Ben Brugler, '00: President, AKHIA
When all else fails, Ben Brugler, ’00, looks back to the fundamentals of public relations. An alumnus of the Kent State public relations program and president of AKHIA, a full- service communications agency, he relies on these basic steps to navigate the changing public relations world:
"Know your audience; figure out the best way to communicate with them; measure if what you’re saying is working,” Brugler said.
His advice follows the R.A.C.E. acronym taught in Kent State’s introductory public relations courses: research, action, communication and evaluation. With these skills in tow, Brugler works with clients to “look ahead.” His team searches for opportunities to advance, as well as for problems to avoid.
“Our primary focus is always exploring ways to help our clients’ businesses grow,” Brugler said.
AKHIA’s work relies on the organization of words, not just coming up with them. Employees work to ensure messages are being processed through the right channels, to the right audience, with the right results.
It took Brugler three years to settle on a major in public relations, but when he did, he “instantly fell in love with the major and profession.”
Brugler relied on professors like Zoe McCathrin and Bill Sledzik not just as instructors, but as mentors and advisors. Sledzik knew the owner of AKHIA and during Brugler’s senior year, helped him snag a job with the firm before he even graduated.
“I cannot say enough about what these teachers did for me,” Brugler said. “This is why no matter how busy I am, I will always make time for a student.”
He continues to be impressed with JMC’s curriculum. The consistent teaching of the basics, added to information students learn about industry changes, keeps the work relevant and real.
“JMC ... has always done a great job in proactively trying to grow and advance the program,” Brugler said.