Your Public Relations and Communications Community

On the Case With…

Each month, as part of “The Business Case for Public Relations,” PRSA asks an industry leader to reflect on his or her career and make a “business case” for public relations.

More from “On the Case With…”

On the Case With Stephen Michael Brown, APR

October 31, 2014

Stephen Michael Brown
Stephen Michael Brown

Stephen Michael Brown, APR, runs the Atlanta office of Cohn & Wolfe, a global firm with deep roots in brand marketing dedicated to the “Dig Deeper. Imagine More” mantra of research and insights that lead to catalytic creative campaigns. He is also a principal media trainer for many of the spokespeople the firm’s clients offer to the media.

Brown is the incoming president of PRSA’s Georgia Chapter and volunteers on several arts, education and health organizations in the city. He is a University of South Carolina Honors College graduate and has helped his alma mater in the building of a new journalism school that opens on the Historic Horseshoe of the Columbia, S.C., campus next year. He also frequently hosts Maymester students in Atlanta to showcase innovations in public relations and introduce them to various companies in the area.

Brown says PRSA’s International Conference “is the one time in the year that you can meet with people from all disciplines of public relations to learn from each other and share best practices — I return from each of these events with new contacts, new insights and new approaches.”

And Brown is excited that his city is hosting next year’s Conference in Atlanta after more than a decade: “Many people will be surprised by how much our downtown has grown in such a short time, with the Georgia Aquarium, the New World of Coca-Cola, College Football Hall of Fame, The Center for Civil and Human Rights and more. In addition to great networking and the Fortune 500 company headquarters based here, people will be pleased about all there is to do if they extend their trip to stay in Atlanta for a few days before and after the conference. The city definitely has me hooked!”


Stephen Michael Brown, APR

Childhood ambition: 

I loved brands from a young age and was always noticing and drawing logos, so I wanted to go into advertising and public relations since junior high.

Current livelihood: 

Managing director for Cohn & Wolfe Atlanta

First public relations job: 

Advertising agency in South Carolina, where I worked on tourism, sports arena, retail and ice cream accounts under great mentors.

What you know about now that you wish you knew then: 

The big picture — the APR process was a great reminder of the 10-step process of public relations and never forgetting the important bookends of research and evaluation.

Best piece of advice you’ve ever received: 

Be authentic in everything you do; ethics and transparency are character traits that you’ll carry with you for life.

Greatest professional accomplishment: 

Helping the company Interface inspire the world with a global announcement about sustainability that showed other businesses that you can be good stewards of the earth, while still making a profit.

If you weren’t in public relations, you would be:

I used to dream of being a movie critic, but in the world of citizen journalism, I have my own blog on the side, Silver Screen Capture, so I suppose it’s no longer an either/or type of choice.

Desired legacy: 

I love making connections and encouraging people, so to know that many individuals are well placed in our profession and thriving in our PR and marketing space because of working together will thrill me when I look back at it all.

Make a “business case” for public relations: 

Brand reputation is everything in the modern era, and protecting it is mission critical. We work to make deposits in the brand trust bank so organizations have a positive, transparent relationship with the public in the good times. And this relationship sustains these institutions in times of crisis when organizations need third parties to support them. The age of social media has made public relations a more vital and time-sensitive discipline, one that we take seriously for our clients in the trusted role we serve for them.


Phyllis says:

Went to the PRSA site to join and imagine my surprise to see my former coworker on the homepage! Fabulous work Stephen!!

November 20, 2014

JN Brown says:

We are very impressed with your write up and goals both for yourself and for the field you represent! Good luck with the PR conference in Atlanta! Those who attend will be positively impacted! Lucky are those who have you as a mentor! JN

January 29, 2015

Post a Comment

Editor’s Note: Please limit your comments to the specific post. We reserve the right to omit any response that is not related to the article or that may be considered objectionable.


To help us ensure that you are a real human, please type the total number of circles that appear in the following images in the box below.

(image of four circles) + (image of seven circles) =

Join PRSA Today

FREE Integrated Marketing Training With Membership

Broaden your skill set with access to an extensive library of live and on-demand professional development webinars — one of PRSA's premier member benefits.