It’s easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of a busy PR professional’s life. TV segments, client meetings and events, strategizing and planning – you name it, we’ve done it.

As Franco celebrates its 55th anniversary as a Detroit PR agency, we’re looking back and reminding ourselves about how we got here.  Read on to learn the history behind who started it all.

New Beginnings

In 1964, Anthony (Tony) Franco founded Anthony M. Franco Inc., a public relations counseling firm that operated out of the historic Book Building. Tony Franco was a pioneer in the public relations field, shown through his creation of Michigan’s first-ever public relations firm. The firm began with three employees who served four accounts – a slight difference to how many clients we serve today!Tony Franco was an ambitious and confident man – he believed anything was possible. Fast forward to the late ‘60s, Anthony M. Franco Inc. gained momentum and landed Stroh’s, a Detroit institution and one of our most prominent clients throughout the 1970s and 1980s. During this era, Tony Franco and the team secured Domino’s Pizza and Kmart, two homegrown brands we helped expand in their early years.

Forward Motion

Franco’s work with rapid-growing brands in the 1970s helped us gain national recognition on J.R. O’Dwyer Company’s top 40 independent national firms. We are proud to remain fully independent to this day.

1980 was a big year for the agency. The Franco team decided to depart from the Book Building for the newly constructed Detroit Renaissance Center and became one of the building’s original tenants. Soon after the move, the agency began representing the building’s property management group.  Franco still represents the GMRENCEN to this day.

Rebranding and an Opportunity

The agency continued to thrive in the 1990s. Tony Franco retired in 1993, but that didn’t prevent the agency from moving forward and growing. Anthony M. Franco, Inc. was rebranded as Franco Public Relations Group. Near the end of the decade, Franco helped Starbucks launch its first Michigan location at the Somerset Collection in Troy.

Our second rebranding came in the form of changing our brand colors to red, black and white, with an emphasis on the red. The logo shows a line through the letters to represent one of our five values, forward motion. Not only did our logo and colors change, but our office and company name did, too. We dropped the “Public Relations Group” from our name and became Franco.

Future Forward

One theme that has remained over the years? The importance of relationships. Whether with our team, the media, industry influencers, partners or the local business community – we truly are people-powered. As we begin to close the chapter on our 55th anniversary, we will continue to align ourselves with others who share our vision and values and who desire to make meaningful impact with their work.

Interested in learning more about Franco? Contact us today.

Halie Hardwick is a PR coordinator at Franco. You can reach her at hardwick@franco.com.