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Lending a personal touch to marketing

By Jolie Breeden
The Daily Times-Call

After working for years in advertising, Stacy Cornay knew she wanted to free businesses from the marketing gauntlet typical of many agencies.

“I always said if I had my own business, I would try to make it affordable and maintain a relationship with the client,” she said.

So when Cornay founded Communication Concepts Public Relations and Advertising in September 1994, she structured the operation to guide the client from concept to completion with only one contact: Cornay herself.

“A lot of people like knowing that I’m overseeing their work,” she said.

Cornay said the traditional agency setup can be frustrating for customers because they work with one person to determine their needs and direction, while the actual execution of that plan gets passed along to a variety of specialists.

Since all those fingers in the marketing pie can add up to a lot of dough, Cornay keeps costs low by limiting her employees to one person and using contractors when needed.

“The way I made this model work is by not having a lot of employees,” Cornay said.

Still, having a good business plan and strong background in public relations and advertising wasn’t enough to create a company built for the decades.

“The launching point for my business was that I ended up working for the Longmont (Area) Chamber (of Commerce) and learned about business,” Cornay said.

Even with that experience, however, she faced the obstacle of growing her client base from zero.

“Initially starting out, that’s a big hill to climb,” she said.

But climb she did, networking to expand her clientele to a variety of medium-sized businesses along the Front Range.

“I’m a firm believer that people do business with people they know,” Cornay said.

That attitude translates into added value for Communication Concepts customers like Dan Pirrallo, general manager of the Millennium Harvest House hotel in Boulder.

Pirrallo, who has done business with larger agencies, sees the benefit of Cornay’s more focused approach.

“It’s much more personal attention,” he said, “much more grounded in understanding the community.”

Jolie Breeden can be reached at 303-776-2244, Ext. 389, or by e-mail at