President, AXIA Public Relations and Marketing
When executives at MPS Group decided the company needed an external PR agency, the initial impulse was to go with one of the big agencies with offices in multiple cities.
"Last spring, we thought it was time to put more of an effort towards PR and look towards a local resource that could make a difference for us in the hometown and in other markets like Washington DC," says Tyra Tutor, SVP of corporate development. "We thought about using large, national PR firms for awhile, but never really pulled the trigger."
But the Jacksonville, FL-based company had already been in contact with Jason Mudd, 29, proprietor of local firm AXIA Public Relations. Mudd had persisted in offering his services to the company, and eventually MPS decided to retain him.
About a year into the relationship, the result is a happy client. "I can't imagine that any firm ? large or small ? that could have gotten us as much coverage as he's gotten us," Tutor says. "They are a doing a service for us that you could never do with your internal staff, so it's hard to imagine we could be more successful."
Tutor praises Mudd's ability to delegate authority, but also says he's in touch with his clients on a constant basis.
For example, the company recently donated tickets to the local Jacksonville Jaguars game to the Red Cross to benefit hurricane victims. Mudd was personally responsible for getting the company slots on two television and four radio stations, talking about the donation.
"If we would stop using his firm, we'd lose all that coverage," Tutor says. "I don't know if we're his biggest client, but he makes us feel like we're the most important [client]."
While attending the University of Missouri for journalism, Mudd decided he'd rather be on the agenda side of the communications world than just reporting on it.
"I decided I was as much a businessman as a newspaper man," Mudd says. "PR is the best of both worlds."
After leaving school, he did some contract work for several agencies. During this time, he became confident that he could offer services above or beyond those supplied by the established agencies.
He started his own firm in 2002, creating Jason Mudd & Associates on a $50 budget and one shared phone/fax line.
"It was the time where I had to lay it on the line," Mudd says. To complicate matters, he and his wife were expecting a child. "We figured we had 9 months to succeed," he says, or else he would become a stay-at-home dad.
"The key thing was probably getting through that first year," Mudd says.
Since its launch, the agency has grown to ten staffers, and has provided marketing services to Modis, the American Cancer Society, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida, among others.
The agency is doing four times the revenue in 2005 than it did in 2004. Mudd says that he expects the growth to continue, predicting his 2005 revenue will double in 2006.