HUMAN CONNECTIONS REMAIN AT THE COREof the public relations field, so it’s no surprise the people involved in the industry end up running into each other a good deal. Patricia Courtois, president and CEO of C-Suite Communications, found herself constantly bumping into Tom Bolling, a fellow executive she’d known for years, and ended up working with him on national campaigns. In fact, Bolling had worked with clients like Benderson Development executives in New York years prior to the company relocating to Sarasota and hiring C-Suite for work in this region. “It’s crazy the number of parallels in relationships that exist,” says Bolling, partner and COO of Jacksonville-based On Ideas. Ultimately, it made sense to combine the firms together, and in January, On Ideas announced it had acquired the business and combined the executive teams. Following the merge, leaders at C-Suite say a wider range of services, such as an in-house animation department that set On Ideas apart from other firms in the state, will now be readily available to clients already working with the Sarasota firm. “What it allows us to do is tap into digital creation, in-house video and brand strategy skills that enhance our overall offerings,” says Courtois.

As for corporate structure, Courtois remains CEO of C-Suite, which for the moment runs as a “division of On Ideas.” But she also now serves as executive vice president and chief client officer for On Ideas and commutes to offices here and in Northwest Florida. “I’m burning up the backroads,” she jokes, having now memorized rural landmarks in Wachula and Starke. Leadership at the Jacksonville office says Courtois’ new position plays to her strengths and will be useful in dealing with clients already working with On Ideas. “One of the things that has become very clear getting to know Patricia is that she has the inherent and implicit trust of all of her clients,” says West Herford, partner, president and CEO of On Ideas. On Ideas in total now employs 35 people in both locales, with 11 working in the C-Suite Communications offices in Sarasota. The Sarasota team will continue to work on specialties like social media management while a digital creative team in Jacksonville will handle much of the sophisticated content creation. Herford notes On Ideas invested in a 6,000-square-foot video and animation production facility there to deal with increased demand for content, but that the synergy with social media distribution will amplify the value of offerings in both offices. 

The combined staffs boost the reputation of On Ideas substantially. Bolling has worked with companies such as Citibank, IBM and Fisher-Price; he helped with the transition from Marine Midland Bank to HSBC and helped introduce that brand to the United States. Courtois, meanwhile, has experience with brands including Pure Premium Orange Juice, Sunkist and Sweet ’N Low. Herford’s experience includes work for Jack Daniel’s, Budweiser and Carnival Cruise Lines. And in the near future, the newly fused company will likely put its creative energies toward creating a new brand to represent the entire firm. “We’re going to look at an overall branding strategy to bring some synergy,” Courtois notes. “Our logos are not too far from each other.” Indeed, the minimalistic, low-case lettering of the “on” in On Ideas bears striking resemblance to the “c” of C-Suite, in both cases displayed in reverse type and contained in an orange circle.