Patricia “Pat” Tobin founded Tobin & Associates in 1983 and with her vision, commitment and unique brand molded it into one of the most prominent African-American, woman-owned public relations firms in the nation. A media and community relations icon, Tobin started the agency after she realized both the impact and the power of the African American consumer when few major advertisers of corporations were acknowledging this segment of the population.
Her entrepreneurial spirit propelled her from a one-woman shop run from a kitchen table into a multifaceted enterprise. Tobin & Associates marked its silver anniversary in 2008, the year of Tobin’s untimely death.
A stalwart activist, Tobin was enthusiastic about causes surrounding minorities, women and youth and consequently helped to create opportunities for underserved consumers and communities that brought about corporate investment and philanthropy for important causes.
What set Tobin & Associates apart was Tobin’s outstanding combination of expertise in multicultural markets and skills in public relations, marketing, community outreach and event coordination. She was the co-founder of National Black Public Relations Society, which nurtured careers of many other minority men and women who would follow.
In an industry where few minorities had found success, Tobin understood the difficulty lay in winning clients and helping them understand the value of seeking the expertise of a specialty firm that could expand their image, reputation and sales among ethnic consumers.
“Public relations is a highly competitive industry, and it is hard to win new clients,” Tobin explained. “Many large corporations are expanding their internal community and public relations departments and many do not, or choose not, to see the value an outside agency.”
However, two decades ago Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. saw the benefit of a business association with Tobin & Associates that would help them develop a significant level of brand loyalty within the black community. That relationship proved to be lasting and genuine, with Tobin & Associates continuing to consult with Toyota on the community and public relations activities among African Americans.
The firm’s past and current client list includes Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.; Nestlé U.S.A.; Reebok International, Ltd.; 100 Black Men of Los Angeles; filmmakers Spike Lee and Kevin Hooks; Judge Mablean Ephraim of TV's “Divorce Court”; Walt Disney Feature Animation; and Sony Music Entertainment Inc. She also managed political and corporate clients like Rep. Maxine Waters, D-CA; Fitzgerald’s Casino owner Don Barden and the late Johnnie Cochran.