Axia expands focus and space

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by Max Marbut

Staff Writer

After graduating from the University of Missouri School of Journalism, Jacksonville native Jason Mudd decided to come back home and get into public relations.

Mudd spent several years with the Florida Sports Awards and the Otis Smith Foundation, then decided to strike out on his own and established his own agency.

“I started from scratch in 2002. It was a public relations firm because I thought that was what I could do on my own in a spare bedroom at my house and one phone line,” said Mudd.

Four years later, Mudd runs Axia Public Relations and Marketing out of the company’s headquarters on East Forsyth Street. The business has doubled in size since it moved Downtown in 2004, both in terms of staff and square footage. The firm also has an office in Amelia Island and just opened a third in Tallahassee.

Mudd said the growth of the agency has been steady, with billing tripling each year since he opened the doors.

“When I worked in the not-for-profit realm, I was on the other side of the table,” he said. “I learned what I didn’t like about how some agencies did business by being a client. I also saw where clients might not do the right thing, so we’re trying to bridge the gap.”

One of the first things he decided was he didn’t want a traditional name for his new agency. He noticed what other firms had done and knew it didn’t fit his vision.

“There are very few agencies here that aren’t people’s names. Five guy’s names on the front of a building just didn’t make sense to me,” said Mudd. “The word ‘axia’ is Greek for ‘trusted friend’. That resonates with people. That’s what we want to be to our clients and it makes sense to them. It’s also different enough that people remember it and it and lends itself to design. “And when you’re a public relations and marketing agency, you’re supposed to be out of the box a little bit.”

After opening two offices in two years, when Mudd saw an opportunity to open another in the state capitol, he decided to go for it.

“I had an all-star employee whose husband had been transferred to Tallahassee. I saw it as a good place to be and had somebody ready to go there,” he said. “There are already some good agencies in Tallahassee and hopefully, us being in the market will make us better and make them better as well.”

There was another reason that motivated Mudd to expand west, even though, as he pointed out, Axia is not a lobbying firm.

“Everybody – whether they realize it or not – has a vested interest in what happens in Tallahassee whether it’s political or association related.”