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A creative force in real estate public relations.

Although the conference room at Quinn & Co.'s new digs on West 35th Street is called the "Dream Room," nobody in the eight-strong boutique public relations agency is sleeping these days.

According to principal Florence Quinn, "As a result of the booming real estate and hotel markets, everyone wants PR. We're writing between three and five new business proposals a month, we doubled our billings in 1998, and we will grow exponentially again in 1999!"

A highly-respected award-winning performer in real estate and travel public relations, Quinn & Co. consistently goes up against larger, multi-specialty competitors for key accounts and, more often than not, emerges the winner.

Quinn's current real estate client list is eclectic and impressive, including: The Sunshine Group, The Corcoran Group, Rockrose Development Corp., Rockwood Realty, Robert K. Futterman & Associates, Home Mortgage Acceptance Corp, The Chatham for The Related Companies, 15 East 69th Street for Chelsfield, Time Equities, Connecticut-based Collins Enterprises, M&T Bank and attorneys Zetlin & De Chiara.

On the travel side, Quinn represents Jalousie Hilton Resort & Spa in St. Lucia, Aruba Sonesta Resorts, The British Colonial Hilton in Nassau, The Envoy Club for RFR Davis, The Fitzpatrick Grand Central, Liberty Travel, GOGO Worldwide Vacations, The Park Central, and Danfords on the Sound. Last month, two more joined the Quinn roster: architects Fox & Fowle and Holiday Inn Wall Street.

The hallmark of the agency is creativity. "It's the ingenuity Quinn & Co. brings to its campaigns that keeps the clients coming, that gets the kind of ink to 'die for,' and that, quite simply, sets the firm apart from its competitors," Quinn said.

For example, the week of May 3rd was champagne popping time for one of Quinn's clients, The Envoy Club (New York's latest extended-stay hotel), when Business Week, Newsweek, and Crain's New York Business all wrote up the Club's "Suddenly Single" program on the same day! Quinn & Co. strategized that since guests at The Envoy Club need to stay a minimum of 30 days, and since the Club charges far less on a monthly basis than do luxury hotels, a separated and/or divorced guest who needs to beat a hasty retreat from the family home is a viable target audience. The imaginative "Suddenly Single" Program, devised by Quinn, positions The Envoy Club as a sympathetic heartbreak hotel offering distraught divorcees and/or separatees an aromatherapy candle, a copy of the bestseller "The Creative Divorce," a list of the top ten divorce attorneys in New York, sound machines for sleeplessness, self-help tapes, a list of therapists who specialize in relationships, and a session with a psychic.

Together with The Sunshine Group, Quinn & Co. developed the idea of the Concierge Mom to promote the luxury condominium at 279 Central Park West for The Related Companies. The building was selling to families, had an ideal Central Park location, and was receiving excellent media exposure. But to take the coverage to the next level, it needed a creative hook. A search for a Concierge Mom solved the problem. Suddenly new articles were flowing in, starting with a half-page feature in New York Magazine and calls from two TV news programs desperate to interview the "Mom" when hired. All in all, the project ended up in The New York Times twice; Liz Smith's syndicated column in the Post, Newsday and hundreds of other papers; Crain's New York Business, the New York Law Journal, Town & Country, Fox Television News, New York 1 TV News, several times in Real Estate Weekly and many times in a host of other trade publications.

Another creative Quinn concept that resulted in significant coverage, this time for Jalousie Hilton Resort & Spa, was "The Bush Doctor Can See You Now." After several months of research, the firm located a bonafide Bush Doctor, Daniel Cherubin, a spiritual healer on St. Lucia who dispenses hands-on healing as well as natural herbal medicine plucked from the island's lush rainforest. Quinn & Co. arranged for Jalousie guests to benefit from Daniel's new age remedies. Fortune, The New York Times, Travel & Leisure, and Newsday were among several mainstream publications that wrote up the imaginative story, and placements are still coming in from wire stories.

In today's world, with so many outlets for publicity - daily newspapers, magazines, newsletters, direct mail, e-mail, the Internet, television, and radio, to name a few it's all about image, positioning, timing, and imagination. Public relations has come into its own in recent years, because media exposure has a direct effect on business and profits. While delighted that PR has finally achieved a professional stance of importance and respect, Quinn & Co. is preparing to staff (and position) itself for the new millennium.

In December of 1998, Quinn & Co. moved to new offices in the Garment District at 237 West 35th Street, in space twice the size of its long-time home in the Flatiron District. In addition to the Bohemian purple-couched "Dream Room," where staff and clients congregate for brainstorming sessions, there is an "Infusion Bar" stocked with mood-enhancing herbal teas (as well as more powerful libations) to assist with the creative process. Not surprisingly, the Infusion Bar was an idea originally created for The Fitzpatrick Grand Central.

Florence Quinn launched Quinn & Co. in 1988 after seven years as a vice president at the now defunct PR agency Jessica Dee Communications. She made a corporate decision to grow the firm last year when the demand demanded. Several months age, Melanie Keenan, a long-time friend of Quinn's and former senior vice president at Howard J. Rubenstein Associates, - oft times a competitor of Quinn & Co. - joined the team as senior vice president.

"Melanie has always been savvy in real estate and has become just as skillful in travel," said Quinn. Earlier, Quinn took on David Platter and has since promoted him to vice president. Prior to joining Quinn, Platter had six years of experience as a marketing specialist with such prestigious firms as CB Commercial/Richard Ellis and Koll Real Estate Services.

"Dave has blossomed here because he has an incredible thirst for challenge. He sees both the forest and the trees, and clients and press love him," said Quinn.

Quinn's other staff is equally qualified and committed. "Please mention everyone," Quinn requested of this writer. "They are all crucial members of our team." "Everyone" includes Carla Caccavale, "our most enthusiastic account executive with an instinctive knack for PR and a proverbial nose for news; Judith Alberty, who writes about real estate intelligently and almost poetically; Andrea Hildenbrand, whose assistance is rapidly becoming indispensable to the team; and Oliver Toussaint, the person I rely on most and without whom I would never make it through a week."

Quinn added, "In his memoir, Richard Branson repeatedly emphasizes that he believes in hiring the best possible people." Branson was actually a bonafide Quinn & Co. client (the firm was hired to promote his private British Virgin island, Necker Island) so she comes by his philosophies first-hand. With the volume of business coming in through the door, Quinn & Co. is actively on the hunt for additional staff.
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Title Annotation:Quinn and Co.
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Article Type:Company Profile
Date:Jun 16, 1999
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