Alumnus manages national PR firm

By Vinnie Mancuso —

Mark Beal, J/MS 1989, is no stranger to pushing himself to the limit. After five marathons and numerous triathlons he knows what it takes to reach the finish line and reach it successfully.

Yet according to Beal, his endurance training extends far off the race course. For the managing partner of the public relations and brand counseling firm Taylor Strategy in Manhattan, the fast-paced worlds of public relations and grueling marathons are one and the same. So is getting up in the morning at his home in Toms River, teaching public relations at Rutgers’ Department of Communication, and zooming into the busy streets of New York City to go to work.

Mark Beal, J/MS 1989, a managing partner of a PR firm and Rutgers professor, still finds time to relax on his boat. Photo provided by Mark Beal.

Mark Beal, J/MS 1989, a managing partner of a PR firm and Rutgers professor, still finds time to relax on his boat. Photo provided by Mark Beal.

“To me, and I know it’s been said before, but I always say to people ‘Success is a marathon,’” Beal said. “That applies to business, my teaching, anything,” Beal said. “It is not about quick results. It is not about quick satisfaction. It is about building towards something and always building towards something.”

In the PR business, one could say that Beal has crossed the finish line and is standing in the winner’s circle. At Taylor Strategy, Beal is one of several owners of a 110-person agency that has represented such high-end clients as Allstate, Guinness and Taco Bell. It is his job to formulate and execute large-scale advertising campaigns for these companies as well as build relationships with new clients to solidify Taylor’s future.

“I am active day in and day out leading our clients and campaigns and all that,” he noted.

He began with the company 20 years ago.

Like any marathon, changes come when you least expect them, and one must adapt. For Taylor this change came in the mid-1990s, just a few short years after Beal had joined the agency. The PR game was evolving with the times, and agencies had to change along with it. Beal and his colleagues saw this as an opportunity to be more than just a public relations agency.

“Yes we are a PR agency, but at the end of the day we are marketers,” Beal said. “We’re doing everything. The way things evolved this is what an agency like ours needs to be today.”

Beal was crucial in Taylor’s evolution, which hit an apex during the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Kleenex came to Taylor for a campaign idea that tied in with the company’s popular “Let It Out” commercials that saw everyday people opening up about their personal feelings.

“That was around the time that we looked around and said PR just isn’t what it used to be, which is just pitching media — it is a lot more,” Beal noted.

For Kleenex, Taylor produced and shot “Let It Out” the movie. It premiered in Beijing and 25 cities across America.

“That was one of our first unique pieces of content,” he said.

Beal’s training helped create everything Taylor started at J/MS. Like a frenetic tri-athlete, Beal spent a summer interning in New York at both Mike Cohen Communications and WNBC radio. He also freelanced at the Asbury Park Press, thinking at the time he wanted to be a writer or a broadcaster.

He found he loved public relations the most.

“The reason I loved it so much was, while I was doing the writing or broadcasting I was reporting the news,” Beal said. “In PR I was actually creating news. That was the big difference.”

Recently Beal has returned to his starting line, teaching Principles of PR. For him, his homecoming to New Brunswick is less about teaching facts than it is offering a glimpse into his actual experiences