Global thinking. Detroit attitude.
Robar Public Relations is a global resource of creative thinking and bold solutions headquartered next to the former Packard Plant in Detroit. If you want cookie-cutter execution, this isn't the place. We take pride in designing innovative programs that help our clients of all sizes meet their goals. Competencies include internal and external marketing, global communications, public relations, events, media training, corporate social responsibility, market research, branding and digital media. The majority of the agency’s work has focused on mobility, business-to-business companies, small Detroit businesses, the media and the automotive industry.
Recent Client Success
For the past ten years, Robar PR has produced Detroit Homecoming, the landmark event that has attracted 950 expats to the city...and more than a billion dollars in pending investments. Speakers have included Lily Tomlin, Stephen Ross, Steve Ballmer, Warren Buffet, Berry Gordy and Tony Fadell. The 2017 opening dinner was held in the Michigan Central Depot, the first event held there in 30 years. (Click on the photo to watch the recap video from Homecoming V.)
During the pandemic, NPR station WDET raffled a special Echopark Guitar donated by Gabriel Currie. Robar PR created the tickets, fulfilled the requests and handled all the media relations, including this front page Detroit Free Press story and TV stories on every network. The raffle was a huge success and raised nearly $70,000 for the public radio station, with many ticket buyers saying the media coverage prompted them to call. According to Station Manager Mary Zatina, "Robar PR put a polish and professionalism on this story better than we ever could have imagined."
After seven years helping Nikola with its PR efforts, Robar PR moved to Bosch and is continuing to share mobility stories. At CES 2024, more than 3,000 Bosch stories were posted from esteemed outlets like TechCrunch, CleanTechnica, Verge, Heavy Duty Trucking, AP, Automotive News, Transport Topics, CNET and Reuters. The Bosch News Bureau has helped launch semiconductor factories, placed stories with top executives on Bloomberg Technology TV and Wall Street Journal and hosted a variety of technology demonstrations for the media.
When The Peacock Room revealed its plans to open two new stores in the Fisher Building, Robar PR managed both announcements by releasing the YAMA concept to the Detroit Free Press on the morning of the influential Mackinac Policy Conference. Owner Rachel Lutz's news dominated the coverage from the Island. To announce the new Peacock Room flagship, a fleet of antique cars, pinup girls and loads of fun greeted the media guests in front of the Fisher Building. Coverage resulted in all the major news outlets.
Robar PR collaborated with Berlin Cameron and Near Perfect Media for Chinese automaker GAC Motor to help them announce their plans for a 2020 entry into the US at the 2018 and 2019 North American International Auto Shows. To date, more than 2.700 stories have been written, including the front page of the Detroit News, USA Today, Wall Street Journal and Automotive News. Robar PR also helped the Chinese automaker at the March National Auto Dealers Association meeting in Las Vegas and landed the company on the front page of Automotive News.
Built on Purpose
Ineos Automotive staged a four-part, 1,200-mile adventure in January 2023 to showcase the Grenadier 4x4 in almost every environment: mountains, forests, rivers, seas, mud, sand, byways and highways. Robar PR, working as the North American agency with PFPR Communications. recruited and coordinated 10 top US outlets including Wall St. Journal, Men's Journal, Edmunds, Road & Track, MotorTrend, TREAD, Tribune Syndicate and Driving for the first global media drive. The 4x4 is now available in the US and Canada, with a pickup and electric vehicle soon to follow.
Former GM North America President Barry Engle and his Co-Founder Sam Gabbita had a new SPAC, Qell Acquisition Corp., seeking a target in the mobility marketplace. Key early media interviews set the stage for the reverse merger announcement with their target, Lilium. Robar PR worked closely with the Lilium PR and marketing team to position their key messages within the business, financial and aviation press in the U.S. and Europe. Major stories resulted in 300+ print and broadcast outlets on announcement day.
Polluter Pay Action
When an auto parts plant near Detroit discharged so much PFAS into the Huron River that the State of Michigan said the fish weren't safe to eat, Robar PR helped their client, the Huron River Watershed Council, blow the whistle on corporate polluters with national news coverage on CBS Evening News and via op-eds. Other tactics included a protest at a local canoe and kayak livery that attracted local media and a State Capitol news conference where legislation was introduced to punish the polluters.
With Robar PR's help, Udelv successfully accomplished the first-ever autonomous delivery on public roads in California. Udelv has since completed over 20,000 last mile deliveries for multiple merchants in California, Arizona, and Texas and is preparing for expansion in many other states. In April 2021, the Silicon Valley startup announced a partnership with Intel's Mobileye with stories in TechCrunch, EE Times, Bloomberg, Reuters, CNBC, Forbes, Barron's and more. The company unveiled their Transporter at CES 2024.
Meet Colleen Robar, APR
Colleen Robar is president of Robar PR, a Michigan-based public relations consultancy that specializes in projects that combine global thinking with her passion for Detroit, her hometown.
In 2016, she completed a full-time assignment for General Motors International Operations in Singapore, helping with special projects such as communications audits, news bureaus and corporate communications. Before relocating to Asia in September 2012, Colleen was director of corporate communications at Detroit-based Crain Communications Inc., publisher of more than 30 highly respected media brands operating from 11 offices worldwide. She concurrently served as marketing director for Automotive News.
Since 2014, Colleen has produced Detroit Homecoming for Crain's Detroit Business which brought together hundreds of Detroit "expats" to reconnect and reinvest with their hometown.
Her experience includes serving as VP-corporate communications for Ardesta, where she helped several startup nanotechnology companies launch their first identity programs and communications strategies. As a VP/account director at Mullen, she led two teams for client General Motors, one involving advanced technology and the other handling women's and GLBT marketing. As part of Mullen’s work, Robar led the team that delivered the first hybrid buses to Seattle. From 2005-2007, Robar PR served as the main PR arm for JWT/Team Detroit and their clients, primarily Ford and Ambassador Bridge. Her experience also includes work in tourism with the Detroit Convention Bureau and Ritz-Carlton hotels.
She holds a journalism degree from Central Michigan University and a MBA degree in technology management from the University of Phoenix.
In 2019, Colleen was inducted into the PRSA Detroit Hall of Fame, the chapter's highest honor for PR professionals.
In addition to China, she has lived in Yokohama, Japan and Sao Paulo, Brazil.