his own venture, Strategic Technology & Business Communications PR.

The Ashland, Mass., shop will, as its name implies, focus on technology clients. Howard’s pitch will be similar to that of many startups: The agency is small enough to offer personal attention.

“Politics are intense [at the big shops]—it’s not always about getting results for your clients,” said Howard, 45, agency president.

Initial clients include High Tech Business Decisions, a biotech and electronic-manufacturing market-research firm in Moraga, Calif., and Market Ascent, a market-research firm in Columbus, Ohio. Howard said he will seek work from fashion, financial-services and retail clients.

The tech sector, while battered, still offers opportunities for innovative marketers, said Kris Washington, partner at Boston consultancy Psynchronous Communications. “Many b-to-b and b-to-c technology marketers are recognizing an even greater need to position themselves for today’s market than in the boom years of the past,” he said. “The technology-marketing resurgence we see taking shape is less about budgetary growth and more about innovative reach.”

Howard launched the shop after four years as an svp at Omnicom’s Porter Novelli, Boston. Before that, he co-founded the Emerging Trends Practice Group at the Weber Group in Cambridge, Mass.

He is joined by Bob Scheier, a journalist; Peter Golden, who ran his own marketing-services shop in Natick, Mass.; and Jerry Polselli, a former trucking exec with management and operations experience.