The rebranding of Ron Sachs
Florida Trend:When Ron Sachs launched his Tallahassee-based public relations firm in 1996, his first order of business was rebranding himself. A controversial editor at his college newspaper, Sachs had worked as a newspaper and TV reporter before going into politics and honed his communications skills working for two Democratic governors and the statewide teachers union.
But with a new Republican majority running the Legislature at the time, Sachs knew he had to change the perception that he was just a Democratic hack — and began a transformation that has seen the one-time liberal firebrand make nice with an array of causes and politicians across the entire political spectrum.
Sachs' first step upon going into business for himself was to avoid all partisan political work — no election campaigns and no partisan political issues. "I had a big enough challenge as (Lawton) Chiles' former communications director. It would have been as if we'd erected a giant neon 'D' on top of my building for the perception that I was a Democratic communications company," Sachs says.
Jeb Bush's eight years in office were a challenging time. "Most of that time, our company got very little opportunity to work with state government," says Sachs. He attributes the lack of state contracts to bad blood over Bush's loss to Chiles in the 1994 governor's race and Sachs' role as Chiles' chief image maker in that campaign.
With no work from the state, Sachs' firm began carving out niches in corporate branding, marketing, crisis management and other areas. Among his successes are a 1998 campaign to inform voters on amendments proposed by the Constitution Revision Commission, work on asbestos compensation reform and efforts to help repeal an automatic 20% phone rate hike included in a bill in 2003. At the county level, the company has designed several campaigns to help rally public support for passage of sales tax referendums.