2013 Americas PR Agency Report Card

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Analysis and insight into 200 leading public relations firms in the US, Canada and Latin America.

Analysis and insight into 200 leading public relations firms in the US, Canada and Latin America.

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  • 1. PR AGENCY REPORT CARD 2013
  • 2. s t i r c re a t i v i t y
  • 3. Two simple words remind us that great ideas shatter expectations. Two simple words set Ketchum apart. break through www.ketchum.com
  • 4. Agency Report Card 2013 the HOLMES REPORT PR AGENCY REPORT CARD Paul A. Holmes CEO Arun Sudhaman Partner and Managing Editor Greg Drury Partner and President - U.S. Operations Aarti Shah Senior Editor Annabel Davis Chief Internet Officer Amanda Busby UK Administrative Manager Patrick Drury Account Executive Celeste Picco Chief Administrative Officer James Beer/Logo Logo Design Anthony S. Picco Layout & Print Production The Holmes Report, PR Agency Report Card 2013 (ISBN 978-0-9913575-0-5) is published once a year by The Holmes Group, Address: 271 West 47 Street, Suite 23-A, New York, NY 10036, USA Tel: (212) 333-2300; Fax: (212) 333-2624 Second class postage is pending at New York, NY, and additional offices. POSTMASTER: Send all address changes to The Holmes Report, 271 West 47th Street, Suite 23-A, New York, NY 10036. Individual copies of The Holmes Report EMEA Consultancy Report Card 2013 are priced at $69.95. 2 www.holmesreport.com
  • 5. MESSAGE MATTERS. If you want to connect, you must reach people where they are. In the new, turbulent world of health care, we’re religious about understanding your audience, creating compelling messages and content, and converting people to your cause. Times are changing. Time for a revival. thinkrevivehealth.com
  • 6. Agency Report Card 2013 CONTENTS “The first signs of an economic recovery meant that revenue increases in the US public relations business continued to outpace Europe—where the major markets are still suffering from government austerity and corporate caution—and demonstrate that there is still plenty of room for growth in a business that continues to expand the breadth and depth of its service offering to meet the challenges of a new communications era. In terms of breadth, it is clear that many public relations firms continue to expand into digital and social media. PR firms have demonstrated the ability to compete with other marketing and communications services firms in the content creation and curation arena, offering a wide range of channel-neutral solutions across paid, owned and shared media as well as the earned space in which PR agencies have traditionally dominated. And more and more firms are expanding their capabilities in data and analytics, using third-party services and their own custom tools to offer better research, planning and metrics. In terms of depth, the best firms in the consumer space have moved far beyond product publicity to offer genuine insight into customer wants and needs, and to deliver brand-building campaigns that a few years ago were the province of either ad agencies or specialist brand consultancies. In the corporate arena, meanwhile, the high-end strategic consulting firms have demonstrated that they are more than capable of competing with management consultancies and law firms in areas such as change management and public affairs, and of holding down a seat at the same table as financial and legal advisors. As a result, industry growth last year was close to 10 percent, with independent firms leading the way—many of those featured in this review grew by double-digits or better, and are on track for similarly impressive performance in 2014. There is no doubt that the communications landscape is more challenging than ever. But equally, there is no doubt that the best and the brightest PR firms are rising to that challenge.” Paul A. Holmes Paul Holmes, Editor EDITORIAL.............................................................................................................................................................. 04 TEN WAYS TO DESIGN THE AGENCY OF THE FUTURE..................................................... 06 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)...................................................................................... 12 AGENCIES OF THE YEAR........................................................................................................................... 14 ALPHABETICAL INDEX................................................................................................................................. 20 GEOGRAPHICAL INDEX.............................................................................................................................. 24 SPECIALTY INDEX............................................................................................................................................ 26 MULTINATIONAL, FULL-SERVICE FIRMS......................................................................................... 28 SPECIALISTS, BOUTIQUES, SMALL & MID-SIZE FIRMS....................................................... 68 4 www.holmesreport.com
  • 7. what engages you? We are in the business to be “engaging, always.” So the people who work here are a highly engaged group. There are photographers, bass guitar players, PhDs, lawyers, stand-up comics, synchronized swimmers (yes, we have one). And every day they bring their unique perspective and skills to engaging people with the brands and issues that matter to them. To learn more, go to webershandwick.com.
  • 8. Agency Report Card 2013 1 0 WAYS TO DESIGN THE AGENCY OF THE FUTURE by Paul Holmes THE FINANCIAL, POLITICAL, TECHNOLOGICAL AND media worlds have changed dramatically since the start of the 21st century. The global economic crisis, stagnation in the developed economies and growth in emerging markets, the rise of digital and social communications channels and the fragmentation of mainstream news outlets—these changes have all prompted new threats, and opened up new opportunities, for the public relations business. But to take advantage of these changes, public relations firms need new business models, new—and more diverse—talent, and new ways of thinking. To put it mildly, a public relations agency designed to meet the major challenges of the 20th century is unlikely to succeed in the 21st. Yet many of the world’s largest agencies, and a surprising number of midsize firms, continue to operate as if little has changed. Their infrastructure is a legacy from a different age, they have the same practice areas (often conflating actual practices such as corporate communications and product marketing, with industry sectors such as healthcare and technology), the same geographic structures, the same silos that served them (not always well) a decade or more ago. And many of them have failed to integrate new ideas, new technologies and new media, into the way they do business—often treating changes that ought to disrupt existing models as if they can simply be bolted on to the old model. Every time they do that, they miss an opportunity to create something genuinely disruptive, and they double down on their investment in traditional, vestigial, thinking—increasing their vulnerability to new firms with new ways of thinking. Many of the firms in this volume are already acting on some, perhaps many, of the ideas presented here. Some have radically restructured their business using their own ideas of what the future will demand. It’s doubtful whether anyone has all the answers when it comes to creating a new model for the public relations firm, but there are several ideas that all agencies should be exploring or considering. 1. Big data at the center Three years ago, I found myself in Davos—at a conference called Communication on Top—debating the future role of public relations in a shifting world. 6 www.holmesreport.com
  • 9. ACTIVIST DEFAULT ANONYMOUS SHAREHOLDER LITIGATION A N ALYST R E P ORT CONGRESSIONAL HEARINGS SOURCE PRODUCT RECALL LBO SHUTDOWN FBI RAID SAY ON PAY CONSENT DECREE PRESS CONFERENCE SPIN-OFF FIGHT LETTER MERGER UNSOLICITED OFFER INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER INVESTOR MEETING PROXY CONTEST ACQ U I S I T I O N VALUE LABOR DISPUTE CFIUS CLEARANCE STRATEGIC ALTERNATIVES POISON TAKE CONTROL IPO SURPRISE 13D SEC INQUIRY RESTRUCTURING STRIKE MEDIA INTERVIEW RESTATEMENT EARNINGS EARNINGS ROAD SHOW SHORT ATTACK WOLF PACK CHAPTER 11 UNCONFIRMED RUMOR WHITE KNIGHT HOSTILE TAKEOVER BOYCOTT WELLS NOTICE ANTITRUST REVIEW BANKRUPTCY COVENANT BREACH SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGEMENT CHANGE LAYOFF PILL RELEASE joelefrank.com CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS LITIGATION SUPPORT INVESTOR RELATIONS RESTRUCTURING & BANKRUPTCY TRANSACTION COMMUNICATIONS PRIVATE EQUITY CRISIS COMMUNICATIONS & SPECIAL SITUATIONS SHAREHOLDER ACTIVISM & CORPORATE GOVERNANCE
  • 10. Agency Report Card 2013 My own optimistic view was challenged by Marshall Sponder, an expert in web analytics. His major complaint: that PR people did not understand how to use big data; his big prediction: that within a couple of years, every PR agency that wanted to be taken seriously would have a chief data officer, playing a significant role in the leadership of the organization. To say that progress on this score has been mixed would be extremely generous to the industry as a whole. There has been plenty of evidence that putting data and analytics at the center of communications can be incredibly powerful—the Obama re-election campaign is the most obvious example—but there has been incremental progress at best when it comes to using data to drive marketing and corporate communications more broadly, and only a handful of firms have anyone in a role roughly equivalent to Sponder’s chief data officer role. 2. Insight to drive meaningful creativity One reason data is important is that it lays the foundation for the kind of insight—into stakeholder attitudes, values, beliefs and actions—that ensure relevance. For too long, many public relations people—like the baseball scouts in Michael Lewis’s Moneyball who believed that they could identify a good baseball player based on little more than attitude, posture, and physique—have operated on the assumption that their years of experience alone meant that they knew a good PR campaign when they saw it. But all too often, the ideas they generated were creative just for the sake of it. They resonated with reporters, but not with the wider audiences they were intended to reach. They provided entertainment value but didn’t do anything to influence behaviour. They were “great” PR ideas with no business benefit. Great data alone will not ensure great PR programming. But better data will lead to better insights. And better insights will lead to more creative public relations ideas—ideas that solve real business problems. 3. Understanding the human brain Edward L Bernays would insist loudly to anyone who would listen that public relations was “applied social science.” That was true in the industry’s early days, when Bernays and 8 www.holmesreport.com others were pioneering a new discipline, and it remains true today. What has changed is that we have new ways of understanding how the human mind words, how people decide what to believe, how they process information, how they make choices. the second. There is probably still a very good living to be earned that way—effective communication remains important; but firms that can help their clients earn the right kind of reputation—by helping to shape policy rather than explain it—will deliver and derive far greater value in the future. A PR PERSON WHO LOOKS AT A CLIENT FROM A TRUE JOURNALISTIC PERSPECTIVE SHOULD BE ABLE TO UNEARTH BOTH POSITIVE NEWS (AUTHENTIC STORIES THAT REINFORCE THE MESSAGES A COMPANY WANTS TO COMMUNICATE ABOUT ITSELF) AND NOT-SO-POSITIVE NEWS (HELPING CLIENTS IDENTIFY AREAS OF REPUTATION RISK). Most PR people could benefit from going back and reading Bernays’ classic The Engineering of Consent. But they should also be reading more recent volumes such as The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, Nudge by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein, Made to Stick by Chip Heath, or Contagious by Jonah Burger. Or listening to neuroscientists like David Eagleman, who presented at our first Global Public Relations Summit in 2012 and provided numerous insights—some of them quite shocking—into the ways emotional responses can overrule the rational mind, and the unconscious supersede the conscious. Understanding the latest thinking in this area is essential for anyone hoping to change attitudes and behaviors. 4. Managing reputation is about more than just communicating reputation There are two necessary preconditions if a company is to have a good reputation (by which we mean a reputation that strengthens the relationship between a company and its key stakeholders, reducing risk and providing greater opportunity). First, it must earn that reputation; then it must communicate what it has done to earn it. The first of those things is by far the most important; traditionally, public relations firms have spent far more time and energy on This requires an understanding of corporate culture, and corporate values, and how to communicate them so that executives communicate them through their words and—infinitely more important—their deeds; employees believe in them and live them; and external stakeholders understand them and believe that they are authentic. 5. Becoming real brand journalists The public relations industry has always recruited former journalists. But historically, it has demanded that they stop acting like journalists. Their perceived value was their ability to craft stories that their former colleagues would find interesting or appealing. But that approach ignored their true value. Real brand journalism is not just about telling good stories, it’s about identifying and researching and developing those stories. By hiring people who think and act like journalists, and encouraging clients to allow these “brand journalists” full access, PR firms can provide tremendous value. A PR person who looks at a client from a true journalistic perspective should be able to unearth both positive news (authentic stories that reinforce the messages a company wants to communicate about itself) and not-sopositive news (helping clients identify areas of reputation risk).
  • 11. bigger thinking. www.makovsky.com
  • 12. Agency Report Card 2013 6. Being truly channel neutral The ideal of channel neutrality has been on the communications industry agenda for decades. It has (at least theoretically) been at the heart of several approaches to integration—“orchestration,” “the whole egg,” and more. But it has proven incredibly difficult to realize, perhaps because the wrong people have been driving the process. True channel neutrality is difficult for advertising agencies, because the financial rewards of persuading a client to invest in one channel—paid advertising—provide an almost irresistible attraction. Given the choice between telling the client he or she needs a billion dollar ad campaign or a $100,000 PR initiative, most ad firms have found ways to convince themselves—and their clients—that the ad campaign is the best solution. (The new generation of digital firms has a slightly different challenge: by focusing on and recruiting for a single channel of communication, they lack the expertise to be channel agnostic.) But PR is not a channel, or a medium, or a vehicle; it’s a process. There is no reason why PR people should not be just as comfortable suggesting a flashmob as they are recommending a press conference; a mobile app rather than a media release; or even an ad campaign rather than a publicity program. No reason, that is, except that they lack the talent in-house. If a PR firm is staffed entirely with media relations experts, it is going to find channel neutrality just as challenging as any ad agency or digital specialist. 7. Eliminating internal barriers As public relations firms evolved, they traditionally broke their businesses down in a number of different ways: by the intended audience (practice areas such as consumer and corporate, public affairs and investor relations); by industry section (healthcare, technology, financial services); and—in the case of the largest firms—by geography. This made agencies more manageable— and created opportunities for senior staff—but it also erected barriers between the various business units, often creating obstacles to assembling the best people from multiple practices, sectors and geographies. Those barriers have become more problematic as communications challenges have become 10 www.holmesreport.com more complex. And ironically, there are more of those barriers at the largest agencies, which are often called upon the handle the most complex, global issues. Agencies need to ask themselves whether these vestigial structures still make sense. Is the “corporate” audience really so distinct from the “consumer” audience? If so, is a CSR campaign corporate (because a major objective in enhanced reputation) or consumer (because done right, CSR can help drive sales)? Wouldn’t your public affairs efforts be better served if they included an employee communications component, motivating ordinary employees to get involved? And does having a “digital” practice make any more sense than having a “print” practice or a “radio” practice? Or does it perhaps another barrier, one that actually makes it more difficult to come up with channel-neutral solutions? 8. Recruiting differently There are people working in public relations firms today who are more than capable of doing many, perhaps all, of the things described so far in this article. There are (contrary to popular perception) PR people who understand and even love hard data; who have studied neuroscience and applied its findings to their work; who counsel their clients’ CEO on his actions as well as his words; who are just as comfortable recommending an ad campaign as a PR program, if it’s the right solution to a client’s problem. But there are not enough of them, and there won’t be enough of them until PR firms change the way they recruit and target a broader, more diverse range of people, taking a risk on hiring candidates not only from journalism and politics and finance, but from marketing and research and academia and a range of other disciplines that may seem completely unrelated to PR as we currently know it. 9. Creating new career paths Once those people have been recruited, agencies will need to offer them career paths that don’t necessarily look like the traditional trajectory of a successful PR executive. For one thing, that traditional trajectory has never served agencies as well as they might think. It has all too often resulted in promoting a great PR person until he or she is gradually shifted away from client work and into the management of a “P&L”—often with the result that the agency loses a great client counselor and gains a mediocre (at best) manager. Many firms have been experimenting with alternate career paths that keep their best PR people close to their clients, turning them into “client relationship managers” running complex global accounts, but there is still a perception that the top jobs in most agencies—the ones that earn the most money and the most respect—involve managing a practice or an office. That will need to change, as experts in data analysis, those with a flair for insights and creativity, those comfortable in the C-suite, and those whose expertise involves internal investigative journalism or content creation, demand public relations careers that are as fulfilling and as rewarding as those who are excited by the prospect of managing a P&L— or their own firm. 10. Make it matter The final challenge, another one the industry has been wrestling with for decades, involves making sure that all of this activity—improved use of data, better insights, application of the latest science, radical restructuring, recruitment and career mapping—pays off in business terms. Fortunately, there is recent research that provides a map for PR measurement. Fred Reicheld’s “net promoter score” approach has focused primarily on demonstrating that when consumers are more likely to advocate for a brand—by recommending it to their friends and peers—there is a real payoff in terms of future performance. (Similarly, when consumers are actively critical of a brand, there is a measurable negative impact on performance.) There is no reason why this methodology cannot be applied to other stakeholder groups, and public relations people should start every new campaign by asking, will this increase the number of advocates and reduce the number of detractors for the company, organization, product or service. And they should measure every campaign by figuring out who the ratio of advocates to detractors changed—and making sure management understands how that ratio is relevant to sales, profits and share price.
  • 13. What’s a KWittKen? A beastcreature found primarily in New York, with reported sightings in London, Dubai, and Tokyo. It’s mayor of the internet, is able to tweet 141 characters and has earned more badges than an eagle scout that married a girl scout that had a baby that became an eagle scout. It’s a morning person, afternoon person, evening person and morning person. If it were on TV it wouldn’t be on the Home Shopping Network , but if it was, your mom would TM buy a dozen of whatever it was selling. It may occasionally raise its voice, but it does so in such a way that you feel better about your future, meet the love of your life, and are cured of your persistent case of tennis elbow. Kwittken is only pretty good at cat whispering, but it’s good as hell at PR*. *Kwittken + Company is a freaking awesome agency that works with different clients in a ton of different industries. (646) 277-7111 kwittken.com Kwittken [kwit-tken]
  • 14. FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS Agency Report Card 2013 HOW WERE FIRMS SELECTED FOR INCLUSION IN THE CONSUL TANCY REPORT CARD? THERE are several criteria for inclusion.One is size. We made every effort to include the largest pan-regional agencies as well as the leaders in individual markets. Awards were another indicator of quality, and we included many firms that had won awards in their local markets or in international competition. Finally, we gave special consideration to members of the various international networks of independent public relations consultancies, on the grounds that these firms are particularly focused on the kinds of international clients to whom this Report Card is distributed. Of course, we were dependent on the participation of the firms themselves. We contacted many firms to invite them to submit the detailed information we needed in order to create a thorough and accurate profile. Some of them failed to respond and several declined to participate. DO YOU EVER WRITE NEGATIVE REVIEWS OF THE FIRMS YOU INCLUDE? NOT usually. Firms are included because we believe they are good enough to recommend to our client-side readers. If we don’t think a firm is good enough to be included, we exclude it, rather than wasting our valuable space and our readers’ valuable time with a negative review. HOW DID YOU SELECT YOUR CONSULTANCIES OF THE YEAR? WE met with many of the firms included in this Report Card personally, sitting through credentials presentations and discussions about philosophy, culture, values, and strategy. In addition to those meetings we spoke with more than 100 clients and industry experts. In almost every case, we asked the individuals which firms they most respected. We also took into consideration growth and industry recognition such as awards, which provide us with a unique insight into the way participating consultancies think. Both historic positioning in a market—consistent leadership over time—and more recent accomplishments and performance were taken into consideration. HOW CAN MY FIRM PARTICIPATE IN NEXT YEAR’S CONSULTANCY REPORT CARD? SIMPLY contact our editor, Paul Holmes at pholmes@holmesreport.com. Be prepared to answer questions about your firm ranging from the general (what makes your firm different from its competitors) to the specific (recent new business successes, awards and recognition earned) and to include client references or testimonials. We will start pulling together information for the 2014 Report Card soon. E-mail Paul Holmes at the address above. IS THERE ANY COST FOR INCLUSION? ABSOLUTELY not. Because the Report Card reaches an extensive client-side readership—both in the U.S. and globally—several participating firms have chosen to advertise, but firms are included on merit, not because they have bought ads, and we would never exclude a firm that didn’t advertise. 12 www.holmesreport.com
  • 15. Davies transforms public perception PRSA PRism - Winner, Public Affairs 2013 PRSA PRism - Winner, Community Relations 2013 O’Dwyers - 3rd Largest Environmental Firm in the U.S. 2013 Holmes Report - Best Agency to Work For 2005-2013 American Assoc. Political Consultants - Public Affairs and Issue Advocacy 2013 American Assoc. Political Consultants - Public Affairs Direct Mail 2013 American Assoc. Political Consultants - Best Facebook Page 2013 SABRE - Energy and Natural Resources, Gold B2B 2013 SABRE - Excellence in Content Creation, Silver 2013 SABRE - Certificate of Excellence 2013 Hermes - Corporate Image Video, Platinum 2013 Hermes - Social Media/YouTube, Platinum 2013 Hermes - Publications Brochure, Platinum 2013 Hermes - Website Overall Informational, Platinum 2013 Hermes - Public Relations Video, Platinum 2013 Hermes - Website Element and Design, Gold 2013 Hermes - Video Public Relations, Gold 2013 Holmes Report - Public Affairs Agency of the Year 2012 PR News - Top Places to Work in PR 2012 PRism - Excellence in Public Affairs 2012 American Assoc. Political Consultants - Best in Show 2012 DAVIESPUBLICAFFAIRS.COM | LOS ANGELES | SANTA BARBARA | WASHINGTON, DC
  • 16. AGENCIES OF THE YEAR Agency Report Card 2012 LARGE AGENCY OF THE YEAR: GOLINHARRIS A little under two years ago, GolinHarris announced a comprehensive restructuring of its business, replacing the traditional practice areas with a radically reimagined structure that divided its people between four communities: strategists (for insight and analytics), creators (for content), connectors (for engagement), and catalysts (account leaders). It was a bold move, designed to help one of the smaller full-service multinationals compete with their larger peers—and the early evidence suggests that it has succeeded. GolinHarris enjoyed perhaps the best year in its history in 2012. Growth of 17 percent (about half of it organic) was among the best of the large agencies. New business from the likes of Walmart, Cisco, Baxter, Lilly, American Greetings, Mondelez, and The Hartford demonstrated that it was capable of competing against and beating larger firms for prestige accounts. Award-winning products like real-time marketing offer The Bridge showed a commitment to innovation. And high marks on our Best Agencies to Work For research indicated that employees have bought into the new model.—PH HONORABLE MENTION: Edelman, Fleishman-Hillard, Ketchum, Weber Shandwick   MIDSIZE AGENCY OF THE YEAR: GIBBS & SOELL FOR most of its 40-year history, Gibbs & Soell has been a steady performer, content with consistent single-digit growth and a reputation for rolling up its sleeves and delivering solid media results for its clients. But 2012 was a break with tradition in more ways the one. First, the firm restructured: refocusing on a few key industries in which it has genuine depth, including advanced manufacturing, agribusiness and food, home and building and professional services. Second, developing a suite of digital and creative service. And third, launching new business consulting, employee engagement and sustainability groups that provided value-added strategic aspects to the firm’s offer. The payoff was impressive: 34 percent growth, taking the firm to within a whisker of $20 million in fees; new business in every key sector, including Hafele, Trudeau, Xuber, Lord Corporation, Gevo, Intertek, Harris Interactive, Rexel, Panasonic Power Tools, and Florida East Coast Railway; thought leadership including its Sense & Sustainability study an conference; and creative recognition, including Silver SABRE Awards for its media relations work for Harris Interactive and its creation of a new brand identity for Syngenta.—PH HONORABLE MENTION: Cone, DKC, Havas PR, MWW 14 www.holmesreport.com SMALL AGENCY OF THE YEAR: SHIFT COMMUNICATIONS AFTER winning Digital Agency of the Year in 2012, SHIFT continued its impressive upward trajectory over the past 12 months, growing around 20 percent to almost $15m, a rate that suggests it will soon outgrow this category. Just as importantly, the firm continued to evolve an offering that blends earned, paid and owned media, via an industryleading approach to content and analytics. Significantly, a strong new business haul reflected the firm’s expansion beyond its technology heartland, illustrated by such new clients as McDonald’s, Toyota and Tyson Foods, along with eye-catching work for Rethink Robotics and Zoosk. There were some high-profile creative and digital hires and, notably, the firm became one of a handful to implement an employee stock ownership plan.—ASu HONORABLE MENTION: Fahlgren Mortine, Jackson Spalding, Kwittken & Company, Mitchell Communications Group   BOUTIQUE AGENCY OF THE YEAR: FOODMINDS SINCE its launch in 2006, FoodMinds has established itself as a thought leader in the food and beverage sector, growing at an impressive rate—fees were up 38 percent in 2012, to close to $5 million—and taking a lead role in the dialogue on nutrition topics. The firm added 13 new clients last year, including the Almond Board of California, the American Heart Association, the Council for Responsible Nutrition, the Institute of Food Technologists, Micropharma and its Cardioviva product, and Nestlé, and deepened a bench of experts that already included partners Laura Cubillos, Bill Layden and Susan Pitman with five registered dietitians. The firm also picked up a 2012 Gold SABRE for its public affairs campaign on behalf of the National Potato Council, ensuring that potatoes keep their place on school menus.—PH HONORABLE MENTION: 360 Public Relations, Borders & Gratehouse, Brew, Southard Communications   NEW AGENCY OF THE YEAR: THE HATCH AGENCY LAUNCHED in January 2012 by OutCast alumni Reema Bahnasy and Amy Swanson, this next-generation Silicon Valley boutique has already driven three high-profile exits: Karma, acquired by Facebook; Snip.It by Yahoo; and Mailbox by Dropbox. Beyond this, the agency maintains a stellar portfolio of innovation players, especially considering this is only its second year of business. These clients include Dropbox, Highlight, Path, Quora and Beats by Dr. Dre. The 14-person shop takes the approach that influence
  • 17. Agencies of the Year still matters, defining this— not only by solid media relations—but also with experiential events and content creation.—ASh HONORABLE MENTION: CONSUMER AGENCY OF THE YEAR: ZENO GROUP Hotwire, M&C Saatchi, the 10 company, Zing ZENO Group has more doubled in size in the US since Barby Siegel took over as chief executive three years ago, and in 2012 it added   international operations, opening European CANADIAN AGENCY OF office in London and Amsterdam and an Asian THE YEAR: hub. Growth over the past 12 months was close to 50 percent—it ended the year with CITIZEN OPTIMUM more than $20 million in fees—and there were A year after Optimum rebranded to become Citinew clients across four core practice areas zen Optimum—a part of the international Citizen (consumer, corporate, health and technology) Relations group that also includes the former including Allergan, Bausch & Lomb, Kmart, PainePR in the US—the firm has restructured McAfee and Pinkberry. The firm also added its practices and launched several new sersenior talent, recruiting John Hollywood from vices under the leadership of Canadian general Cohn & Wolfe to lead consumer and industry manager Nick Cowling, and Isabelle Perras, who veteran Ame Wadler to lead healthcare. But leads the French Canadian offer out of Montreal perhaps the most important achievement it and Quebec City offices. Canadian fee income carving out a distinctly different personality, grew by about 22 percent in 2012, to around $8 based on its “fearless” positioning, from parent million (US), picking up new work from marquee Edelman, evidenced by its outstanding creative client Procter & Gamble, and produced awardwork for clients such as Pizza Hut and Four winning work for the Pampers brand, Tourism Seasons.—PH British Columbia, and Capital One Canada’s HONORABLE MENTION: financial literacy initiative.—PH HONORABLE MENTION: Edelman, Energi, Hill+Knowlton Strategies, NATIONAL Public Relations   LATIN AMERICAN AGENCY OF THE YEAR: Catalyst, DeVries, Marina Maher Communications, PMK*BNC   CORPORATE AGENCY OF THE YEAR: PROSEK PARTNERS IT was a busy year for Prosek Partners, which changed its name (from CJP Communications), opened a wholly-owned London office, made an impression in the hypercompetitive mergers and acquisition arena (ranked 11th in the US by volume of deals and by value of deals, according to mergermarket) and grew by 20 percent to end the year with fees of $15 million and a place among the top 25 independent in the US. The firm, which is best known for its work in the financial and professional services arena, works for big corporate names such as GE Capital, RBS, Lloyd’s, Edward Jones, OppenheimerFunds, Franklin Templeton and ING and picked up new assignments from RBC and Genworth as well as working on a high-profile crisis assignment for Dow Jones.—PH HONORABLE MENTION: Dix & Eaton, Gagen MacDonald, Sloane & Company, Widmeyer Communications   CREATIVE AGENCY OF THE YEAR: CARMICHAEL LYNCH SPONG WITH 57 Silver Anvils and 21 SABREs to its name, no midsize public relations agency has won more major awards over the years than Carmichael Lynch Spong—which makes it a little strange that the firm had never won our Creative BURSON-MARSTELLER BURSON-MARSTELLER was a pioneer in the Latin American region, opening its first regional office in São Paulo in 1977 and building and maintaining its network through periods of economic and political instability. Today—after a year of healthy double digit growth in 2012—the firm has more than 300 people in offices in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia (the fastest growing market right now), Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico, Uruguay and Venezuela. New business last year came from Akzo Nobel, Mondelez, PIMCO, Procter & Gamble, and Unilever, abd there was growth from existing clients including Ford and Intel. One highlight last year was the growth of the digital and social media practice under the leadership of Cely Carmo; another was winning a Global SABRE Award—the first presented to a Latin American campaign—for public affairs work on behalf of Mars’ Pedigree pet food brand.—PH HONORABLE MENTION: FSB, Imagem Corporotiva, Llorente & Cuenca, JeffreyGroup 41 East 11th Street, New York 10003 • (212) 905-6060 www.TrylonSMR.com
  • 18. Agency Report Card 2012 Agency of the Year award until now. But its three Silver SABREs (a guerrilla marketing effort for Save-a-Lot, a Twinkie-themed publicity stunt for Supervalu and Jewel-Osco, and photographic work for Merrick Pet Care signaled an especially good year for the firm, as did four Gold SABRE nominations. That kind of work has helped CLS retain its large, sevenfigure clients over a long period of time: Sherwin-Williams, Supervalu, DSM, Jack Link’s, Trane, American Standard and Rapala have all called CLS agency of record from eight to 21 years. And new business in 2012 came from Tempur-Pedic, Merrick, and First Bankcard.—PH HONORABLE MENTION: Coyne PR, Exponent, Ketchum, RF Binder   FINANCIAL AGENCY OF THE YEAR: SARD VERBINNEN ‘Obamacare’ brief, Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and Brigham & Women’s Hospital, and growth from existing clients such as Novartis and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Perhaps most impressive, however, was the launch of Element, a new scientific communications specialty that draws on MDs, PhDs, MSs and other scientific experts across the Weber Shandwick network.—PH HONORABLE MENTION: Biosector 2, Cohn & Wolfe, Dodge Communications, GCI Health, ReviveHealth   PUBLIC AFFAIRS AGENCY OF THE YEAR: SINGER ASSOCIATES IN 2012, Sard Verbinnen was recognized as the number one M&A PR advisor in terms of both value and volume of deals in the United States by mergermarket, and continued to be one of the leaders in crisis communications and litigation support, investor relations, and corporate positioning work. Highlights included advising Deutsche Telekom and T-Mobile on the contested pending acquisition of MetroPCS; McGraw-Hill on the DOJ lawsuit against Standard & Poors; NYSE Euronext on its pending acquisition by ICE; Forest Laboratories on its successful proxy defense against Carl Icahn; and Alibaba Group on the privatization of Alibaba.com.—PH HAVING established itself as the go-to public affairs shop in Northern California, Singer Associates continued its high-profile streak of business in 2012 with clients that include the City of San Bruno as it fought to collect $70 million in damages from PG&E for a 2010 natural gas explosion. Last year, the agency grew 15 percent, pulling nearly $5 million in revenue with only 12 full-time staff. Among its new clients were the City of Los Angeles, AirBnB, Hilton Hotels and Safeway, adding to its existing base that includes Chevron, Calpine, Bay Area Rapid Transit and the City of Oakland.—ASu HONORABLE MENTION: Burson-Marsteller, Fleishman-Hillard, Global Strategy Group, Ogilvy Government Relations    Abernathy MacGregor, Brunswick, Joele Frank Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher, Kekst and Company HONORABLE MENTION:     DIGITAL AGENCY OF THE YEAR: W2O GROUP LONG before “big data’ became one of the most fashionable terms in the public relations lexicon, W2O was investing in the kind of resources that could establish it as a leader in the space. That investment continued apace in 2012, acquiring Mettle Consulting in the UK to build analytics products and offerings focused on reputation, trust and governance, and Ravel in the US to deliver a combination of historical information and real-time insights to clients; creating MDigital Life to help understand how physicians are using social media to improve patient health; and launching W2O Group/Newhouse Center for Social Commerce in partnership with Syracuse University to build on the social commerce leadership of founder Jim Weiss and social media guru Bob Pearson.—PH HONORABLE MENTION: M Booth, Edelman, Grow, Social@Ogilvy HEALTHCARE AGENCY OF THE YEAR: WEBER SHANDWICK IN the 21st century, it is no longer enough for a healthcare public relations firm to have a large roster of big pharma clients, and no firm has done a better job of diversifying its portfolio than Weber Shandwick. Under the leadership of Laura Schoen, its global health practice has a strong portfolio of clients in the biotechnology, pharmaceutical, consumer health, medical devices, health IT, insurance, professional associations, health systems and hospitals, with major new assignments in 2012 including the high-profile Health & Human Services Department 16 www.holmesreport.com TECHNOLOGY AGENCY OF THE YEAR: THE OUTCAST AGENCY MORE than two years after its founders Margit Wennmachers and Caryn Marooney departed the firm, OutCast remains among the most respected­ and sought after—tech agencies. Under the leadership of — new CEO Alex Constantinople, the agency has retained a high-profile client portfolio that includes Facebook, Amazon, Box, Zynga, Andreesen Horowitz, Spotify, Dolby, and Pinterest. OutCast continues to assemble an all-star roster that is diversified beyond pure tech players with additions, such as, L’Oreal, GE and Sephora. With revenues of $18.7 million generated by 90 employees primarily in San Francisco and New York, the agency is well-placed, especially as it makes investments in creative services and brand/integrated marketing this year.—ASh HONORABLE MENTION: SparkPR, Edelman, Waggener Edstrom, Access Communications    
  • 19. Finemanpr.com | San Francisco | F T @finemanpr Celebrating 25 years of award-winning public relations campaigns, BRAND PR programs, fully integrated strategies + industry accolades. L L L L L L WE’VE GOT YOUR C-SUITE COVERED. CONSUMER CORPORATE CRISIS CREATIVE CONTENT CONVERSATION
  • 20. Agency Report Card 2013 ALPHABETICAL INDEX A The Abernathy MacGregor Group................ 68 Access Communications ............................ 67 Ackermann PR............................................ 70 Airfoil Public Relations.................................. 70 Allidura Consumer....................................... 71 Allison+Partners.......................................... 71 APCO Worldwide........................................ 28 Arketi Group................................................ 71 Atomic PR................................................... 72 B Biosector2................................................... 72 Bite ............................................................. 73 Blaze PR..................................................... 73 Blick&Staff Communications........................ 74 Bliss Integrated Communications................ 74 Bolt Public Relations.................................... 74 M Booth ..................................................... 75 Max Borges Agency.................................... 75 Brew Media Relations.................................. 76 Brodeur Partners......................................... 76 Brunswick Group......................................... 77 Burson Marstellar........................................ 32 C Capstrat...................................................... 78 Carmichael Lynch Spong............................. 78 Catalyst....................................................... 79 Chamberlain Healthcare PR......................... 79 Chandler Chicco Agency............................. 80 Citizen Relations.......................................... 80 Cohn & Wolfe.............................................. 34 Cone........................................................... 81 Cooney/Waters Group................................. 82 CooperKatz & Company.............................. 82 Coyne Public Relations................................ 83 Crenshaw Communications......................... 83 Crossroads.................................................. 84 D DKC............................................................ 84 Davies Public Affairs.................................... 85 DeVries Public Relations.............................. 86 Dix & Eaton................................................. 86 Dodge Communications.............................. 87 E Eastwick...................................................... 87 Edelman...................................................... 36 energi PR.................................................... 88 Englander Knabe & Allen............................. 88 Exponent..................................................... 88 F Fahlgren Mortine.......................................... 89 Fineman PR................................................. 90 Finn Partners............................................... 90 5W.............................................................. 91 FleishmanHillard.......................................... 40 FoodMinds.................................................. 91 Formula PR................................................. 92 Joele Frank Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher....... 92 French/West/Vaughan................................. 93 G GCI Health................................................... 94 18 www.holmesreport.com Gable PR..................................................... 95 Gage........................................................... 95 Gagen MacDonald...................................... 95 Gibbs & Soell............................................... 96 Global Results Communications.................. 97 Global Strategy Group................................. 97 Glover Park Group....................................... 98 GolinHarris................................................... 42 Goodman Media International...................... 98 Graham & Associates.................................. 99 Green Room................................................ 99 Grisko.......................................................... 99 The Grossman Group................................ 100 GroundFloor Media.................................... 100 Group Gordon...........................................101` McNeely Pigott & Fox Public Relations...... 120 Middleberg Cmmunications....................... 120 William Mills Agency.................................. 120 Mitchell Communications Group................ 121 H PAN Communications ............................... 123 PMK*BNC................................................. 123 Padilla CRT............................................... 124 Pollack PR Marketing Group...................... 124 Peppercomm............................................ 125 Porter Novelli............................................... 58 Prosek Partners......................................... 126 Public Communications, Inc...................... 126 Lou Hammond & Associates..................... 102 Hatch ....................................................... 102 Havas PR.................................................. 102 Hennes Paynter Communications.............. 103 Highwire PR ............................................. 103 Hill & Knowlton Strategies............................ 44 The Hoffman Agency................................. 104 Horn ......................................................... 104 Hotwire...................................................... 104 Hunter PR................................................. 105 I Inner Circle Labs........................................ 106 Intermarket Communications..................... 106 J JPA Health Communications..................... 107 JSH&A Communications........................... 107 Jackson Spalding...................................... 108 JeffreyGroup.............................................. 108 K K/F Communications................................. 109 Kaplow...................................................... 109 Karwoski & Courage.................................. 110 Kearns & West........................................... 110 Kekst and Company.................................. 111 Ketchum...................................................... 48 Kel & Partners........................................... 111 Kohnstamm Communications................... 111 Konnect PR .............................................. 112 kwittken + company worldwide................. 112 L LVM Group................................................ 113 LaGrant Communications ......................... 113 Landis Communications............................ 113 Lane PR.................................................... 114 LaunchSquad............................................ 114 Levick Strategic Communications.............. 115 Lewis PR................................................... 115 Lippe Taylor Brand Communications......... 116 M MBS Value Partners................................... 116 MCS Healthcare Public Relations.............. 116 MGA Communications.............................. 117 MRB.......................................................... 117 MSLGroup................................................... 50 MWW Group............................................... 52 Marina Maher Communications................. 118 Makovsky + Company............................... 118 March PR.................................................. 119 N National Public Relations........................... 121 O Ogilvy PR Worldwide................................... 56 Olson Engage............................................ 122 O’Malley Hansen Communications............ 122 The OutCast Agency ................................ 123 P R rbb Public Relations................................... 127 RF|Binder.................................................. 127 Racepoint Group....................................... 128 Rasky Baerlein Strategic Communications.128 ReviveHealth............................................. 130 Rogers & Cowan....................................... 130 Ruder Finn................................................... 60 S Sard Verbinnen & Co................................. 131 Schneider & Associates............................. 131 Shift Communications............................... 132 Singer Associates...................................... 132 Sitrick & Company..................................... 132 Sloane & Company.................................... 134 Smith & Harroff.......................................... 134 Southard Communications........................ 135 Sparkpr..................................................... 135 The Standing Partnership.......................... 136 Stevens Strategic Communications........... 136 Story Partners........................................... 136 Stuntman PR............................................. 137 Sunwest Communications......................... 137 SutherlandGold......................................... 138 T Taylor ........................................................ 138 the 10 company........................................ 139 Text 100.................................................... 139 360 Public Relations^139 Trevelino Keller Communications Group..... 140 Trylon SMR................................................ 140 Tunheim..................................................... 141 W W2O............................................................ 62 Waggener Edstrom...................................... 64 Warschawski............................................. 141 Weber Shandwick....................................... 66 Z Zapwater................................................... 141 Zeno Group............................................... 142 Zing........................................................... 142
  • 21. It’s Not What You Say About Yourself That Matters But What Others Say Here’s what has been said about Sitrick And Company: “The City’s Most Prominent Crisis Management Firm.” The New York Times “Now (they) have hired Michael Sitrick, whose Los Angeles public-relations firm is known for going atomic on opponents, using “truth squads” (which dig up alleged inaccuracies in the media), “wheel-ofpain” tactics (negative publicity to quicken settlements), and high-profile journalists (who write profiles).” — Business Week “The firm is also home to perhaps the most concentrated congregation of journalistic talent in the public relations business. The vast majority of its senior professionals are former editors, reporters, and correspondents at such publications as Newsweek, the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, CBS News, and NPR, with most of the others having spent time in senior corporate communications positions.” — The Holmes Report “Like more than one figure caught in a media cyclone, (he) had turned to one of the most accomplished practitioners of the dark arts of public relations ... The Winston Wolf of public relations had arrived. Wolf, as you will recall, was the fixer in Pulp Fiction … he washed away assassins’ blood and gore. Sitrick cleans up the messes of companies, celebrities, and others, and he’s a strategist who isn’t adverse to treating PR as combat.” — Fortune To learn more about what people are saying about Sitrick And Company, go to our website: www.sitrick.com Corporate, Financial, Transactional, Reputational and Crisis Communications Los Angeles • New York • San Francisco • Chicago • Washington, D.C. 800-288-8809
  • 22. Agency Report Card 2013 GEOGRAPHICAL INDEX ALABAMA birmingham Story Partners.................................. 136 ARKANSAS fayetteville Mitchell Communications Group....... 121 ARIZONA phoenix Allison+Partners................................. 71 Brodeur Partners................................ 76 CALIFORNIA irvine Bolt Public Relations........................... 74 Citizen Relations................................. 80 Global Results Communications......... 97 los angeles The Abernathy MacGregor Group....... 68 Allison+Partners................................. 71 Atomic PR.......................................... 72 Biosector2.......................................... 72 Blaze PR............................................ 73 Brew Media Relations......................... 76 Catalyst.............................................. 79 Chandler Chicco Agency.................... 80 Crenshaw Communications................ 83 DKC................................................... 84 Davies Public Affairs........................... 85 Englander Knabe & Allen.................... 88 Finn Partners...................................... 90 Formula PR........................................ 92 French/West/Vaughan........................ 93 GCI Health.......................................... 94 Global Strategy Group........................ 97 Glover Park Group.............................. 98 Goodman Media International............. 98 Konnect PR ..................................... 112 LaGrant Communications ................ 113 Lewis PR.......................................... 115 PMK*BNC........................................ 123 Padilla CRT...................................... 124 Pollack PR Marketing Group............. 124 ReviveHealth.................................... 130 Rogers & Cowan.............................. 130 Sard Verbinnen & Co........................ 131 Sitrick & Company............................ 132 Southard Communications............... 135 Taylor ............................................... 138 Text 100........................................... 139 Zeno Group...................................... 142 Zing.................................................. 142 sacramento Kearns & West.................................. 110 san diego Allison+Partners................................. 71 Formula PR........................................ 92 Gable PR............................................ 95 san jose Lewis PR.......................................... 115 20 www.holmesreport.com san francisco The Abernathy MacGregor Group....... 68 Access Communications ................... 67 Allison+Partners................................. 71 Atomic PR.......................................... 72 Biosector2.......................................... 72 Bite .................................................... 73 Brunswick Group................................ 77 Citizen Relations................................. 80 Eastwick............................................. 87 Fineman PR........................................ 90 Finn Partners...................................... 90 GCI Health.......................................... 94 Graham & Associates......................... 99 Hatch .............................................. 102 Highwire PR .................................... 103 Horn ................................................ 104 Hotwire............................................. 104 Inner Circle Labs............................... 106 K/F Communications........................ 109 Kearns & West.................................. 110 Kekst and Company......................... 111 Landis Communications................... 113 LaunchSquad................................... 114 Lewis PR.......................................... 115 Olson Engage................................... 122 The OutCast Agency ....................... 123 Peppercomm................................... 125 Racepoint Group.............................. 128 Sard Verbinnen & Co........................ 131 Shift Communications...................... 132 Singer Associates............................. 132 Sloane & Company........................... 134 Sparkpr............................................ 135 SutherlandGold................................ 138 Text 100........................................... 139 Finn Partners...................................... 90 Global Strategy Group........................ 97 Glover Park Group.............................. 98 JPA Health Communications............ 107 Kearns & West.................................. 110 Levick Strategic Communications..... 115 Lewis PR.......................................... 115 Racepoint Group.............................. 128 Story Partners.................................. 136 Zeno Group...................................... 142 FLORIDA ft lauderdale Fahlgren Mortine................................. 89 miami Max Borges Agency........................... 75 JeffreyGroup..................................... 108 rbb Public Relations.......................... 127 Rogers & Cowan.............................. 130 tampa French/West/Vaughan........................ 93 GEORGIA atlanta Allison+Partners................................. 71 Arketi Group....................................... 71 Dodge Communications..................... 87 GCI Health.......................................... 94 Jackson Spalding............................. 108 William Mills Agency......................... 120 Trevelino Keller Communications Group............... 140 ILLINOIS chicago MARYLAND baltimore Warschawski.................................... 141 MASSACHUSETTS boston Brodeur Partners................................ 76 Cone.................................................. 81 GCI Health.......................................... 94 Green Room....................................... 99 JPA Health Communications............ 107 Kel & Partners.................................. 111 LaunchSquad................................... 114 Lewis PR.......................................... 115 March PR......................................... 119 PAN Communications ...................... 123 Racepoint Group.............................. 128 Rasky Baerlein Strategic Communications........... 128 Schneider & Associates.................... 131 Shift Communications...................... 132 Sloane & Company........................... 134 Text 100........................................... 139 360 Public Relations......................... 139 MICHIGAN detroit Airfoil Public Relations......................... 70 MINNESOTA minneapolis Carmichael Lynch Spong.................... 78 Exponent............................................ 88 Gage.................................................. 95 Karwoski & Courage......................... 110 Kohnstamm Communications.......... 111 Olson Engage................................... 122 Padilla CRT...................................... 124 Tunheim............................................ 141 Prosek Partners................................ 126 The Abernathy MacGregor Group....... 68 Allison+Partners................................. 71 Bliss Integrated Communications....... 74 DKC................................................... 84 Finn Partners...................................... 90 FoodMinds......................................... 91 Gagen MacDonald............................. 95 Gibbs & Soell...................................... 96 Grisko................................................. 99 The Grossman Group....................... 100 Havas PR......................................... 102 Highwire PR .................................... 103 JSH&A Communications.................. 107 Olson Engage................................... 122 O’Malley Hansen Communications... 122 Public Communications, Inc............. 126 Sard Verbinnen & Co........................ 131 Southard Communications............... 135 Taylor ............................................... 138 Zapwater.......................................... 141 Zeno Group...................................... 142 DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA LOUISIANA Coyne Public Relations....................... 83 washington new orleans Allison+Partners................................. 71 Brodeur Partners................................ 76 Brunswick Group................................ 77 Chandler Chicco Agency.................... 80 DKC................................................... 84 Story Partners.................................. 136 MCS Healthcare Public Relations..... 116 silicon valley Airfoil Public Relations......................... 70 Atomic PR.......................................... 72 Eastwick............................................. 87 The Hoffman Agency........................ 104 COLORADO boulder Glover Park Group.............................. 98 GroundFloor Media........................... 100 denver Fahlgren Mortine................................. 89 Kearns & West.................................. 110 MGA Communications..................... 117 CONNECTICUT hartford Global Strategy Group........................ 97 stamford MISSOURI kansas city Crossroads......................................... 84 st. louis Blick&Staff Communications............... 74 O’Malley Hansen Communications... 122 The Standing Partnership................. 136 NEW HAMPSHIRE portsmouth Brodeur Partners................................ 76 NEW JERSEY freehold MRB................................................. 117 parsippany summit
  • 23. When Judgement + Experience Matter Most When facing serious challenges that demand immediate and effective communications strategy and execution, public and private companies as well as not-for-profit institutions count on KEKST for sound judgment and experience that make the difference. • Crisis Communications • Mergers & Acquisitions • Corporate Governance and Shareholder Activism • Litigation and Regulatory Support • Private Equity and Hedge Fund Communications • Bankruptcy & Restructuring • Corporate Positioning and Investor Relations For further information visit www.kekst.com or call 212-521-4800
  • 24. Agency Report Card 2013 NEW YORK albany DKC................................................... 84 new york The Abernathy MacGregor Group....... 68 Access Communications ................... 67 Allidura Consumer.............................. 71 Allison+Partners................................. 71 Atomic PR.......................................... 72 Biosector2.......................................... 72 Bite .................................................... 73 Bliss Integrated Communications....... 74 M Booth ............................................ 75 Brew Media Relations......................... 76 Brodeur Partners................................ 76 Brunswick Group................................ 77 Carmichael Lynch Spong.................... 78 Catalyst.............................................. 79 Chamberlain Healthcare PR................ 79 Chandler Chicco Agency.................... 80 Citizen Relations................................. 80 Cooney/Waters Group........................ 82 CooperKatz & Company..................... 82 Coyne Public Relations....................... 83 Crenshaw Communications................ 83 DKC................................................... 84 DeVries Public Relations..................... 86 Finn Partners...................................... 90 5W..................................................... 91 Formula PR........................................ 92 Joele Frank Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher............ 92 French/West/Vaughan........................ 93 GCI Health.......................................... 94 Gibbs & Soell...................................... 96 Global Strategy Group........................ 97 Glover Park Group.............................. 98 Goodman Media International............. 98 Group Gordon.................................. 101 Lou Hammond & Associates............ 102 Havas PR......................................... 102 Horn ................................................ 104 Hotwire............................................. 104 Hunter PR........................................ 105 Intermarket Communications............ 106 JeffreyGroup..................................... 108 Kaplow............................................. 109 Kekst and Company......................... 111 kwittken + company worldwide........ 112 LVM Group....................................... 113 Lane PR........................................... 114 LaunchSquad................................... 114 Levick Strategic Communications..... 115 Lewis PR.......................................... 115 Lippe Taylor Brand Communications.116 MBS Value Partners.......................... 116 Marina Maher Communications........ 118 Makovsky + Company...................... 118 Middleberg Cmmunications.............. 120 National Public Relations.................. 121 Olson Engage................................... 122 The OutCast Agency ....................... 123 PMK*BNC........................................ 123 22 www.holmesreport.com Padilla CRT...................................... 124 Pollack PR Marketing Group............. 124 Peppercomm................................... 125 Prosek Partners................................ 126 rbb Public Relations.......................... 127 RF|Binder......................................... 127 Rogers & Cowan.............................. 130 Sard Verbinnen & Co........................ 131 Shift Communications...................... 132 Sitrick & Company............................ 132 Sloane & Company........................... 134 Southard Communications............... 135 Sparkpr............................................ 135 Stuntman PR.................................... 137 Taylor ............................................... 138 the 10 company............................... 139 Text 100........................................... 139 360 Public Relations......................... 139 Trylon SMR....................................... 140 Zeno Group...................................... 142 Zing.................................................. 142 rochester SOUTH CAROLINA charleston Lou Hammond & Associates............ 102 TENNESSEE knoxville Ackermann PR................................... 70 McNeely Pigott & Fox Public Relations........................... 120 nashxville houston The Abernathy MacGregor Group....... 68 alexandria norfolk raleigh WASHINGTON Bolt Public Relations........................... 74 Capstrat............................................. 78 French/West/Vaughan........................ 93 Gibbs & Soell...................................... 96 seattle OHIO Allison+Partners................................. 71 Atomic PR.......................................... 72 Lewis PR.......................................... 115 Text 100........................................... 139 cleveland WEST VIRGINIA Dix & Eaton........................................ 86 Fahlgren Mortine................................. 89 Hennes Paynter Communications..... 103 Stevens Strategic Communications.. 136 charleston cinncinnatti buenos aires Fahlgren Mortine................................. 89 JeffreyGroup..................................... 108 Fahlgren Mortine................................. 89 ARGENTINA BRAZIL dayton são paulo Fahlgren Mortine................................. 89 JeffreyGroup..................................... 108 toledo CANADA calgary National Public Relations.................. 121 portland montreal The Hoffman Agency........................ 104 Kearns & West.................................. 110 Lane PR........................................... 114 Citizen Relations................................. 80 energi PR........................................... 88 National Public Relations.................. 121 quebec city Citizen Relations................................. 80 philadelphia toronto Chandler Chicco Agency.................... 80 Citizen Relations................................. 80 energi PR........................................... 88 GCI Health.......................................... 94 National Public Relations.................. 121 Zeno Group...................................... 142 pittsburgh Havas PR......................................... 102 london Atomic PR.......................................... 72 Biosector2.......................................... 72 Bite .................................................... 73 Brodeur Partners................................ 76 Chandler Chicco Agency.................... 80 Gibbs & Soell...................................... 96 The Hoffman Agency........................ 104 Hotwire............................................. 104 Prosek Partners................................ 126 Racepoint Group.............................. 128 Sparkpr............................................ 135 Text 100........................................... 139 Smith & Harroff................................. 134 PENNSYLVANIA UK INTERNATIONAL OPERATIONS charlotte OREGON JeffreyGroup..................................... 108 Allison+Partners................................. 71 Brunswick Group................................ 77 Jackson Spalding............................. 108 LaGrant Communications ................ 113 Sunwest Communications................ 137 Padilla CRT...................................... 124 Fahlgren Mortine................................. 89 mexico city dallas NORTH CAROLINA Fahlgren Mortine................................. 89 MEXICO TEXAS VIRGINIA columbus Citizen Relations................................. 80 National Public Relations.................. 121 PMK*BNC........................................ 123 Peppercomm................................... 125 Rogers & Cowan.............................. 130 ReviveHealth.................................... 130 Text 100........................................... 139 Catalyst.............................................. 79 Taylor ............................................... 138 vancouver
  • 25. Agency Report Card 2012 SPECIALTY INDEX BOUTIQUE Airfoil Public Relations......................... 70 Blaze PR............................................ 73 Brew Media Relations......................... 76 Graham & Associates......................... 99 Kohnstamm Communications.......... 111 LVM Group....................................... 113 Schneider & Associates.................... 131 Sunwest Communications................ 137 Karwoski & Courage......................... 110 Kel & Partners.................................. 111 Konnect PR ..................................... 112 Landis Communications................... 113 LaunchSquad................................... 114 Lippe Taylor Brand Communications.116 Marina Maher Communications........ 118 Mitchell Communications Group....... 121 O’Malley Hansen Communications... 122 PAN Communications ...................... 123 BRAND BUILDING Pollack PR Marketing Group............. 124 Blick&Staff Communications............... 74 RF|Binder......................................... 127 Carmichael Lynch Spong.................... 78 Citizen Relations................................. 80 Cone.................................................. 81 DeVries Public Relations..................... 86 Southard Communications............... 135 Sparkpr............................................ 135 Middleberg Communications............ 120 Mitchell Communications Group....... 121 Peppercomm................................... 125 Racepoint Group.............................. 128 Stevens Strategic Communications.. 136 Story Partners.................................. 136 360 Public Relations^139 Davies Public Affairs........................... 85 CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS Lippe Taylor Brand Communications.116 Lewis PR.......................................... 115 Zeno Group...................................... 142 Lou Hammond & Associates............ 102 Kaplow............................................. 109 Horn ................................................ 104 Kaplow............................................. 109 ENERGY Zing.................................................. 142 JSH&A Communications.................. 107 M Booth ............................................ 75 CooperKatz & Company..................... 00 Stuntman PR.................................... 137 French/West/Vaughan........................ 93 Hunter PR........................................ 105 DIGITAL The Abernathy MacGregor Group....... 68 Cone.................................................. 81 Joele Frank Wilkinson Cohn & Wolfe..................................... 34 Edelman............................................. 36 FleishmanHillard................................. 40 GolinHarris.......................................... 42 Hill+Knowlton Strategies..................... 44 Ketchum............................................. 48 MGA Communications..................... 117 MSLGroup.......................................... 50 MWW Group...................................... 52 Ogilvy PR Worldwide.......................... 56 Padilla CRT...................................... 124 Porter Novelli...................................... 58 RF|Binder......................................... 127 Ruder Finn.......................................... 60 Stevens Strategic Communications.. 136 W20................................................... 62 Waggener Edstrom............................. 64 EMPLOYEE COMMUNICATIONS Weber Shandwick.............................. 66 Gagen MacDonald............................. 95 Zapwater.......................................... 141 The Grossman Group....................... 100 HEALTHCARE Tunheim............................................ 141 Airfoil Public Relations......................... 70 ENTERTAINMENT Biosector2.......................................... 72 Gagen MacDonald............................. 95 Atomic PR.......................................... 72 Bliss Integrated Communications....... 74 GroundFloor Media........................... 100 Catalyst.............................................. 79 Brodeur Partners................................ 76 Group Gordon.................................. 101 DKC................................................... 84 Capstrat............................................. 78 Kekst and Company........................... 00 Goodman Media International............. 98 Chamberlain Healthcare PR................ 79 Mitchell Communications Group....... 121 Chandler Chicco Agency.................... 80 BUSINESS-TO-BUSINESS (B2B) PMK*BNC........................................ 123 National Public Relations.................. 121 Rogers & Cowan.............................. 130 Cooney/Waters Group........................ 82 Arketi Group....................................... 71 O’Malley Hansen Communications... 122 Marina Maher Communications........ 118 Olson Engage................................... 122 Schneider & Associates.................... 131 Taylor ............................................... 138 360 Public Relations^139 Gibbs & Soell...................................... 96 Havas PR......................................... 102 Makovsky + Company...................... 118 March PR......................................... 119 Peppercomm................................... 125 Brimmer Katcher............................ 92 Davies Public Affairs........................... 85 Peppercomm................................... 125 FINANCIAL SERVICES DeVries Public Relations..................... 86 RF|Binder......................................... 127 The Abernathy MacGregor Group....... 68 Dodge Communications..................... 87 Rasky Baerlein Strategic Communications.......................... 128 Sard Verbinnen & Co........................ 131 Sloane & Company........................... 134 Bliss Integrated Communications....... 74 energi PR........................................... 88 Brunswick Group................................ 77 Exponent............................................ 88 Joele Frank Wilkinson 5W..................................................... 91 Brimmer Katcher............................ 92 GCI Health.......................................... 94 CAUSE MARKETING The Standing Partnership................. 136 Group Gordon.................................. 101 Green Room....................................... 99 Blick&Staff Communications............... 74 Sunwest Communications................ 137 Intermarket Communications............ 106 JPA Health Communications............ 107 Crossroads......................................... 84 the 10 company............................... 139 Kekst and Company........................... 00 MCS Healthcare Public Relations..... 116 Graham & Associates......................... 99 Tunheim............................................ 141 Lane PR........................................... 114 Marina Maher Communications........ 118 CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY Levick Strategic Communications..... 115 Makovsky + Company...................... 118 COMMUNITY RELATIONS MBS Value Partners.......................... 116 PAN Communications ...................... 123 Englander Knabe & Allen.................... 88 Global Strategy Group........................ 97 Makovsky + Company...................... 118 RF|Binder......................................... 127 CONSUMER MARKETING CRISIS MANAGEMENT William Mills Agency......................... 120 ReviveHealth.................................... 130 Zeno Group...................................... 142 The Abernathy MacGregor Group....... 68 Prosek Partners................................ 126 Access Communications ................... 67 Blaze PR............................................ 73 Cone.................................................. 81 RF|Binder......................................... 127 M Booth ............................................ 75 Englander Knabe & Allen.................... 88 Max Borges Agency........................... 75 GroundFloor Media........................... 100 CooperKatz & Company..................... 82 Hennes Paynter Communications..... 103 FOOD & BEVERAGE JeffreyGroup..................................... 108 Coyne Public Relations....................... 83 Kekst and Company......................... 111 Exponent............................................ 88 Public Communications, Inc............. 126 Crenshaw Communications................ 83 Levick Strategic Communications..... 115 FoodMinds......................................... 91 energi PR........................................... 88 Sard Verbinnen & Co........................ 131 Kohnstamm Communications.......... 111 Fineman PR........................................ 90 Singer Associates............................. 132 Lane PR........................................... 114 5W..................................................... 91 Sitrick & Company............................ 132 Havas PR......................................... 102 Sloane & Company........................... 134 FULL SERVICE Inner Circle Labs............................... 106 Stevens Strategic Communications.. 136 APCO Worldwide............................... 28 Jackson Spalding............................. 108 Sunwest Communications................ 137 Burson-Marstellar............................... 32 24 www.holmesreport.com Sard Verbinnen & Co........................ 131 Sloane & Company........................... 134 HISPANIC MARKETING Fineman PR........................................ 90 Formula PR........................................ 92 INTEGRATED MARKETING Gage.................................................. 95 Smith & Harroff................................. 134 INTERNATIONAL Intermarket Communications............ 106
  • 26. Agency Report Card 2012 Text 100........................................... 139 INVESTOR RELATIONS The Abernathy MacGregor Group....... 68 Dix & Eaton........................................ 86 Makovsky + Company...................... 118 Prosek Partners................................ 126 Sitrick & Company............................ 132 LIFESTYLE Blaze PR............................................ 73 M Booth ............................................ 75 Catalyst.............................................. 79 DeVries Public Relations..................... 86 Highwire PR .................................... 103 Inner Circle Labs............................... 106 JSH&A Communications.................. 107 Kaplow............................................. 109 Konnect PR ..................................... 112 Landis Communications................... 113 Taylor ............................................... 138 360 Public Relations^139 LITIGATION The Abernathy MacGregor Group....... 68 Levick Strategic Communications..... 115 M&A The Abernathy MacGregor Group....... 68 Brunswick Group................................ 77 Joele Frank Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher............................ 92 Kekst and Company........................... 00 Prosek Partners................................ 126 Sard Verbinnen & Co........................ 131 MARKETING Arketi Group....................................... 71 DKC................................................... 84 Grisko................................................. 99 Landis Communications................... 113 MOBILE Global Results Communications......... 97 Racepoint Group.............................. 128 Arketi Group....................................... 71 Rasky Baerlein Strategic Atomic PR.......................................... 72 Communications.......................... 128 Bite .................................................... 73 Singer Associates............................. 132 Max Borges Agency........................... 75 MULTISPECIALIST Sitrick & Company............................ 132 Brew Media Relations......................... 76 Airfoil Public Relations......................... 70 Sloane & Company........................... 134 Brodeur Partners................................ 76 Smith & Harroff................................. 134 Dodge Communications..................... 87 Story Partners.................................. 136 Eastwick............................................. 87 Text 100........................................... 139 energi PR........................................... 88 Finn Partners...................................... 90 Tunheim............................................ 141 Finn Partners...................................... 90 Formula PR........................................ 92 REAL ESTATE Kel & Partners.................................. 111 Carmichael Lynch Spong.................... 78 CooperKatz & Company..................... 00 Fahlgren Mortine................................. 89 French/West/Vaughan........................ 93 Gable PR............................................ 95 Gibbs & Soell...................................... 96 Group Gordon.................................. 101 Havas PR......................................... 102 Jackson Spalding............................. 108 kwittken + company worldwide........ 112 LaGrant Communications ................ 113 Lane PR........................................... 114 National Public Relations.................. 121 Olson Engage................................... 122 The Standing Partnership................. 136 Trevelino Keller Communications Group............... 140 MULTICULTUAL LaGrant Communications ................ 113 NON-PROFIT Landis Communications................... 113 PRODUCT LAUNCH Schneider & Associates.................... 131 Hatch .............................................. 102 Jackson Spalding............................. 108 Highwire PR .................................... 103 LVM Group....................................... 113 The Hoffman Agency........................ 104 REGIONAL AGENCY Inner Circle Labs............................... 106 K/F Communications........................ 109 McNeely Pigott & Kel & Partners.................................. 111 Fox Public Relations..................... 120 LaunchSquad................................... 114 Public Communications, Inc............. 126 Lewis PR.......................................... 115 rbb Public Relations.......................... 127 MRB................................................. 117 SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING William Mills Agency......................... 120 The OutCast Agency ....................... 123 Citizen Relations................................. 80 PAN Communications ...................... 123 Middleberg Communications............ 120 Racepoint Group.............................. 128 Mitchell Communications Group....... 121 Shift Communications...................... 132 Olson Engage................................... 122 Sparkpr............................................ 135 Shift Communications...................... 132 SutherlandGold................................ 138 SPORTS MARKETING Catalyst.............................................. 79 Kohnstamm Communications.......... 111 LVM Group....................................... 113 MRB................................................. 117 Sitrick & Company............................ 132 Stuntman PR.................................... 137 SutherlandGold................................ 138 Trylon SMR....................................... 140 Warschawski.................................... 141 26 www.holmesreport.com Text 100........................................... 139 Trevelino Keller Communications Group............... 140 PROFESSIONAL SERVICES French/West/Vaughan........................ 93 Bliss Integrated Communications....... 74 Taylor ............................................... 138 Capstrat............................................. 78 STARTUPS TRAVEL & TOURISM Brew Media Relations......................... 76 Lou Hammond & Associates............ 102 LVM Group....................................... 113 Pollack PR Marketing Group............. 124 Horn ................................................ 104 STRATEGIC COUNSELING Horn ................................................ 104 March PR......................................... 119 M Booth ............................................ 75 Brunswick Group................................ 77 Goodman Media International............. 98 Makovsky + Company...................... 118 Bolt Public Relations........................... 74 MEDIA RELATIONS 5W..................................................... 91 Hotwire............................................. 104 Dix & Eaton........................................ 86 Inner Circle Labs............................... 106 DKC................................................... 84 Horn ................................................ 104 Ackermann PR................................... 70 PUBLIC AFFAIRS & ISSUES MANAGEMENT Coyne Public Relations....................... 83 Global Results Communications......... 97 Davies Public Affairs........................... 85 Rogers & Cowan.............................. 130 Bolt Public Relations........................... 74 Gibbs & Soell...................................... 96 Capstrat............................................. 78 Davies Public Affairs........................... 85 Englander Knabe & Allen.................... 88 FoodMinds......................................... 91 Global Strategy Group........................ 97 Glover Park Group.............................. 98 Grisko................................................. 99 Group Gordon.................................. 101 JPA Health Communications............ 107 Kearns & West.................................. 110 Brodeur Partners................................ 76 Brunswick Group................................ 77 Dix & Eaton........................................ 86 Gagen MacDonald............................. 95 Kearns & West.................................. 110 Kekst and Company........................... 00 Singer Associates............................. 132 the 10 company............................... 139 SUSTAINABILITY Levick Strategic Communications..... 115 MGA Communications..................... 117 McNeely Pigott & Fox Public Relations..................... 120 National Public Relations.................. 121 TECHNOLOGY Access Communications ................... 67 Airfoil Public Relations......................... 70 Trylon SMR....................................... 140 Zeno Group...................................... 142 WOMEN Lippe Taylor Brand Communications.116 Southard Communications................. 00
  • 27. IT’S NOT THE SIZE OF THE DOG SIZE OF THEIN THE IT’S NOT THE DOG IN THE FIGHT FIGHT IT’S THE SIZE OF THE IN THE DOG IT’S THE SIZE OF THE IN THE DOG Global communications with impact www.lewispr.com
  • 28. Agency Report Card 2013 APCO WORLDWIDE a small outpost north of the border in Ottawa. INTERNATIONAL REACH Margery Kraus MOMENTUM After taking a recession-related hit in 2009, APCO has bounced back over the past three years, seeing worldwide revenues increase from just under $100 million to just over $122 million, and while growth in North America was modest last year, it continued to positive trend. New business came from a mix of existing clients and new wins: Boeing, Coach, ebay, GE, Honeywell, KFC, May Kay, Pepsi, Rotary International, and the University of Southern California. NATIONAL REACH APCO’s Washington, DC, office is still a powerhouse, home to the majority of its US workforce, a leader in public affairs, with considerable additional strength in corporate communications, and sector expertise in healthcare, financial services and energy. The firm’s New York office now has about 40 people, with particular strength in financial communications and corporate social responsibility, supplemented by the Strawberry Frog advertising and branding operation, which maintains its own Madison Avenue offices. There are smaller US offices in Boston, Chicago, Raleigh-Durham, Sacramento, San Francisco and Seattle, and 28 www.holmesreport.com TALENT APCO is still somewhat smaller across the EMEA region than most of its multinational peers, deriving only about a quarter of its global revenues from its European operations. Its largest EMEA office in London, with a team of more than 50, and has evolved beyond public affairs to include a broad range of corporate reputation work while maintaining the firm’s C-suite focus. The Brussels office, meanwhile, remains focused on EU policy work. But the most impressive growth has come in the Middle East, where APCO acquired local consultancy Ji-Win two years ago. About $11.3 million of APCO’s $120 million worldwide fee income derives from its Asia-Pacific operations, with the strongest growth last year coming in South-East Asia. Key clients in the region include Corning, Diageo, Dow Corning, Huawei, Johnson & Johnson, MasterCard, pharmaceutical trade body PhRMA. APCO remains one of the most top-heavy of the large firms, its focus on high-margin business and its independence providing the freedom to make the kind of investment hires that large holding companies discourage. New over the past 12 months are Mike Tuffin, former EVP of America’s Health Insurance Plans, as managing director in Washington, DC; Rebecca Boles from David All Group as director of digital strategy; as well as a number of key additions to the firm’s unique and impressive international advisory council, from former US Rep. Cliff Stearns to venture capital firm partner Bob Kocher to ex-Harford CCO and CMO Karen Tripp. They join a formidable and largely stable leadership team led by founder and chief executive Margery Kraus, president and COO Neal Cohen, and supported by an international advisory board that provides the team with access to the collective experience of a unique cadre of veteran politicians, business execs, diplomats, and communicators. EXPERTISE CULTURE Thirty years after its launch as a one-person public affairs subsidiary of a DC-based law firm, APCO remains one of the go-to agencies for policy issues in the nation’s capital, but much of the firm’s recent growth has come in other areas, including a wide range of corporate reputation work (CSR, crisis and issues management, employee communications, and more) and expanding brand-building capabilities. It has also established itself as a major player in several sectors, most notably healthcare and consumer goods, but also financial services and energy and clean technology (not coincidentally, highly-regulated businesses). Throw in one of the best research and insights groups in the business, and the Studio Online digital practice, and APCO is a much more well-rounded operation today than it was three or four years ago. APCO’s vision is “to be the trusted partner of choice, creating value by challenging conventional wisdom and providing global service, culture by culture.” To focus on the former, the firm redefined its employee value proposition last year, urging employees to “try something new every day” and “forge your own path,” emphasizing the ability of individuals to define their own “APCO Experience.” The commitment to a one-firm approach to service, meanwhile, manifests itself most obviously with a transfer policy that saw 5 percent of employees take secondments to other offices in 2012, and aims to double that this year.
  • 29. LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR CREATIVE SCIENCE AT MBOOTH.COM OR TELLMEMORE@MBOOTH.COM
  • 30. Agency Report Card 2013 INTELLECTUAL LEADERSHIP APCO has been conducting some of the most interesting research in the business with its focus on “champion brands,” which finds widespread agreement that public expectations regarding corporate conduct have become more demanding, that companies have a role to play in shaping a better society, and that the best companies advocate for the things that are important to their stakeholders, creating shared value. The firm’s predictive risk modeling service, meanwhile, seeks to identify stakeholder concerns before they turn into full-blown crises, while its Return on Reputation indicator seeks to demonstrate the very tangible benefits of a superior reputation—from consumer sales to support for a company’s policy positions to employee engagement and ultimately share price. PROGRAMS The best illustration of APCO’s continued drive to diversify beyond its public affairs roots comes from the range of high-profile assignments, from internal and external communications surrounding CEO succession at Coach to handling supply chain and corporate governance issues for Gap, to health and nutrition messages for Mars, to work for Mary Kay that spans cause related marketing—an anti-domestic violence effort—and social media, including a makeover competition. The firm’s financial communications work, on corporate restructuring at United, Universal Music Group’s acquisition of EMI, and for the MFGlobal bankruptcy trustee has been particularly noteworthy, while in the public affairs realm it worked with Sprint to oppose the proposed AT&T-Tmobile merger and with the American Beverage Association to fight New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposed ban on large sugary drinks. 30 www.holmesreport.com BRAND Traditionally, APCO’s marketing efforts have been led by white papers and other thought leadership, with in-depth looks at topics of Strawberry Frog—really pay off. In the meantime, the firm continues to diversify in terms of the kind of work it does (without losing its focus on high-value C-suite issues) and expand its geographic base. ”THE FIRM CONTINUES TO DIVERSIFY IN TERMS OF THE KIND OF WORK IT DOES (WITHOUT LOSING ITS FOCUS ON HIGH-VALUE C-SUITE ISSUES) AND EXPAND ITS GEOGRAPHIC BASE” ranging from cyber-security to the experience of Chinese companies in the United States. The firm has also published research around its “champion brand” approach, and its Return on Reputation methodology, the latter focused on the pharmaceutical sector in 2012, with new studies on food and chemicals to come in 2013. And APCO renewed its commitment to community service last year, supporting the Clinton Global Initiative and the UN Global Compact, and working with Yunus Social Business and its founder, Mohammed Yunus. All of that is supplemented by a growing social media presence and contributes to a brand that is well differentiated from the other large multinational agencies. THE FUTURE To a certain extent, APCO is now waiting to see whether some of the big bets it has made over the past couple of years—expansion in China, where there would appear to be limitless opportunity for a firm that really understands the government affairs business, and in the Middle East; the acquisition
  • 31. @joshmiko: Everything about today ruled. Meeting the NY team @FinnPartners Going on a boat cruise, drinks on a floating two story barge #newexperiences @Heather_Gordon: On this #LaborDay, I’m thankful to work for the best PR agency on the planet, @FinnPartners #cheesybuttrue @Zafar4Hope: Well done @finnpartners team! Another successful year for the #HyundaiHopeOnWheels program. Thank you for all your hard work. @VisitJamaicaNow: Having a great time presenting #SocialMedia & PR w/@FinnPartners at our tourism industry seminar @SunsetJamaica. Thanks for joining us Finn! @DanRatherReport: Quick words of tks to the great @FinnPartners team for their partnership & support of www.danrather.com & Rather Outspoken over past yr @prosperitygal: Wanted to share with you @DavidBurkus your #PR team is awesomesauce ;) talk to you next week on #BBSradio @AdvantixSystems: 2013 has been a great year for @AdvantixSystems! Thanks to our customers and partners, incl @FinnPartners, for helping us achieve greater EE Best place to work, best results for our clients #justsayin
  • 32. Agency Report Card 2013 BURSON-MARSTELLER a unique resource, and the Prime Policy Group government affairs shop). The firm also has a formidable presence in California (LA, San Diego and San Francisco); Texas (Austin, Dallas and Houston); and Chicago. There are additional offices in Boston, Memphis, Miami (gateway to a formidable Latin American operation), Minneapolis, and Pittsburgh (an unexpected center of creative excellence). In Canada, BM works primarily though longtime partner National Public Relations. INTERNATIONAL REACH Don Baer MOMENTUM A year of transition—Don Baer took over from Mark Penn as worldwide CEO in August—saw global revenues essentially flat, but US fee income was up by about 5 percent, so that Burson-Marsteller remains the largest PR firm within the WPP network. There was new business from existing clients such as Bank of America, Ford, Glaxo SmithKline, and SAP; new business from Heinz, Huawei, Oakley, Progressive, Sikorsky, the Susan G Komen Foundation, T-Mobile, and Walmart; and continued work for long-term marquee clients such as Hormel, HP, Intel, Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, Shell, and Sony. NATIONAL REACH Burson-Masteller has an extensive network of US offices, 14 in all, although the most significant part of its business continues to be concentrated in New York (the lead office for much of its corporate, consumer and healthcare work, home to Proof Integrated Communications and Penn Schoen Berland research units), and Washington, DC, where the firm has one of the most well-rounded public affairs operations in the country (including grassroots specialist Direct Impact, 32 www.holmesreport.com Compared to most of its multinational peers, Burson-Marsteller is either—depending on your perspective—under-represented in the UK (the London office accounts for just 10 percent of EMEA revenues, compared to almost half at some US-based firms) or unusually well-balanced. BM is a market leader in several key markets: in Brussels; in France, where the addition of i&e gives it a team of 140 and strong C-suite relationships; in Finland, where Pohjoisranta was the market leader; and in Africa and the Middle East, where the Arcay and Asda’a acquisitions are now well integrated into the overall operation. After watching many of its rivals catch up and overtake its fabled Asia-Pacific footprint in recent years, Burson-Marsteller—which celebrates its 40th anniversary in Asia this year—has begun to cautiously expand its presence once again. In 2010 it launched in Malaysia, and in 2011 it added a new office in Shenzhen and inked a joint venture with a Vietnamese firm. The firm’s largest Asia-Pacific operations remain in the two fast-growing BRIC economies: India and China. EXPERTISE Burson-Marsteller’s corporate practice—a perennial leader in reputation management, crisis and issues, and corporate responsibility—continues to thrive, with revenues up by 7.5 percent in 2012, thanks to new business from Bank of America (building on the firm’s 30-year relationship with Merrill Lynch). In the public affairs arena, meanwhile, the firm has perhaps the most robust integrated offer in the DC market, bringing together grassroots specialists Direct Impact and the more digitally-focused crowdverb, government relations shop Prime Policy Group, research firm PSB, and the advertising and digital expertise of Proof. But the consumer portfolio has been growing also, with an expansion of the firm’s work with Ford to include relaunching the Lincoln brand, and with top-notch sports marketing capabilities, including Superbowl-related efforts to JBL, Oakley, MetLife and SAP. The technology practice under Sabrina Guttman, has been diversifying beyond big enterprise clients to include consumer tech brands, while the healthcare group under David Zitlow added pharmaceutical and biotech clients in 2012 and introduced a new health policy and advocacy unit. The firm’s digital practice—including chief global strategist Dallas Lawrence and US practice chair Michael Bassik—does not get the attention it deserves, but is particularly strong in the content space. TALENT Former Clinton White House aide and Discovery Communications executive Don Baer was named worldwide chair and chief executive of Burson-Marsteller in August 2012, succeeding Mark Penn, whose sevenyear reign saw a welcome return to growth, accompanied by less welcome internal strife and external controversy. Baer made some changes to the global leadership team, with new roles for Patrick Przybyski as chief operating officer and CFO; Jay Leveton as interim CEO of the Penn Schoen Berland research unit; Karen Hughes as worldwide vice chair; and Rachel Wolman as worldwide MD of human resources. Former North American CEO Pat Ford was moved into a
  • 33. National multi-office multi-specialty firms “ ”BM PEOPLE AT EVERY LEVEL UNDERSTAND WHAT IT WILL TAKE TO ACHIEVE THE AGENCY’S GOALS: BEING MORE IDEAS-DRIVEN WILL BE AS IMPORTANT AS THE EVIDENCE AND RESULTS-DRIVEN APPROACH THAT HAS BEEN CENTRAL IN RECENT YEARS” dual position, as chief client officer and interim Asia CEO, with DC veteran Dave DenHerder taking over as US CEO and former Ogilvy exec Michael Law joining as US president. Other new additions include Thomas Gensemer, from Blue State Digital, as chief strategy officer; Obama campaign veteran and global director of analytics Amy Gershkoff; Steve Lombardo from StrategyOne as chair of US public affairs; and Matt Burns, formerly of UnitedHealthcare, as Southwest market leader. CULTURE Given their shared political background, it would be easy to see Don Baer as a continuation of the Mark Penn era, but culturally the two could not be more different. In his first few months at the helm, Baer met with staff at every level, impressing with his warmth and candor, and launched a new “Coffee Connect” series of informal video chats designed to connect with small groups of employees. There’s an increased emphasis on internal communications, designed to ensure that BM people at every level understand what it will take to achieve the agency’s goals: being more ideas-driven will be as important as the evidence and results-driven approach that has been central in recent years. The firm has also launched a new global training initiative, led by worldwide chair of training and development Gillian Edick, and expanded its commitment to diversity and inclusion through partnership with historically-black colleges. INTELLECTUAL LEADERSHIP The appointment of Amy Gershkoff (former director of media planning for the 2012 Obama campaign and chief data scientist at WPP) as global director of analytics is a signal of Burson’s commitment to leveraging the potential of big data—a natural extension of Penn Schoen Berland’s research work, which has underpinned BM’s “evidencebased” approach in recent years. The firm has developed several products, including BursonPulse (social media listening), BursonPivot (text mining), social network mapping tools, and paid/earned/owned media dashboards. It has also partnered with BuzzFeed to distribute viral web content. Research initiatives included the third annual Social Media Check-Up, examining how the world’s largest companies use social channels, and the Atlantic/Aspen Institute American Values Survey, exploring attitudes to death and taxes, the economy and family, religion and education. PROGRAMS On the face of it, BM’s work on the “Fix the Debt” public affairs campaign for a coalition of business leaders falls squarely within the firm’s historic wheelhouse, but what sets it apart is the quality of creative content, recognized for its digital elements, its advertising, and for “best use of humor.” In the consumer space, the firm partnered with NFL legend Emmitt Smith on a social media blitz for the launch of the new Lincoln MKZ, and worked with Coca-Cola to launch a CSR campaign focused on empowering female entrepreneurs. Other high-profile corporate work included the “Conversations with the Next Generation” campaign for Microsoft; the “United States of Aging” survey for United Healthcare; and a partnership between client Qualcomm and Time magazine focused on the benefits of mobile technology. The firm also gained SABRE recognition for its work with the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names & Numbers (ICANN) on the introduction of new top-level domains. hours of work time to contribute to community service) and externally (founder Harold Burson and Baer rang the NASDAQ opening bell in March). The firm has also aunched a new website, and a thought-leadership initiative—Burson-Marsteller Conversations— with opinion leaders around the world. THE FUTURE In the first few months after taking the helm, Baer had identified the challenges that would define his strategy for Burson-Marsteller going forward: the need to modernize the firm’s legacy strengths in corporate and public affairs, crisis and technology, and to build new strengths in digital and social, brand marketing, healthcare and research. Historical best practices in senior client counseling and high-level media relations will be supplemented by “next practices” in areas such as content creation and data analytics. BRAND The firm celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2013 and has been leveraging the occasion both internally (giving every employee four www.holmesreport.com 33
  • 34. Agency Report Card 2013 COHN & WOLFE Angeles, under the leadership of Waggener Edstrom veteran Kazumi Mechling. There are additional offices in Atlanta and Chicago, with the most notable gap being the lack of a Washington, DC, operation (although parent company WPP has ample resources there, which C&W can access as needed). In partnership with Canadian holding company Res Publica (parent of National PR), Cohn & Wolfe has 50 employees in Canada, across offices in Calgary, Toronto and Montreal. INTERNATIONAL REACH Donna Imperato MOMENTUM Cohn & Wolfe has been consistently outperforming its WPP Group sister agencies, albeit from a comparatively smaller base—a trend that continued in 2012 as the firm saw both its global and US fee income increase by about 6 percent and was cited once again by parent company chief executive for “strong growth” at a time when the largest of its sister firms continue to struggle. The firm retained all of its top 20 clients (and increased billing from that group by a little more than 10 percent) and enjoyed some big new business success, none bigger than Nokia, which has shifted global PR duties to Cohn & Wolfe. Other additions included the Sonic restaurant chain, Hennessy, and financial services companies Invesco PowerShares, Monument Wealth Management and Berkeley Point Capital. NATIONAL REACH The New York headquarters office continues to take the lead on much of the firm’s consumer and healthcare work, but the firm has excellent capabilities in Austin, which is a center of excellence for the digital and social media team; San Francisco, home to much of the firm’s technology business and to its tech-focused AxiCom subsidiary; and Los 34 www.holmesreport.com In Europe, the 80-person UK operation was firing on all cylinders in 2012, with consumer up by a hugely impressive 50 percent, healthcare up by 30 percent, and corporate up by 9 percent. There are other substantial operations (30 to 40 people each) in Sweden, where Marta Karlqvist has succeeded in turning C&W into a serial award winner despite strong local competition; France, where the former GCI operation remains strong under Nicky Guertin; and Italy. The firm also has whollyowned offices in Spain and Germany. For many years, Cohn & Wolfe relied on the extensive networks of its WPP sister agencies when its clients had needs in the Asia-Pacific region. It is only over the past couple of years, with the acquisition of Hong Kong’s impactasia and South-East Asian firm XPR (which brought with its offices in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia) that Cohn & Wolfe began to look like a serious player in the region, with about 120 people—80 of them in Greater China and the rest in SouthEast Asia—under the leadership of a team with a plethora of local experience. EXPERTISE Cohn & Wolfe has increasingly focused its energies into four broad practice areas. Consumer and healthcare (where the firm has expertise in pharma, biotech, devices and OTC, including advocacy and public affairs) are the two areas in which has the most experience, and continue to account for the lion’s share of the business; but corporate (including a particular focus on crisis preparedness and communication) and technology are both areas in which the firm’s slightly non-traditional, consumer-centric approach, makes it an interesting alternative to some bigger, betterestablished players. Meanwhile, a digital innovation group with a wealth of content creation and social media capabilities, cuts across all four practices and is now seamlessly integrated into the firm’s work for almost every client. TALENT Under the leadership of chief executive Donna Imperato and North American president Jim Joseph, Cohn & Wolfe has a strong, stable leadership team that includes chief marketing officer Jill Tannenbaum, chief creative catalyst Jeremy Baka, and practice leaders Liz Beck (consumer) and Chad Latz (digital). New talent largely reinforced important areas of focus: Amy Inzanti, formerly of Ogilvy and Porter Novelli, joined as senior vice president, insights and strategy; Russ Williams joined as senior VP, crisis and issues, after six years at Hayslett Group; and the firm bolstered its digital leadership, promoting Brooke Hovey to spearhead that business across the Americas, and added Dell vet Matt McGinnis to lead the Austin office and Mark Burr, former chief innovation officer of GSW, as executive VP, West Coast digital leader, based in Los Angeles. CULTURE The firm’s internal rallying cry—“Dig deeper, imagine more”—is focused on creativity, as are many of its key initiatives, from a more integrated approach that has eliminated silos separating the digital and creative teams to a training approach that is designed to inspire more creative risk taking. To bring the mantra to life, a one-day employee think-tank
  • 35. National multi-office multi-specialty firms brought together 500-plus employees in 18 offices to think up innovative ways to activate the imaginations of underprivileged and at-risk children around the globe. The other, complementary, focus is digital, with Cohn & Wolfe’s new “Digital Intelligence Series” of training modules including a new online Asset Valuator) and some of them developed in-house (20/20 Foresight, a researchdriven insights generator; Brand Charisma, a diagnostic tool to measure a brand’s “magnetism” by focusing on dimensions such as energy, purpose and humanity). ”COHN & WOLFE IS LOOKING TO LEVERAGE ITS CREATIVE HERITAGE TO GROW ITS DIGITAL AND SOCIAL CREDENTIALS IN AN ATTEMPT TO BECOME A MORE INTEGRATED FIRM— AND TO SEIZE THE HIGH GROUND AS THE LEAD STRATEGIC AGENCY FOR ITS CLIENTS” learning management system—content creation is a particular focus—and in-market bootcamps. The firm has been steadily improving its performance on best agency to work for rankings, including this publication’s. INTELLECTUAL LEADERSHIP Looking to play a more strategic role in the brand-building process, Cohn & Wolfe is investing in an approach that brings together an understanding of the brand (“what is the relevant differentiation behind the brand?”); the market (“what category insight can we leverage to create a positive disruption?”); and the target audience (“what attitude or behavior and/or motivating value do we need to activate?”). That’s supported by a range of tools, some of them developed by other WPP partners (the Yankelovich Monitor, Brand PROGRAMS The firm’s work in the consumer arena, including the Global SABRE-winning “What’s Your Wild Rabbit” initiative for Hennessy— working with celebrities from director Martin Scorsese to boxer Manny Paquiao to connect the brand with younger consumers—continues to impress, as does its breadth of expertise in the healthcare arena, from integrated (advertising and PR) pro bono support for the Children’s Health Fund to its focus on “the state of love handles” in the US for Solta and its Liposonix product. But the firm is also doing some interesting environmental issues-based work, from positioning Valvoline’s new “green” motor oil to helping Toyota and National Audubon Society drive engagement in their joint TogetherGreen initiative. BRAND Cohn & Wolfe has a clear mission, “We achieve client goals by helping create, defend and energize brands,” and while that mission speaks to the firm’s heritage as a consumer firm, a broader definition of brands—including the increasingly important corporate brand behind many household name products—and an increasing willingness to expand beyond traditional PR tools means it is also a platform for future development. All of that has been reinforced by a distinctive web presence, a new ad campaign, and an expanded commitment to thought leadership, from conferences and digital events to original research. THE FUTURE Cohn & Wolfe is looking to leverage its creative heritage to grow its digital and social credentials in an attempt to become a more integrated firm—and to seize the high ground as the lead strategic agency for its clients. There’s nothing unique about that objective—many PR firms are looking to take advantage of a new emphasis on authenticity and engagement to improve their standing in the marketing realm—but C&W’s unrelenting focus on the brand and its willingness to be disruptive may give it an advantage. The other priority, evident from its expansion in Asia in recent years, has to be an expanded geographic footprint. www.holmesreport.com 35
  • 36. Agency Report Card 2013 EDELMAN Atlanta market leader, and Southwest, where the acquisition of Vollmer a couple of years ago has given the firm momentum. Edelman also has a $30 million business, among the market leaders, in Canada, where John Clinton heads a five-office network serving clients such as AMD, Kraft, Shell and Unilever. INTERNATIONAL REACH Richard Edelman MOMENTUM Having established itself as the world’s largest public relations firm a couple of years ago, Edelman has been widening the gap between itself and its closest rivals. While 8.3 percent growth in 2012 was down somewhat, it was enough to take the firm to $660 million in global revenues and $400 million in the US. There was new business from Heineken, CVS Caremark, Penn State (for crisis support), Kellogg’s, MetLife, Boston Consulting Group and Brookfield, and expanded relationships with several existing clients, including Adobe, eBay, Pfizer, and Juniper. Other giant clients include Unilever, Microsoft, GE and Johnson & Johnson. NATIONAL REACH New York remains the largest office in Edelman’s network, $130 million business with more than 700 people under the leadership of Russell Dubner, while the firm has close to $100 million in fees in its western region (which includes offices in LA, San Francisco, Silicon Valley and Sacramento, as well as Portland and Seattle) and in Washington, DC, which was the only part of the business that didn’t grow last year. The most impressive growth came from the South-East, where Edelman is the 36 www.holmesreport.com The unrelenting upward trajectory of Edelman’s EMEA operation continued despite a difficult economy and a leadership transition: the firm’s operations in the region grew by 15 percent during its last financial year (ending June 2012) and were on track for a healthy double-digit increase in the calendar year. The firm now has 1,150 people in 19 wholly-owned offices covering 19 markets, is a top three player in the UK, and has been growing impressively in the Middle East. Another year of very healthy growth (22 percent, despite the fact that some Edelman business was transferred to sister company Zeno as part of its expansion into Asia) saw Edelman consolidate its position among the market leaders in the Asia-Pacific region, ending 2012 with fee income in excess of $77 million (up from less than $50 million two years ago) and more than 1,100 employees across the region. The biggest success story of the past couple of years is India, where Robert Holdheim has presided over growth of around 200 percent over the past couple of years, driven largely by the addition of the giant Tata account, but China has also continued its impressive performance, with 220 people generating fees of around $20 million on the mainland EXPERTISE Edelman’s consumer practice, which accounts for about a quarter of its US business, is establishing itself in a lead role for more and more clients, and as the lines between corporate and consumer continue to blur, is integrating corporate social responsibility and cause-related marketing strategies to build stronger emotional connections between brands and consumers. Healthcare, another historic strength, is responding to a marketplace characterized by weak new drug pipelines and a challenging policy environment with a broader offer that includes everything from digital content to public affairs to employee engagement. And in the technology sector—a good source of growth in recent years—there’s greater interest in privacy and data security issues, while the Edelman Sprout unit is focused exclusively on the special needs of early stage companies. And of course the firm’s digital offer—a $100 million business globally—continues to be among the best in the industry. TALENT With Mark Hass returning from China and installed as US president and CEO following the promotion of heir apparent Matt Harrington to the chief operation officer role, Edelman has been creating new roles for several key people (Julia Richter as COO for the US, Cricket Warden as digital practice head, Caroline Dettman and Howard Pulchin as executive directors of the new “Guild”) and bringing in impressive new talent. Significant additions include Mike Berland, founder of Penn Schoen Berland as CEO of the new Edelman Berland research unit; Jennifer Cohan from GolinHarris as global consumer practice chair; Lisa Sepulveda, back from a stint at Weber Shandwick, as president of global client management; Disney and Wall Street Journal veteran Kathryn Kranhold as executive VP in the corporate practice; former Deloitte PR chief Keith Lindenburg as EVP in technology; and Adam Hirsch from Mashable as senior VP, emerging media.
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  • 38. Agency Report Card 2013 CULTURE Like many large agencies, Edelman is undergoing a cultural transformation as it seeks to diversify its employee base, bringing in talent from media buying shops, boutique firms, politics, media, digital and creative agencies, social media, and the corporate world, with skills in data and analytics and content creation and beyond. The firm has found it easier than many to attract new talent, in part because its independent status allows for investment hires that publicly traded companies can find difficult, in part because it now enjoys a reputation as one of the as a thought leader in and vocal advocate for the PR profession, but it’s the work that the Edelman Berland research unit is now doing for clients that is transforming the firm’s business. A new client dashboard is designed to deliver insights from stakeholders to clients 24/7 in real time; the firm is combining traditional surveys with professional observations of people’s online and social behaviors; and the use of online research communities is evaluating big ideas—from before the pitch all the way through long-term client engagements. AstraZeneca combat the stigma attached to the disease. And on the corporate front, the firm managed the integration of publishers Penguin and Random House, and launched a new real estate brand for Prudential and Berkshire Hathaway. BRAND Edelman celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2012 with a massive community service commitment, pledging more than 15,000 hours or $2.25 million in pro bono consulting. It also introduced Citizenship as the firm’s sixth value. THE FUTURE ”EDELMAN IS COMING UP WITH THE KIND OF BIG CREATIVE IDEAS THAT CAN SERVE AS BRAND PLATFORMS NOT ONLY FOR PUBLIC RELATIONS BUT FOR ADVERTISING, DIGITAL AND OTHER MEDIA CHANNELS” industry’s employers of choice and consistently finishing among the top two or three Best Large Agencies to Work For in our employee survey. The firm has also transformed its approach to training, with new concepts like the Storylab workshop, which brings in storytellers—from authors to filmmakers to magicians to singer-songwriters—to teach teams different approaches to creating a narrative for their clients. INTELLECTUAL LEADERSHIP A commitment to research—products like the Edelman Trust Barometer, now in its 13th year—has helped to position Edelman 38 www.holmesreport.com PROGRAMS As usual at Edelman, there was plenty of creative, award winning work, like the firm’s work for Trojan, which kick-started a media phenomenon after the firm sought to give away vibrators in New York (“Buzz Kill” was the Post’s headline after the effort was shut down); or for Unilever’s Axe, with a global competition that could send 22 consumers into space. On the digital front, highlights ranged from the creation of why.vw.com, which allows brand fans to share their stories, to a social media initiative for Adobe. Edelman Berland, meanwhile, flexed its muscles with in-depth insight into the psyche of aging for Pfizer, and engaged with type 2 diabetes patients to help A major initiative earlier this year was the formation of the Edelman Guild, an internal network designed to bring together top-tier strategic and creative thinkers—planners and strategists and storytellers—with the firm’s experts in data and analytics to focus on driving new business and ensuring that Edelman is coming up with the kind of big creative ideas that can serve as brand platforms not only for public relations but for advertising, digital and other media channels. It’s an attempt to formalize and institutionalize the idea that a PR firm can be the lead strategic agency in brand building and corporate reputation management, and it is the kind of idea that has the potential to put some space between Edelman and some of its peers.
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  • 40. Agency Report Card 2013 FLEISHMANHILLARD Washington, DC (where its branded operations are supplemented by specialist public and government affairs brands such as GMMB, Stratacomm and Vox Global). There was particularly strong growth in California (the firm has offices in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Deigo, San Francisco, San Jose and Sacramento); Texas (Austin, Dallas, Houston); and North Carolina (Charlotte and Raleigh). The firm also opened an office in Detroit (a result of its growing automotive portfolio) and is looking at Ohio, Denver and Seattle for expansion in the year ahead. Dave Senay MOMENTUM FleishmanHillard (no hyphen any more, see “Brand” below) enjoyed 7 percent growth in the US last year, despite the relatively weak numbers posted by parent company Omnicom’s overall public relations holdings. There was new business from some of the firm’s major existing clients, including Abbott, AT&T, Avaya, BP, General Motors, Pepsico and Visa—FH now has more than 80 sevenfigure accounts—and from some new additions to the roster, including Cadillac, Citi, HP, the Jacksonville Jaguars, Nissan, Samsung, Saudi Aramco, and Tyson. Equally noteworthy, the firm is doing “integrated” work—which means going beyond earned media—for a growing list of clients such as BMW, Chobani, EA Sports, GM, Safeway, Ticketmaster, and Visa. NATIONAL REACH With more than 30 offices in North America, FleishmanHillard can provide more comprehensive coverage of the continent than any of its competitors. The firm remains the market leader in its headquarters town of St Louis and in nearby Kansas City, both of which grew at a healthy pace last year; and has a formidable presence in New York and 40 www.holmesreport.com INTERNATIONAL REACH FleishmanHillard’s Asia-Pacific operations have doubled in size over the past five years (without any acquisitions), elevating the firm from a challenger to a top-tier player in the region. Last year saw another 18 percent expansion, with offices in mainland China, Indonesia and the Philippines leading the way— all up by better than 40 percent. FH now has 19 offices in the region, matching the footprint of any of its longer-established competitors. FleishmanHillard has 16 offices in the EMEA region—not as many as the largest of its peers, but enough to give it comprehensive coverage of the major markets. The firm has considerable depth in key markets such as the UK, Brussels, and Germany; strength in Dublin, Paris, Rome and Moscow; and growing operations in Poland, the Czech Republic, and the Middle East. EXPERTISE One of the three largest public relations firms in the world (and in the US), FleishmanHillard has strong practices in all of the major disciplines, from corporate and public affairs— probably the most significant historic strength of the firm—to consumer, and in the healthcare and technology sectors (the latter, particularly strong in 2012, accounts for about 20 percent of revenues). The firm’s digital network now includes 400 specialists across the world, and generates more than $100 million in revenues. The firm is lead digital agency for more than 15 brands and lead social agency for twice that number, providing everything from content to social media outreach to e-business counsel. New specialties include units focused on the entertainment industry, cyber-security issues, and military and veterans affairs. TALENT Chief executive Dave Senay clearly recognizes that the transformation he is leading at FH will require new kinds of talent. Recent years have seen the firm recruiting from the advertising (with a particular emphasis on planning) and digital realms as well as more traditional areas. And the past 12 months have seen a major influx of new senior-level people: US State Department veteran Kris Balderston as general manager of the firm’s Washington, DC, office; Gloria Janata from Cohn & Wolfe as president and senior partner of the firm’s TogoRun healthcare operation; Betsy Neville from FTI as co-chair of the corporate practice; Ryan Peal as GM in LA; crisis expert Chris Nelson, formerly of Ketchum and Burson; Wendi Taylor Nations and Jack Yeo to lead the Chicago healthcare and corporate practices respectively. CULTURE The firm’s “go beyond” business strategy means an investment in new skills, so there has been a major investment in training employees for the “goal, perspective, strategy” planning process that now underpins much of Fleishman’s work. That’s part of a professional development program that surely ranks among the industry’s best, including as it does everything from the Leadership Institute of Management and Omnicom University to programs focused on everything from new business development to social media to becoming “the complete counselor.” As part
  • 41. National multi-office multi-specialty firms ”THE NEXT 12 MONTHS WILL SHOW WHETHER THE TRANSFORMATION SUCCEEDS IN ENERGIZING EMPLOYEES AND CONVINCING CLIENTS THAT FLEISHMANHILLARD CAN PLAY A BROADER, MORE STRATEGIC ROLE IN BUILDING THEIR BRANDS AND THEIR BUSINESSES” of the rebrand, FH’s intranet, “The Source,” received a comprehensive makeover that incorporates social networking elements to enhance collaboration, while internal communication efforts have been placing a new emphasis on ethics and diversity. INTELLECTUAL LEADERSHIP In one of the two or three most interesting pieces of original research to come out of the public relations industry in recent years, FleishmanHillard’s corporate practice has taken a long look at what it calls “authentic engagement,” discovering nine drivers of authenticity (management behaviors, customer benefits, and societal outcomes) and an authenticity gap between consumer expectations and experiences. The firm has also introduced its new Center On Reputation & Relationships, a website that will generate original insights and thought leadership on the topic. The firm has also introduced Black Box, its own real-time marketing dashboard, and Freshwire, which is driving a host of custom content creation. include paid and owned channels in addition to the traditional earned media business, and it provided the 66-year-old firm with a platform on which to discuss its strategy for growth in the digital and social media era. Its “power of true” tagline is particularly compelling, faithful to the firm’s heritage (integrity has been a hallmark from its earliest days in St Louis) but also a strong guiding principle for the modern world, where qualities like transparency and authenticity are even more important. With the support of a bright, multichannel marketing push, it will give FH an opportunity for some agenda-setting. PROGRAMS THE FUTURE One of the firm’s new clients, William K Busch Brewing, provides an interesting connection between FleishmanHillard’s past (Anheuser Busch was its oldest, biggest client) and its future—the resulting campaign was based on original, in-house research and includes television advertising, digital work, and even point-of-sale materials integrated alongside some traditional PR. Other recent campaigns demonstrate the breadth of the firm’s capabilities, from the creation of a texting-and-driving simulator for AT&T’s public education outreach to showcasing BMW’s commitment to performance engineering as part of its Olympic sponsorship to expanding a domestic violence education initiative for Allstate Foundation to new product introductions, executive positioning and issues management for yogurt brand Chobani. The past 12 months have seen a massive reinvestment in restructuring and rebranding one of the world’s largest public relations operations, with a very public commitment to leadership in areas ranging from corporate reputation to digital and social media, and to expanding the firm’s capabilities in paid and owned content as well as earned media. The next 12 months will show whether the transformation succeeds in energizing employees and convincing clients that FleishmanHillard can play a broader, more strategic role in building their brands and their businesses. The strategy seems sound, so it will come down to execution—and Senay and his leadership team certainly seem committed to making it happen. BRAND On the surface, the elimination of the hyphen and the creation of a new logo may seem like a small change, but it was the result of a lengthy analysis—led by chief marketing officer Stephanie Marchesi—that encompassed the changing competitive landscape and the evolution of FleishmanHillard’s business to www.holmesreport.com 41
  • 42. Agency Report Card 2013 GOLINHARRIS and healthcare capabilities too. The western region, led by Judy Johnson, is almost as impressive, with full-service offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Orange County and a satellite office in Seattle. The past few years have seen a determined effort to elevate the New York office, which is now supplemented by the first overseas office of healthcare acquisition Virgo, although the departure of general manager Jen Cohan was a setback. There are additional offices in Atlanta, Baltimore, Dallas, Miami, Richmond, Toronto, and Washington, DC. Fred Cook MOMENTUM Last year, we wrote that the early indications for GolinHarris’ new agency model— introduced in the summer of 2011—were largely positive. Now, 12 months on, the evidence is more conclusive: the rebranding and restructuring of Interpublic’s second global public relations operation has been a stirring success. Growth in 2012 was a very impressive 17 percent (and still impressive after you take out the acquisitions, which account for about half of that). New business successes included some major headlines, like Walmart, Cisco, Texas-based energy company nrg, and The Hartford—all of which cited the new g4 model as a factor in their decision—as well as redbox, Baxter, Prestige Brands, Smirnoff, Lilly, Sodexo, Jet Blue, and Actuaries. The firm also continues to grow existing clients like Dow Chemical, McDonald’s (the firm celebrated 55 years of partnership in 2012), Nintendo (20 years) and Toyota. NATIONAL REACH GolinHarris has a network of 12 offices in North America, led by the flagship Chicago operation, best known for its work in the consumer space, but with formidable corporate 42 www.holmesreport.com INTERNATIONAL REACH Just a few years ago, overseas operations accounted for just 20 percent of Golin’s global revenues. Today, they contribute about 35 percent. In Europe, Golin is powered by its impressive flagship UK operation, which again grew by double-digits in 2012, and won Consultancy of the Year honors earlier this year. The firm’s broader EMEA region is less welldeveloped but has begun to demonstrate a far more cohesive presence, spurred by strong operations in the Middle East and Romania. GolinHarris doesn’t have as many dots on the map as most of its competitors in Asia, or as much critical mass, but it has demonstrated over the past two or three years the ability to grow in its target markets at a healthy pace. There are about 200 people spread across the Asia-Pacific, slightly more than half of them in the Greater China operation. In South East Asia, a strong Singapore hub is supplemented by an Indonesian office. EXPERTISE Looking at GolinHarris in terms of traditional practice areas, it continues to be primarily a consumer public relations firm—about two-thirds of its revenues come from either consumer-focused work or consumer-facing companies—but with a robust and growing corporate practice (about 15 percent of revenues) and smaller healthcare, technology and public affairs groups, all of which are expected to make a more significant contribution over the next two or three years. But a major element of Golin’s restructuring is the elimination of the traditional practice areas, so that people are now organized into four key communities: strategists, a group that includes “big-picture thinkers” and practice leaders; Idea Creators, a group that includes writers, designers, producers, idea generators and content creators; engagement connectors, a group that includes traditional media and social media experts; and integration catalysts, who will serve as client relationship managers. TALENT The senior leadership team—CEO Fred Cook, vice chairman and consumer practice leader Ellen Ryan-Mardiks, president of the Americas Gary Rudnick, and of course chairman Al Golin—remains unchanged, but elsewhere there were interesting moves and additions. Judy Johnson was promoted to president of the firm’s western region, Farah Speer was named North America healthcare practice leader (with Virgo founders Sarah Matthew and Angie Wiles helming the global practice), and Samantha Sackin was promoted to deputy MD in LA. New additions included Ogilvy and DDB veteran Charlie Tercek and leader of the creator community; creative directors Lisa Charlesbois and Ron D’Innocenzo (both with ad agency backgrounds) in LA and Chicago respectively; Karen Riley and Ken Montgomery as executive directors in the catalyst communities in Chicago and San Francisco respectively; Chris Baccus from AT&T as executive director, digital strategy in LA; real-time marketing leaders Jay Foot in Chicago, Stephanie Matthews in Dallas, and Alan Danzis in New York; and Michael Mills as executive director, public affairs and sustainability in Atlanta.
  • 43. National multi-office multi-specialty firms CULTURE It’s hard to say whether g4’s biggest benefit was the revamped organization and the new services that it offered clients or the new energy it gave Golin’s people, but there’s no question that the restructuring has been embraced internally, as Golin ranked number two on our list of the Best Large Agencies to Work For this year. Again, the rebranding has been supported by a new employee program, to The Bright Collective crowdsourcing platform; Cygent, a suite of games and exercises designed to unearth creative ideas; and Brand Voice, a scientific approach to telling brand stories. PROGRAMS GolinHarris has long enjoyed a reputation for creativity, so it is not always easy to discern the extent to which the new ”ALL OF THAT ATTENTION HAS HELPED GOLIN PUNCH WELL ABOVE ITS WEIGHT IN TERMS OF THE VOLUME OF COVERAGE IT IS GENERATING, DIFFERENTIATE IN A MEANINGFUL WAY FROM ITS LARGER COMPETITORS” celebrating g4 “superheroes” with cash rewards, a new intranet that eases interoffice collaboration, and specialized training for each of the agency’s four communities. INTELLECTUAL LEADERSHIP After taking the time to delineate its four new communities, GolinHarris has spent much of the past year creating new products and services for them. The strategist community, for example, now has access to a suite of tools including mix (communications mix modeling), if (message testing), space (opportunity identification and mapping) and net (ROI modeling and analysis) that can be used separately or in combination. The creative community, meanwhile, has access model has influenced the firm’s work. But management clearly believes that campaigns like its “live vending machine” to showcase the ingredients in McDonald’s McWraps, or integrated efforts on behalf of Farmer John (including outdoor advertising), or content creation and social media outreach for Toyota, or the humorous reimagining of the “what would you do for a Klondike bar” for social media, would not have happened without the fresh strategic thinking and broader creative approach of g4. Other highlights included introducing calorie-count labeling for McDonald’s, and corporate reputation support for Dow Chemical’s Olympic sponsorship, which used the firm’s Bridge real-time marketing centers to track conversations and head-off controversy. BRAND The firm is still riding the wave of interest generated by the launch of its new g4 positioning, which generated a large amount of coverage in the trade press and beyond and which has been studied and written about by academics at The Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations, the University of Georgia, and Johns Hopkins University. All of that attention has helped Golin punch well above its weight in terms of the volume of coverage it is generating, differentiate in a meaningful way from its larger competitors, and pick up several Agency of the Year awards, including this publication’s North American honor. THE FUTURE The bold new model has been helping GolinHarris attract better people, win more business, and produce even better work. The firm is also beginning to see a shift in revenues from consumer to a more balanced portfolio of corporate and public affairs, healthcare and tech; and from earned media (currently about 75 percent) to a mix of owned and shared and—to a lesser extent—paid media. GH has already succeeded in disrupting the agency business and it will be interesting to see how far its new positioning and new structure can help them firm overcome what remains a significant difference in scale in relation to its most significant competitors. www.holmesreport.com 43
  • 44. Agency Report Card 2013 HILL & KNOWL TON STRATEGIES the resurgence of H+K’s New York office for a little more than two years now, and the signs are good that what should be a flagship office is competing successfully in most major practices. The firm also has strength in Public Strategies’ home state of Texas (offices in Austin, Dallas and Houston); in California (Irvine, Los Angeles, San Francisco); and Florida (Miami, Tallahassee, Tampa); and additional offices in Chicago and Seattle. The Canadian operation is perhaps the most impressive of any of the US multinationals, having earned our Agency of the Year award last year. Jack Martin MOMENTUM It was another challenging year for WPP’s giant international public relations and public affairs businesses, with the revenues in the sector down slightly overall, and while the group still declines to provide information on a firm-by-firm basis, it is clear that Hill+Knowlton Strategies was at best flat, as Jack Martin and his leadership team continue to lay the foundation for future growth. With fee income of just under $400 million, H+K is still a formidable player internationally, of course, and there are encouraging signs that the firm is competing for and winning more major business: Amgen, AON, Diageo, Dish Network, Ford, GlaxoSmithKline, Hyundai, Intercontinental Hotels Group, Merck, Pacific Gas & Electric, NetApp, Polycom, and Whirlpool were among significant additions last year. NATIONAL REACH The merger late in 2010 of Hill & Knowlton and Public Strategies helped halt the decline of the firm in Washington, DC, where an operation once known as “The Power House” had declined precipitously, and now, under the leadership of JP Morgan Chase and Powell Tate veteran Howard Opinsky, it is back in growth mode. Ian Bailey has been leading 44 www.holmesreport.com INTERNATIONAL REACH In EMEA, the flagship London office, which is still the largest in H+K’s global network, enjoyed its best-ever year in 2012, driven partly by several major pieces of Olympics-related business. The firm has grown its presence in Russia considerably with the integration of PBN; remains strong in both Brussels, the Netherlands, and the Nordics; and is enjoying continued improvement in quality in the German market, while southern Europe has been surprisingly resilient. H+K also remains one of the best of the multinationals in the Middle East. With new leadership in place, Hill+Knowlton Strategies enjoyed doubledigit increases in some of the faster-growing emerging markets and now has about 500 people in nine offices in the Asia-Pacific. After a restructuring 18 months ago that placed India and Australia in the AMEASCA region, Martin decided to elevate Greater China to region status this year—a move that recognizes the size of the existing operation there and the prioritization of the market going forward. In early 2013, H+K announced an elaborate expansion plan for Africa, with offices in four African markets. EXPERTISE The merger late in 2010 of Hill & Knowlton and Public Strategies instantly restored the multinational firm to its prominent position in two key areas: public affairs and corporate communications. On the public affairs front, H+K further strengthened its capabilities last year with the integration of another WPP firm, Dewey Square Group, adding government affairs expertise to its existing offer. In the corporate realm, the firm has been investing in intellectual capital, launching a new high-level corporate advisory group, and introducing new products, most notably in the crisis space. In areas such as consumer and healthcare, where plenty of work is still needed if the firm is to rank among the best, there are new practice leaders. But perhaps the most dramatic improvement in the past couple of years has come in the digital realm, where H+K has invested in talent and built robust content creation and social media capabilities to complement its already robust research and data insights operation. TALENT In the months after the H&K/PSI merger there were plenty of changes, and the leadership team that emerged after the dust had settled was a healthy mix of senior Public Strategies people, H&K veterans, and new hires. The past 12 months have seen an effort to build out that team, with several key promotions: with Bill Coletti promoted to co-leader of the crisis and issues practice and Chris Gidez moving into a new role as head of the energy group; Sergio Morales named to lead the US consumer practice; and Susan Thiele promoted to lead healthcare. Key additions in 2012 included Gary Goldhammer, formerly of digital marketing agency Velocidi, as chief US digital strategist; Devon Spurgeon, formerly chief of staff to billionaire investor Warren Buffet, as executive vice president for global strategy; and Alexander Jutkowitz—whose SJR was acquired in 2013—as vice chairman and chief global strategist.
  • 45. We ARe THe DISCO BALL TO YOUR HUSTLe. Powerful ideas that drive momentum. Slide over to CarmichaelLynchSpong.com
  • 46. Agency Report Card 2013 CULTURE One of Martin’s priorities has been breaking down the silo mentality that he feels was a major obstacle to creating a winning culture, and so the firm has been doing a good deal of internal marketing, as well as introducing a framework it calls Ideas@work, designed to encourage cross-practice collaboration. Another, not surprisingly, has been to ensure that everyone at the agency is digitallysavvy—not just in terms of the digital practice but throughout account teams in every office. And finally, to ensure that the firm is capable of delivering on the “Fifth Seat” philosophy, there has been an emphasis on developing consulting skills, with the re-launch of H+K College as well as participation in several WPP training programs. firm for that role: most notably expanding the commitment to research and insight that permeated his former firm, Public Strategies, so that it become part of the DNA at H+K. In terms of thought leadership, the firm has been conducting some impressive research into “corporate character” and its relationship to reputation. And in terms of new products and services, H+K introduced Flight School, a crisis communications offering that helps clients test their abilities, plans, and protocols using an immersive, interactive simulation approach. PROGRAMS Hill+Knowlton’s ongoing work for Ford, showcasing the company’s technology leadership, continues to impress, as does ”ONE OF MARTIN’S PRIORITIES HAS BEEN BREAKING DOWN THE SILO MENTALITY THAT HE FEELS WAS A MAJOR OBSTACLE TO CREATING A WINNING CULTURE, AND SO THE FIRM HAS BEEN DOING A GOOD DEAL OF INTERNAL MARKETING” INTELLECTUAL LEADERSHIP Jack Martin’s “Fifth Seat” concept is based on the belief that when faced with significant decisions, companies traditionally turn to four advisors—legal counsel, bankers, management consultants and accountants— and that with the growing value of reputational assets, public relations should fill the fifth seat. Much of what he has done at H+K since taking the helm has been to better equip the 46 www.holmesreport.com its support Procter & Gamble around the globe—most notably its work on the company’s global “Thank You, Mom,” Olympic sponsorship effort. Strategic counsel and campaign management support for CNOOC on its $15.1 billion acquisition of Canadian oil and gas company Nexen—the largest-ever foreign acquisition by any Chinese company— showcased the firm’s global capabilities. H+K also handled a successful new product introduction for gaming company NCSoft (the new online game Guild Wars 2) and helped Mazda form a partnership with the NEA Foundation to tie-in with the movie version of Dr Seuss’s The Lorax. BRAND At the end of 2011, Hill & Knowlton became Hill+Knowlton Strategies, a change designed to reflect a renewed emphasis on strategic communications advice and underscore the firm’s commitment to research and insight. The new identity has taken hold and the firm has invested in a series of thought leadership initiatives and an elevated digital profile, with thoughtful and provocative articles from practice leaders and other senior people showcasing the firm in a way that’s more provocative than anything that came before. If there’s an issue, it’s that H+K is still perceived as a corporate and public affairs firm first and foremost—not surprising given its heritage and that background of its leadership team, but a challenge as it seeks to build its consumer brand portfolio and its digital credentials. THE FUTURE It is still too early to say that H+K is back to its best, but there’s no doubt that Jack Martin and his leadership team have been laying a solid foundation for future growth. The firm has added top quality talent, enhanced its capabilities in critical areas in digital and social media and data and analytics, eliminated some of the silos that were holding back progress, and reenergized its approach to new business. If all of that good work can now be translated into improved financial performance, there will be cause for even more optimism.
  • 47. Edelman’s new consumer study is an ethos and framework for putting people at the center of brands. www.Edelman.com/brandshare
  • 48. Agency Report Card 2013 KETCHUM Zocalo); California (where offices in LA and San Francisco are home to much of the tech business, numerous food and nutrition clients, the firm’s sports and entertainment marketing unit, and consumer tech specialist Access Communications); Atlanta, Dallas, and Pittsburgh. The acquisition in January of 2013 of Raleigh-based Capstrat gives the firm an expanded footprint in the southeast. To the north, the firm has an office in Toronto. INTERNATIONAL REACH Rob Flaherty MOMENTUM The disappointing public relations growth reported by parent company Omnicom notwithstanding, Ketchum delivered growth of close to 15 percent in 2012, with about half of that organic. The North American operation, which continues to account for 60 percent of overall revenues, made a strong contribution, thanks to impressive client loyalty (long a hallmark, the top 50 clients have an average tenure of nine years). There were big wins, including Procter & Gamble’s global Olympics business, new work from Cleveland Clinic, MasterCard and Morton Salt, and additional assignments from Carlson Companies, Discovery Communications, Hertz and more. NATIONAL REACH Ketchum has eight US offices, with formidable presence in key markets such as New York (where the corporate, consumer and healthcare practices all make an impressive contribution); Washington, DC (public affairs and healthcare, with big wins last year including Clorox, Wellpoint and the NIH’s National Heart Lung & Blood Institute); Chicago (where the firm’s branded presence is supplemented by word-of-mouth subsidiary 48 www.holmesreport.com In Europe, reigning EMEA Consultancy of the Year Ketchum is almost certainly the market leader in terms of headcount, and has impressive reach, with 23 offices in nine countries and an additional 17 affiliates. Germany is the biggest operation, but the firm is also a formidable force in the UK; in Spain, where Tony Noel and Teresa Garcia Cisneros preside over a market leader; and in Austria, where Pleon Publico is the clear number one. The Pleon merger also makes the firm stronger in Brussels, France and Italy. After significant Asia-Pacific expansion in 2011, which saw Ketchum add Indian acquisition Sampark into a network that had previously revolved around a strong Greater China operation, Ketchum now has a more rounded offering across the region. The Greater China operation continues to shine, with strong operations in Beijing and Shanghai, Hong Kong and Guangzhou (working together under the “Pearl River Delta Working Group” banner), and a well-established Taiwan presence, adding up to more than 180 practitioners. EXPERTISE Ketchum has five global practices—brand marketing, corporate, food and nutrition, healthcare and technology—and has in recent years supplemented all of them with unique additional resources. In additions to its formidable core marketing offer, for example, there’s Ketchum Sports & Entertainment and luxury specialist Harrson & Shriffman. In the healthcare arena, a strong base of pharmaceutical business and social marketing expertise is supplemented by the MMG clinical trial recruitment specialist. On the corporate front, impressive ancillary capabilities come from the firm’s internal communications Ketchum Change operation, which saw its revenues increase by 60 percent last year and a new crisis management alliance with Kenyon International. Also of note, an expanding digital offer, and the firm’s research and analytics unit, which includes teams in six of its eight US offices and is supplemented by a partnership with Omnicom sister agency The Modellers, which provides marketing analytics. TALENT The transition from Ray Kotcher—global CEO for 12 years—to Rob Flaherty went as smoothly as expected and the two have now worked together for 24 years, which happens to be the average tenure of Ketchum’s remarkably stable (the recent departure of Dale Bornstein notwithstanding) executive committee. With that transition, there were new roles for Rob Lorfink (president and chief operating officer), Barri Rafferty (CEO of North America), Lorraine Thelian (vice chairman) and Mike Doyle (director of the New York offices). New additions included James Kelly, from GolinHarris, as global director of strategic and creative planning. But many of the major new hires in recent months came in the digital arena: Dean McBeth, previously of Barton F Graf and Weiden+Kennedy, as senior VP of digital and content strategy; Amy Andrieux, from MTV Networks, as VP of multimedia content and strategy; James Lin from Saga Technologis as VP in San Francisco; Amit Wadehra, formerly of Allstate, as VP in Chicago.
  • 49. National multi-office multi-specialty firms CULTURE A fixture on our Best Agencies to Work For list since its inception 13 years ago, Ketchum’s culture continues to do most of the important things well. There’s a professional development program that has been among the best in the business for two decades or more: in 2012 Ketchum University offered 820 courses on 420 topics. There’s an emphasis on creativity, with the firm’s internal activities supplemented by its Mindfire crowdsourcing platform. There’s a robust internal CSR commitment, KSR, which donated 1,000 to the Room to Read charity last year. tracking the importance of social media. And the firm’s health and wellness trends report, Well-th, concluded that Americans are increasingly looking to technology tools when seeking healthcare advice. PROGRAMS Ketchum’s work for Mattel’s Monster High brand, which reinforced core messages about individuality and self-esteem, was precisely the kind of clever and creative work people have come to expect from the firm (particularly in light of its longstanding support for the same company’s Barbie franchise). BRAND No other multinational can match Ketchum’s awards record in North America, where it has built a well-earned reputation for creativity. Similarly, no other multinational can match its track record of commitment to the industry, which has seen its senior executives playing leadership roles in many professional groups. That helps Ketchum maintain its position as one of the most respected names in the business, a position that has held steady through internal management changes and shifts in the external environment. THE FUTURE ”NO OTHER MULTINATIONAL CAN MATCH ITS TRACK RECORD OF COMMITMENT TO THE INDUSTRY, WHICH HAS SEEN ITS SENIOR EXECUTIVES PLAYING LEADERSHIP ROLES IN MANY PROFESSIONAL GROUPS” INTELLECTUAL LEADERSHIP One of the most interesting additions to the industry’s expanding body of research is Ketchum’s Leadership Communications Monitor, a 12 country study from the firm’s corporate practice that looks at effective leadership, effective communication and the link between the two. Elsewhere, the tech practice produced its first Digital Living Index, examining how human needs and personal values impact consumer technology brands, while Ketchum Change and client FedEx partnered on the Social Business Study, But helping the US Farmers & Alliance adapt to the digital age with a social media and blogger outreach program designed to address a host of agricultural issues was both a little different and very effective. Other highlights ranged from promoting Gillette’s new “sensitive” product bundle through the Kiss & Tell campaign (a 16-city tour, a survey of couples, infographics and social and traditional media outreach) to helping MasterCard’s “Priceless” campaign achieve a massive presence during Grammy week in LA to turning Marvel’s Iron Man into a spokesman for Phonak hearing aids. Ketchum has not been as vocal about its vision of the industry’s future as competitors like Edelman; nor has it made big changes in its business strategy like GolinHarris, or introduced a new brand like FleishmanHillard. But it does have a clear vision of where it wants to go, and if progress toward that vision has been evolutionary rather than revolutionary, that’s the Ketchum way. With impressive digital credentials, a longstanding commitment to measurement and evaluation, and the ability to generate the kind of big brand platform ideas clients are looking for, the firm looks well-set to deal with whatever the future throws at it. www.holmesreport.com 49
  • 50. Agency Report Card 2013 MSLGROUP and California (where the firm’s LA and San Francisco offices are working increasingly closely with the Bay Area operation of Schwartz). The Detroit office mostly serves GM, but has broad automotive expertise, and there are additional operations in Atlanta, Boston, Seattle, and Washington, DC, one market where MSL remains conspicuously under-strength relative to its peers. North of the border, the firm has operations in Toronto and Montreal, with real strength in the consumer space. INTERNATIONAL REACH Renee Wilson MOMENTUM While MSLGroup has been growing—by acquisition and organic growth in equal measure—in Europe and (particularly) Asia, its core North American business has been underperforming in recent years, lacking a clear vision and held back by a nasty sexual harassment lawsuit. But new leadership and improved integration of sister agency Kekst and acquisitions such as Schwartz PR helped drive double-digit growth last year. There was new business from BMW, Emirates, LaSalle Investment Management, March of Dimes, PayPal, and Rolls Royce, while the firm continues to work for major brands such as P&G, Microsoft, GM, Nestle, Lilly, Kimberly Clark, Home Depot and Coca-Cola—most of them across multiple practice areas and offices. NATIONAL REACH The North American operation employs more than 600 of the firm’s 3,700 people but generates close to $200 million of its $525 global revenue. There’s good critical mass in New York, where MSL’s expertise in consumer and healthcare is supplemented by the corporate and financial capabilities of sister agency Kekst, as well as in Chicago 50 www.holmesreport.com Groupe businesses has given the firm a much broader range of services. Seattle-based PBJS, for example, has given the firm access to a creative studio that can produce a wide range of digital content, while the acquisition of Schwartz in the US strengthened the firm’s tech credentials. But perhaps the most significant change is that through a combination of its own resources and its partnership with financial communications specialist Kekst and Company, MSL now has a pretty formidable corporate practice. TALENT With more than 1,300 people in 20 cities across EMEA, MSLGroup is one of the largest players in the region, but while client migration and the development of more multimarket business remains a priority, MSL has impressive local foundations in the markets where it has longstanding operations: France (home to Publicis Consultants), the Nordics (where the firm operates both the JKL and MSL brands), the UK, and Germany (now supplemented by its acquisition of corporate and financial specialist CNC). A third consecutive year of 30 percent or better organic growth in Asia means that MSLGroup has established itself as a force to be reckoned with in the region. While much of the focus has been on a series of acquisitions (seven in three years; experiential agency Luminous and production and design specialist King Harvests were added to the fold in 2012), much of the underlying growth has come from the increasingly close working relationship between what were once disparate and dispersed operations, most notably in China and India. The elevation of Renee Wilson to the North American leadership role was welcomed within the agency, and appears to have injected new vigor. There have been several other promotions, with Chicago veteran Joel Curran (who tripled the size of that office) taking the helm of the flagship New York office and Amanda Glasgow taking over from Wilson as consumer practice director and lead on the P&G business. Key new hires included Edelman and Ogilvy veteran Shellie Winkler has head of the healthcare practice, and digital and social media pioneer Stephanie Agresta (formerly of Weber Shandwick and Porter Novelli) as global director of social media and digital. Brad Wilks joined from Sard Verbinnen to lead Chicago and Detroit, and BursonMarsteller and Teneo Holdings veteran Linda Recupero joined as head of the New York corporate practice. EXPERTISE MSL is best known in the US for the quality of its consumer work (it doesn’t hurt that Procter & Gamble is a flagship client) and for its strength in healthcare. But over the past few years, the integration of MSL with other Publicis CULTURE While Renee Wilson’s promotion has helped to mitigate the internal impact of MSL’s wellpublicized class-action litigation with several former employees, allegations of gender bias and worse are not going to go away completely until a settlement is reach. That’s not in Wilson’s hands, however; and she is rightfully more focused on the thing she can control, which means stepping up the firm’s professional
  • 51. National multi-office multi-specialty firms development activity—particularly around digital and social—and ensuring a more open communications environment. an approach that begins with insights and planning, and emphasizes storytelling and content creation. World Economic Forum (where it brought in Ariana Huffington for a discussion on critical issues), SXSW, and Social Media Week. INTELLECTUAL LEADERSHIP PROGRAMS THE FUTURE One fun campaign saw MSL introduce a new bacon “flavored” mouthwash for P&Gs Scope, an April Fool’s Day prank that generated massive mainstream and social media buzz. On a more serious note, the firm worked with National Grid in the wake of Hurricane Sandy to demonstrate how much Having spent the past couple of years making much of its status as the only public relations offer within the Publicis Groupe, it remains to be seen how MSL’s positioning and business strategy will be affected by the merger between its parent company and Omnicom (at which point it will be one of four multinational PR agencies under the new company’s umbrella). In the meantime, however, the firm needs to concentrate on building on its strengths in the US, and continuing to expand its global footprint, especially in the emerging markets where it is perhaps the strongest of the major players. Still playing catch-up with bigger, better established brands like Edelman, Weber Shandwick and FleishmanHillard, MSL recognizes that there’s little point trying to replicate its competitors; it needs to be a “next generation” agency. That means ”PERHAPS THE MOST SIGNIFICANT CHANGE IS THAT THROUGH A COMBINATION OF ITS OWN RESOURCES AND ITS PARTNERSHIP WITH FINANCIAL COMMUNICATIONS SPECIALIST KEKST AND COMPANY, MSL NOW HAS A PRETTY FORMIDABLE CORPORATE PRACTICE” a major commitment to digital, a more channel-agnostic approach to content, and an effort to be more data-driven. While those are all things its competitors are also attempting—with varying degrees of success—MSL has introduced some unique products and services over the past year or so, from its PurPle (Purpose+People) approach to corporate responsibility, which won our Service of the Year SABRE last year to its Influencer Relationship Management model. The firm also brought in Unilever’s Janelle Dixon as director of insights and measurement, and appointed its first strategic planner, Mike Standish from sister agency PBJS. They will help institutionalize the company had learned since its muchcriticized handling of snow storms only a few months before. The firm’s content creation capabilities, meanwhile, have been front and center of its Home Depot “Do It Herself” workshops, inspired by Pinterest. BRAND It’s only a couple of years since Manning Selvage & Lee became MSLGroup, and after what appeared to be a soft launch of the new brand, the firm is now adopting a higher profile both through its thought leadership (both PurPle and Influencer Relationship Management products generated interesting research) and a presence at events like the www.holmesreport.com 51
  • 52. Agency Report Card 2013 MWW GROUP acquisition of Capital Public Affairs, and the firm is a real powerhouse in the tri-state area. The Washington, DC, office continues to offer a range of expertise in public affairs and government contracting. There has been growth in California, too, with the acquisition of Enso Communications adding critical mass to existing operations in Los Angeles and San Francisco (where the firm has expertise in food and wine and technology). Other offices include Chicago, Dallas, and Seattle. INTERNATIONAL REACH Michael Kempner MOMENTUM In the second full year of its independence from Interpublic, MWW appeared to be enjoying its return to independence. There was growth of about 12 percent in terms of fee income—MWW ended 2012 at around $43 million, making it the 35th largest public relations firm in the world and one of the top 20 independents. A total of 77 new clients included the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (a $25 million, multiyear contract), Atkins Nutritionals, Booking. com, Dealer.com, OfficeMax, Verizon, and Virgin America. Just as important was a client retention rate of around 90 percent, so that the firm continues to work with marquee clients including Deloitte, McDonald’s, Nikon, and Samsung. NATIONAL REACH The firm’s Manhattan office has doubled in size over the past couple of years and is now home to more than 100 professional staff. Coupled with MWW’s East Rutherford headquarters, that makes the firm a major player in the New York area, with expertise in corporate and financial, consumer, and healthcare. Throw in the Trenton office, with its focus on public affairs and its recent 52 www.holmesreport.com MWW has opened a small London office with senior counselor Isabel Fox, a veteran of technology firm Hotwire and serial entrepreneur, but the one drawback to its separation from Interpublic is that it no longer has easy access to the operations of international sister agencies. While chief executive Michael Kempner has ambitions to extend the firm’s geographic presence, acquisitions have so far proven elusive. EXPERTISE While MWW initially built its reputation in corporate and financial communications and public affairs, particularly at the state level, it now has a well-balanced portfolio of business across five key practice areas. In the consumer lifestyle marketing arena, the firm has particular strength in consumer electronics and food and beverage, and a growing reputation in the automotive space. The corporate and financial practice, which includes the former Financial Relations Board operation, has strengths in investor relations, bankruptcies and restructurings, and crisis. The public affairs operation, meanwhile, has expanded beyond New Jersey and DC to become a truly national offer. And in the technology realm, it works with clients such as Samsung and NQ Mobile, while it healthcare practice works with a number of companies focused on health and wellbeing. The firm also teamed with Kevin Liles, founder and CEO of KWL Management and EVP of Warner Music Group, to launch MWW Entertainment. And it continues to expand a digital offer includes a wide range of content creation capabilities and a data and analytics focus that is among the best in the business (see below). TALENT A strong senior leadership team led by founder and CEO Michael Kempner— including chief operating officer David Herrick, consumer practice leader Alyssa Blate, corporate practice head Carreen Winters, and tech and digital maven Ephraim Cohen—has been in place for several years. It was supplemented in 2012 by JP Schuerman, who joined as general manager, MWW California, with the Enso acquisition; John Digles, a veteran of Blackberry and Edelman, who is now general manager in Chicago; and new senior vice presidents Laurie Armstrong (ex-Nokia), Shannon Eis (Conde Nast), Lisa Labrado (Paul Taylor Dance Company) and Bradford Walton (Edelman). CULTURE When Kempner led the MBO that saw MWW regain its independence, he cited the culture as a major factor: “Most of these people were with me before we sold and they hungered to get back to the exceedingly entrepreneurial culture we had back then, to the MWW way of doing things…. It’s very different to sit down and discuss growth plans and strategy with fellow owners, to pay people and reward them as owners, to work with them as owners.” But the hyper-entrepreneurialism that MWW grew up with has been mellowed by some more progressive initiatives in recent years. For example, the firm’s CommunityWorks initiative enables employees to support local charities and other causes, and the MWW Green initiative, launched in 2008, ensures that
  • 53. Agency Report Card 2013 environmental responsibility is incorporated into all aspects of business. INTELLECTUAL LEADERSHIP A year or so ago, MWW brought in a team of data analysts and programmers to build a new tool that could measure both trust and relevance. The result is NetRelevance, which leverages big data and advanced analytics to give clients deep insights into their communications strategies and programming. PROGRAMS BRAND One reason MWW has such a strong client retention record is its ability to continue delivering first rate media and business results for longstanding accounts. For McDonald’s franchise owners in the New York Tri-State market, MWW launched the first-ever McDonald’s Nutrition Network, which provides funds for grassroots community nutrition programs and has helped the company improve trust on healthy eating issues. For Nikon, the firm’s campaigns reached audiences at SXSW through a partnership MWW rebranded in 2012, emphasizing a core mission to make clients “Matter More”—a mission that is being backed by major investments in intellectual property, research and insights, organizational management, talent, new practice offerings, and integrated marketing services. The firm enjoys a reputation for scrappiness—both in terms of its new business activity and its work for clients—and entrepreneurialism, which gives it a distinctive flavor compared to other firms with a similar national reach. THE FUTURE ”AS THE MARKETING AND MEDIA LANDSCAPE CONTINUES TO CHANGE AT A RAPID PACE, MWW HAS THE POTENTIAL TO BE A DISRUPTIVE FORCE, PARTICULARLY AS IT LEVERAGES ITS AGILITY AS A SMALLER, INDEPENDENT FIRM” Other initiatives include the MWW Content Catalyst, a platform that combines analytics with a social and news channel ad network offering to determine what content will act as a catalyst for earned social and news media when promoted via paid media; MWW Amplified Media , a managed network of freelance writers and media partnerships managed by MWW that allows the firm to create and manage communities; MWW Data Visualization, a data mining platform; and MWW Market Measurement. 54 www.holmesreport.com with Warner Music Group and launched a Nikon 1 influencer program with celebrity “guest stars” including Ashton Kutcher. Its efforts for Samsung, meanwhile, helped the Galaxy Note launch campaign achieve 44 percent share of voice among smartphone media coverage on the day it was announced at CES 2012. The firm has also started work on a $25 million contract to bring tourists back to the New Jersey shore ravaged by Superstorm Sandy. As the marketing and media landscape continues to change at a rapid pace, MWW has the potential to be a disruptive force, particularly as it leverages its agility as a smaller, independent firm, to adjust rapidly: most obviously in its use of data and analytics and its digital capabilities. If it continues to focus on the things it does well, and if it can find a way to help clients whose focus is international rather than purely domestic, it can continue to shake things up the way it has enjoyed doing for the past couple of decades.
  • 54. Agency Report Card 2013 OGILVY PR WORLDWIDE assignments with aplomb). The Chicago office has grown into one of that market’s strongest, with more than 70 people working across practices, and the firm’s California operation includes strength in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, and Sacramento. Other US offices can be found in Atlanta, Boston, and Denver. INTERNATIONAL REACH Christopher Graves MOMENTUM Globally, Ogilvy enjoyed growth in the mid to high single digits last year, better than either of its larger WPP sister agencies (and most of its publicly-owned peer group), with North America making a solid contribution to that number. New business included consumer work for Darden, San Pellegrino, Tourism Fiji; Bristol-Myers Squibb, Pfizer (including the Viagra brand), Medtronic and Johns Hopkins in the healthcare arena; technology wins such as NCR; and work from Castrol, Citizens Bank, the National Association of Broadcasters, and more. The firm also continues to work for a number of iconic global brands, including American Express, Diageo, Ford, Intel, LG, Nestle. NATIONAL REACH Ogilvy’s Washington, DC, operation is a powerhouse, with 180 people and the highest revenue of any of its offices around the world, with strength in both traditional public affairs and in public sector work, supporting government agencies. The New York office, close to the Hudson, has an increasingly funky and creative vibe, fueled by new hires and a focus on new creative thinking (although it can also handle serious corporate and healthcare 56 www.holmesreport.com With 28 offices and 1,200 employees across the Asia-Pacific, Ogilvy continues to offer the broadest reach of any of the multinationals. The firm continues to lead in the two highest-revenue markets: China, where it has its own offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, as well as the H-Line brand, specializing in technology; and Australia, where the multi-brand strategy continues to pay dividends. Elsewhere, SouthEast Asia led the way in 2012, with the firm’s Indonesian and Malaysian operations up by about 25 percent each and its Philippines office up by better than 36 percent. Beyond the general lack of critical mass, there have been two specific questions about Ogilvy’s reach in Europe: the first concerned the firm’s UK operations, which as recently as a couple of years ago were barely big enough to make the top 50 but today has 150 people; the second was that fact that some of the most impressive operations—SPN Ogilvy in Russia, Memac Ogilvy in the Middle East and others— are not wholly-owned and don’t actually report into the EMEA PR business but to their local ad agencies. That doesn’t seem to have stood in the way of impressive regional growth last year. EXPERTISE While the Ogilvy brand is synonymous with marketing, the PR firm’s consumer practice has perhaps been overshadowed in recent years by its healthcare and social marketing businesses, its position not helped by some missteps on the personnel front. But a new leadership team promises to shake things up in terms of creativity, and ensure the PR operation is worthy of the Ogilvy name. The healthcare practice, meanwhile, became part of the CommonHealth operation—which had included a suite of services spanning advertising, digital, medical education and more—to provide a more integrated offer. The firm also continues to rank among the top two or three multinationals when it comes to social media, with its Social@ Ogilvy business growing by another 40 percent last year. TALENT The most significant change of the past 12 months saw the elevation of agency veteran Rob Mathias—who had previously run the Washington, DC, operation that remains the firm’s largest in revenue terms—to CEO of North America. Almost as important, the firm recruited the creative team of Brian Maloney and Margorie Fox, who had previously headed their own eponymous agency, to work alongside Mitch Markson in the brand marketing practice. Kate Cronin, another longtime leader, was elevated to a new role at the helm of Ogilvy’s integrated CommonHealth operation, while Nathan Friedman, who built the Chicago office into a major force, moved to California to take the helm of Ogilvy West. Significant new hires included Kevin Slagle from Capital Public Affairs in the Sacramento office; Karla Ballard—formerly on One Economy Corporation—in LA; Heather Wilson from Weber Shandwick’s corporate and crisis practice in Chicago; and Will Willis from Bite in New York. The firm also continues to attract digital and social talent from outside the PR business: former Coca-Cola social media manager Peter Fasano, Tribal DDB veteran Liz Taylor, and ex-journalists Heather Taylor (BBC) and Matthew Greenberg (USA Today).
  • 55. National multi-office multi-specialty firms CULTURE Slowly but surely, the traditional professional development program at Ogilvy is being supplemented by some new ideas that reflect global CEO Chris Graves’ vision of the future of the industry. New over the past 12 months are eclectic initiatives such as Arts@Ogilvy, an attempt to brighten the work environment; Writers at Large, which brings professional wordsmiths into the agency; and a series of “Red Talks” that seeks inspiration from professionals in creative fields from fashion to architecture. Ogilvy Earth sustainability practice to an “idea trip” bus that offers “mobile brainstorming” sessions, seeking inspiration from different settings. PROGRAMS Ogilvy picked up a trio of North American SABRE Awards this year, but its work rebuilding BP’s reputation, leveraging its Olympic sponsorship and showcasing American athletes at the Games, really stood out—and continued after the Games with the development of new digital and corporate BRAND Name recognition is not an issue for Ogilvy, although sometimes ensuring that the public relations operations has its own identity— distinct from its ad agency parent—can be a challenge. Still, recent years have seen an emphasis on thought leadership and an enhanced industry presence that have helped the firm emerge from that long shadow. Of particular note is Ogilvy PR’s digital footprint: it is one of the most social PR firms, leading and contributing to conversations on a wide range of topics. THE FUTURE ”OGILVY HAS BEEN PLACING MORE EMPHASIS THAN EVER ON INNOVATION, WITH THE RESULT THAT THE PR OPERATION IS TAKING THE LEAD IN A NUMBER OF OGILVY-WIDE INITIATIVES, FOCUSED ON AREAS RANGING FROM SOCIAL MEDIA TO SUSTAINABILITY” INTELLECTUAL LEADERSHIP A pioneer on the social media front, Ogilvy continues to develop new products, from Listening Post, a monitoring service that tracks issues and mines for insights, to a consumer intent modeling offer that uses analysis of search terms to provide consumers with the kind of content they are looking for. The new consumer team, meanwhile, has been coming up with new methodologies and the tools to support them, from a “purpose branding” offer that brings together experts in CSR, social marketing, and cause marketing with the firms Under Chris Graves, Ogilvy has been placing more emphasis than ever on innovation, with the result that the PR operation is taking the lead in a number of Ogilvy-wide initiatives, focused on areas ranging from social media to sustainability to OgilvyEngage, which applies techniques from neuroscience and behavioral economics to the firm’s longstanding social marketing capabilities. There seems little doubt that the firm has more respect within the Ogilvy & Mather family; it now needs to translate that into real competitive advantage in the marketplace. advertising content. On the consumer front, the firm is proud of its work as part of the WPP team that helped transform Ford from an automotive company into a lifestyle brand, while its digital work for the same company—most notably its new Ford “content studio”—is equally impressive. For clients like Nestle, meanwhile, the firm is going beyond social media to embrace social business. The healthcare practice introduced the new WeVibe at the Consumer Electronics Show, launching a campaign to de-stigmatize vibrators, and helped Boehringer-Ingelheim engage with the atrial fibrillation community. www.holmesreport.com 57
  • 56. Agency Report Card 2013 PORTER NOVELLI REGIONAL REACH Karen Van Bergen MOMENTUM After parting ways with its leadership triumvirate of Gary Stockman (CEO), Anthony Viceroy (CFO), and Julie Winskie (president) in 2012, Porter Novelli named highly-respected industry veteran Karen Van Bergen as the firm’s CEO at the start of 2013. Van Bergen previously headed the agency’s New York office, which she joined in 2011 after a lengthy stint in Europe that include senior comms positions at McDonald’s and Coca-Cola. Van Bergen’s ascension heralds a tangible sense of renewal at Porter Novelli, a 40-year-old agency that has struggled through a series of false dawns in recent years. Just as significant, the agency saw a windfall of new business from key client HP, which returned global consumer marketing duties for its IPG and PSG divisions. There was also new business from Durex, Glenfiddich, Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine, D&B, BlackRapid, Aston Martin, SanDisk and Britvic. While North American fee income was more or less flat in 2012, there was a double-digit increase in global bottomline, led by increased profitability in some key US offices. 58 www.holmesreport.com EXPERTISE Porter Novelli’s flagship New York office is a longtime leader in both consumer and healthcare communications. The Washington office—where Porter Novelli was founded—is home to a substantial social marketing and public sector capability, a growing public affairs practice and a major hub for the firm’s creative work. The Chicago office has grown in stature in recent years, and the firm maintains a comprehensive presence in California, with offices in Irvine, Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco, offering technology, life sciences and public affairs expertise. There is an increasingly important presence in Atlanta, and smaller offices in Austin, Boston, Ft. Lauderdale, and Seattle, and north of the border in Montreal and Toronto. PN also has an extensive Latin American network. Porter-Novelli’s three core areas of strength are healthcare, technology and brand marketing. While the latter two have led growth in recent years, the firm’s healthcare capabilities remain in good shape, illustrated by a strong of wins for such clients as Pfizer, BMS, J&J, Novartis and Bayer. Meanwhile, technology and consumer accounts growth (which included Durex, HP, NetApp, SanDisk, California Almond Board and Timberland) are regularly helped by the firm’s insights and analytics capabilities; it can credibly be regarded as a pioneer in this space, and is now attempting to leverage this heritage to help it capitalise on the shift towards data- and digital-centric communication. With that in mind, the firm launched a new PNConnect digital marketing and brand publishing unit, led by tech acquisition Voce. Porter’s public affairs practice in Washington DC has also performed strongly over the past couple of years, thanks in part to its expertise in healthcare regulatory issues. Porter also offers one of the top two or three social marketing practices in the country, serving an impressive portfolio of public sector clients. Porter Novelli has also rolled out a nascent multicultural communications practice that has already seen decent growth. INTERNATIONAL REACH In Europe, Porter-Novelli’s largest presence is in the UK, where the firm has stabilized and grown over the past couple of years under CEO Sally Ward, who presides over around 100 people. Other wholly-owned offices are Brussels; the Netherlands; Portugal; and Spain. Through a mix of wholly-owned operations, strategic alliances and affiliates, Porter Novelli offers reasonable coverage of the Asia-Pacific region. India is arguably the strongest part of the Porter Novelli network in the region, with the PRactice Porter Novelli focused primarily on technology business. In China, Porter Novelli’s partnership with local marketing communications giant Shunya International is now in its sixth year, and the firm has operations in Taiwan and Hong Kong. In Japan, Focused Porter Novelli has 20 staff; in Korea, Korcom Porter Novelli has 20. In the southern Asia operation, there’s a team of 14 in Singapore, mostly focused on serving regional business, 55 people split between three offices in Australia, and another 25 in New Zealand. TALENT While there has been substantial senior-level turnover during the past few years, Porter’s executive committee, perhaps as a result, has become a highly-functional, stable form of leadership. Van Bergen’s promotion to CEO augurs well for its global talent credentials, and she wasted little time in restructuring the agency’s leadership. 25-year Porter veteran and planning specialist Michael Ramah became chief client officer, while UK head Sally Ward took on responsibility for EMEA and Karen Ovseyevitz was named Latin America president. Public affairs head
  • 57. National multi-office multi-specialty firms ”PORTER-NOVELLI REFINED ITS BRAND POSITIONING AROUND THE CONCEPT OF ‘GREATER THAN’, IN A BID TO DEMONSTRATE HOW IT DOESN’T JUST INFLUENCE ATTITUDES BUT “MAKES PEOPLE BELIEVERS” Kiki McLean moved to a counselor role in Washington, DC, leaving an executive committee that also features Brad MacAfee (Atlanta) and Rich Cline (San Francisco), who hails from Voce and leads PNConnect. Van Bergen can also be credited with a significant influx of new talent, which has included global director of health Paul George, consumer SVP Fred Shank, global health and wellness SVP Henry Engleka, digital SVP Jesse Soleil, multicultural communications SVP Diana Valencia, public affairs SVP Nick Lanyi and global director of business development Kate Cusick. Following Van Bergen’s shift to global CEO, meanwhile, HP lead Darlan Monterisi became MD of the New York office. CULTURE The firm’s Porter Novelli University program remains one of the strongest professional development platforms in the PR industry. The agency also collaborates with parent company Omnicom’s training program at private business school Babson. Globally, the firm continues to train its people in its proprietary PN+ planning methodology. And, Porter Novelli also operates one of the best diversity programs in the industry, winning Best PR Firm Community Initiative from the Council of PR Firms’ Diversity Distinction in PR Awards. INTELLECTUAL LEADERSHIP Porter-Novelli’s insight-generation process PN+ forms a key part of its engagement planning platform, by attempting to “marry immersion with the rigour of data.” Indeed, the firm’s analytics operation, must count as one of the industry’s strongest. In 2013, it launched a new tool called PN Sonar that aims to capture the entire conversation taking place about a brand or organization – across print, broadcast and digital media – and uses algorithms based on client-specific lexicons to yield immediate and actionable strategic insights. Also this year, the agency rolled out PN Influence Modeling, to help clients identify which combination of content, delivery channels and stakeholders will have the best potential to influence a specific target audience to action. Both new tools join Radar, which provides round-theclock monitoring of key issues. PROGRAMS Porter-Novelli’s work for the Almond Board of California took home a coveted Silver Anvil at the 2013 PRSA Awards, after raising significant awareness of the taste and versatility benefits of almonds among a critical audience of research chefs, and driving the addition of almond-based menu items to national chain restaurant menus. And the firm’s CSR work for Uncle Ben’s was awarded Best Facebook Campaign at the 2013 PR News CSR Awards. Other notable campaigns included the ‘Yo SOY’ Hispanic campaign of behalf of SOYJOY; and, the firm’s research work for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. BRAND Porter-Novelli refined its brand positioning around the concept of ‘Greater Than’, in a bid to demonstrate how it doesn’t just influence attitudes but “makes people believers” in Van Bergen’s words. Van Bergen herself offers something that Porter has desperately needed in recent years — a highly visible figurehead that will can represent both Porter Novelli and the wider PR industry with aplomb. Slowly but surely, Porter-Novelli’s profile is improving, helping to quash speculation regarding a possible merger with an Omnicom stablemate. THE FUTURE Like all of its sibling firms, Porter Novelli probably has more questions than answers regarding the potential blockbuster merger of its parent group Omnicom with French holding company Publicis Groupe. Regardless, under Van Bergen’s dynamic leadership, Porter Novelli is starting to realise some of the benefits of its midsize status: an ability to be more nimble than its peers and focus on specific areas of expertise. Porter-Novelli remains the smallest of Omnicom’s global networks and also appears to be growing at a slower rate. Given the pace of change at the agency, and improving new business momentum, it may be reasonable safe to say that Porter Novelli has finally turned a corner, even if — as it attempts to pull its weight as a genuine global network — there are plenty of challenges ahead. www.holmesreport.com 59
  • 58. Agency Report Card 2013 RUDER FINN NATIONAL REACH The divestiture of Finn Partners left Ruder Finn with a somewhat diminished national network. Its flagship New York office is still impressive, though, home to significant consumer, healthcare and corporate communications business and to the formidable RF Studios operation. The firm also re-established itself on the west coast, with a San Francisco office that will have technology and digital capabilities. And it has “hubs” in both Boston and Washington, DC, that allow it to provide on-the-ground support in both markets. Kathy Bloomgarden MOMENTUM Two particularly notable metrics indicate the direction in which Ruder Finn’s business is evolving: more than 50 percent of its revenue now comes from a dozen or so sevenfigure clients, and close to three-quarters comes from global multinationals—both numbers up significantly in the past 12 months. So while fee income was essential flat at around the $56 million mark last year (following the divestiture of Finn Partners in 2011 and the shuttering of its print design business in 2012), the bottom line looks a lot healthier than it did. New work came from Kering, Mondelez, Baxter, Haier, Opera Software, and San Francisco’s Museum of Science and Technology, while RF continues to work with the likes of Novartis, Visa, AstraZeneca, Bosch, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Michelin, Pepsico, and Volkswagen: its top 10 clients have an average tenure of 10 years-plus and continue to trust Ruder Finn with increasingly mission critical work. 60 www.holmesreport.com EXPERTISE Ruder Finn continues to derive more than 40 percent of its revenues from the health and wellness category, which includes some traditional pharmaceutical business (always a strength) as well as an increasingly broad range of wellness-related work. The consumer connections category and work in the realm corporate and public trust (which includes assignments for government agencies and non-profits as well as multinational corporations) each contribute more than 20 percent. The remainder is made up of technology and innovation practice work. The firm’s RFI Studios, meanwhile, contributes cutting-edge content to every practice. INTERNATIONAL REACH Almost a third of Ruder Finn’s revenue—$17.2 million—comes from its Asia-Pacific operations, which grew by about 20 percent last year, with the marketing business (Ruder Finn has been among the leaders when it comes to targeting affluent Chinese consumers and acquired brand and event marketing specialist Thunder Communications in 2011 to provide a conflict business) leading the way. The firm has more than 150 people in offices in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, and Hong Kong. The Singapore operation—which serves as a hub for regional and South-East Asia business—was a star performer last year, and the other big news was the expansion of operations in India. Ruder Finn’s UK operations have been progressing nicely since the appointment four years ago of managing director Nick Leonard, and the pursuit of a diversification strategy that has seen the firm expand beyond its core healthcare business to add critical mass in growth areas such as technology, corporate communications and public affairs, and digital. The Paris office was shuttered in 2012. TALENT With David Finn continuing to serve as chairman and Kathy Bloomgarden as chief executive, continuity is no problem, especially since the rest of the leadership team—chief innovation officer Michael Schubert, chief global strategist Louise Harris, chief digital officer Scott Schneider—has been around for a while also. Key additions in 2012 include Dushka Zapata, who joined from the San Francisco office for Ogilvy & Mather to lead the firm’s west coast operations; healthcare veteran Rum Ekhtiar, who returned to RF from MSL as executive vice president; and Patrice Diaz-Migoyo as director of technology. On the digital front, meanwhile, the firm has been importing talent from places like R/GA, Huge, Ultra 16, thebarbariangroup, and even MIT in an effort to drive a culture of innovation. CULTURE One of the things that differentiates Ruder Finn from some of its large, publicly-traded, full-service peers is the amount of trust that it is prepared to place in youth and potential. That means a culture in which empowered young
  • 59. National multi-office multi-specialty firms THE FUTURE ”BLOOMGARDEN SEES RUDER FINN EVOLVING INTO A TRULY GLOBAL BUSINESS—THERE’S A GOOD BALANCE BETWEEN THE US BUSINESS AND ITS GROWING ASIAN OPERATION—WITH DUAL HEADQUARTERS IN NEW YORK AND BEIJING, DIFFERENTIATED BY ITS CREATIVE EDGE AND ITS STRATEGIC THINKING” people can advance rapidly, something that’s especially important in the digital and social media age. The firm has earned recognition from PR News for its ”challenge culture,” which pushes staff to seek assignments that stretch their abilities and encourages them to contribute at the highest level possible, and for its flexible work environment. INTELLECTUAL LEADERSHIP A major priority for Ruder Finn in the past couple of years has been strengthening the firm’s reputation for strategic counsel—an area in which Kathy Bloomgarden’s book on “Trust” helped establish the firm’s credentials, but in which its broader credentials are still underappreciated. The firm has also been producing a stream of interesting digital and social insights, from the “Like Blitz” study, which measured how many “likes” were generated by Super Bowl ads, to the RF Intent Index, which measures brand recommendations and advocacy on social network. Bloomgarden sees Ruder Finn evolving into a truly global business—there’s a good balance between the US business and its growing Asian operation—with dual headquarters in New York and Beijing, differentiated by its creative edge and its strategic thinking. It’s in that latter area that Ruder Finn needs to work hard to convince the marketplace that it has something different to offer. PROGRAMS The kind of strategic role Ruder Finn is playing for its clients can be seen in a variety of programs, from its support of Mondelez’ “Mobile Futures” initiatives—the Kraft spinoff is collaborating with young, ambitious mobile startups to transform consumer engagement and path-to-purchase—to its executive positioning work for enterprise software startup Infor, or its partnership with the Michael J Fox Foundation, forging strategic alliances with companies like Nike. Its content creation capabilities are evident in its support for Baxter’s hemophilia franchise, which has included game development, BRAND Founded in 1948, Ruder Finn has been celebrating its 65th anniversary this year, with a celebration that encompasses both the firm’s history (founder David Finn’s commitment to both creativity and ethical business practices) and its future (though a “creative edge” tumblr). The firm’s RF Studios blog and ethics blog, meanwhile, reinforce key aspects of its culture and positioning. www.holmesreport.com 61
  • 60. Agency Report Card 2013 W2O and Los Angeles, so did the company’s core strengths that now include, not only diverse sector expertise, but also impressive analytics capabilities. W2O’s anchor brand, WCG, is hubbed in San Francisco with offices in New York, Los Angeles, Austin and London. Meanwhile, Twist, the integrated marketing communications shop, is headquarted in New York with additional staff across the country, as well as in London. Brand communications shop Brew Life and W2O ventures are based in San Francisco. INTERNATIONAL REACH Jim Weiss MOMENTUM In 2012, the former WeissComm relaunched as the W2O Group, a holding company that houses anchor firm WCG, as well as Twist Marketing, W2O Ventures and Brew Life. This restructuring seems to be reaping generous rewards. In 2012, the company grew 30% to $62 million, up from $47.5 million in the prior year. At the end of last year, W2O counted nearly 350 people, compared with 250 in 2011. The year was also buoyed with notable hires and strategic acquisitions, including the Austin-based firms VM Foundry and Ravel, as well as the London-based Mettle Consulting. Altogether, the W2O Group has made exceptional strides expanding beyond its healthcare roots with its tech and consumer practices growing more 100% in the year. W2O Group was also awarded the Holmes Report’s top digital agency honor this year for developing some of the most sophisticated digital and analytics chops in the industry. NATIONAL REACH W2O Group’s flagship in San Francisco was founded by CEO Jim Weiss, focusing mostly on the healthcare sector. As the national network grew with offices in New York, Austin 62 www.holmesreport.com In the last 12 months, W2O Group acquired London-based Mettle Consulting to build analytics products and offerings focused on reputation, trust and governance for its growing corporate and strategy practice. The group positions its capabilities as global, with the ability to operate in all continents, although its only international office is currently in London. This year the group hired senior communications strategist London-based Annalise Coady to join its global tech practice. WCG also bought Refreshed Wellbeing, a pan-European digital communications agency that specializes in health and pharmaceutical brands. EXPERTISE By developing one of strongest analytics capabilities in the PR sector, the W2O Group has successfully graduated beyond its roots as a healthcare shop. Long before ‘big data’ became one of the most fashionable terms in public relations lexicon, W2O was investing in the kind of resources that could establish it as a leader in the space. The investment has continued into 2012 with its acquisition of Mettle Consulting in the UK to build analytics products and offerings focused on reputation, trust and governance, and Ravel in the US to deliver a combination of historical information and real-time insights to clients; creating MDigital Life to help understand how physicians are using social media to improve patient health; and launching W2O Group/ Newhouse Center for Social Commerce in partnership with Syracuse University to build on the social commerce leadership of founder Jim Weiss and social media guru Bob Pearson. Clients include BMC Software, Michaels, Mitsubishi, Yoplait, Hershey’s, Cepheid, QualcommLife and Genomic Health. TALENT W2O has made a point to make unconventional PR hires to give it true digital chops – among these: software engineers, data engineers, ad and branding copy writers and creative directors. Founder Jim Weiss runs the group with an impressive bench that includes president Bob Pearson, CFO Tony Esposito, chief business designer Paulo Simas; in addition to practice leads – Jenn Gottlieb, health; Aaron Stout, social commerce; Craig Alperowitz, consumer; Dave Mihalovic, digital; Gary Grates, corporate; Paul Dyer, media + engagement; Kim Kraemer, business design; and Tim Marklein, technology & analytics. Notable new hires over the last 12 months include Chris Deri as president of WCG, Lionel Menchaca as chief blogger from Dell, and Coady to run the EMEA tech practice. Others include Maura Bergen, MD of Twist formerly of Ketchum and Novartis; Joe Lin, executive creative director, formerly of Saatchi & Saatchi; Cira Montreys as group medical director; Jamie Peck co-head of W2O Digital; Jenn Samuels as MD of WCG Healthcare 360; and Christine Tadgell MD of London. CULTURE It’s clear that W2O values entrepreneurialism and employees that elevate and innovate are rewarded. But amid W2O’s dizzying growth – including numerous acquisitions – it seems
  • 61. National multi-office multi-specialty firms the group has struggled to cement a cohesive culture. Several self-reported reviews on job site Glassdoor complain of high-churn and growth trumping culture. INTELLECTUAL LEADERSHIP W2O’s most prominent intellectual leadership is on display at digital festival SXSWi. For the past few years, the group has hosted a Social Commerce Summit during the week in which about 20 speakers give 10 TED-like talks with a common thread to Pearson, Aaron Strout and Chuck Hemann. PROGRAMS Through its acquisition of Mettle, W2O was able to fold some key products into its offering, including BrandRep that quantifies a business’s trust profile to leverage value from corporate and brand initiatives and GovnRisk that provides an index for evaluating corporate governance risks in a business context. The group also formed a partnership with locationbased social monitoring firm SnapTrends to match its listening technology with W2O’s ”W2O HAS MADE A POINT TO MAKE UNCONVENTIONAL PR HIRES TO GIVE IT TRUE DIGITAL CHOPS – AMONG THESE: SOFTWARE ENGINEERS, DATA ENGINEERS, AD AND BRANDING COPY WRITERS AND CREATIVE DIRECTORS” social commerce. This year’s event featured speakers (mostly clients) from Verizon, Marketwired’s Sysomos, Fidelity Investments, Intuit, The Hershey Company, Michaels, Johnson & Johnson, BMC Software, Waze, Mitsubishi, YouTube/Google and Susan G. Komen. In 2012, W2O Group also created the W2O Group Center for Social Commerce at the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. The Center focuses on imparting social commerce skills on students, professors, staff and clients. Many of W2O’s leaders and subject matter experts are published authors in their field of expertise, including Bob name a few. As long as W2O keeps delivering on these ideas and demonstrates their viability with client case studies, it will be afforded the leeway to coopt as many buzzwords it can productize. THE FUTURE W2O’s has cemented solid leadership positioning in the analytics realm and continues to be one of the fastest growing agencies of its size. It’s telling that the Holmes Report, not only named it the digital agency of 2013, but also expanded its report card this year, placing it among agencies more than three times its size. Yet, amid such growth, W2O faces some real challenges in building and sustaining a coherent vision and culture that persuades its staff, at all levels, to hang on for the ride. social analytics methodology. When the group acquired the Austin-based data company Ravel, it was able to integrate its numerous software assets and pending patents into its analytics infrastructure. BRAND W2O’s has developed its brand positioning around the concept of “Pragmatic Disruption of the Status Quo” to align its investments with tangible business value, rather than innovation for its own sake. The group also coins – or, at least, takes ownership of, some of the most inventive concepts in the industry: forensic analytics, social commerce and storytizing, to www.holmesreport.com 63
  • 62. Agency Report Card 2013 WAGGENER EDSTROM NATIONAL REACH Melissa Waggener Zorkin MOMENTUM Waggener Edstrom continues its formidable position as the third-largest independent in the US. In 2012, its global revenue was $118.5 million – up by about 2.3% the prior year. US revenues made up slightly more than $100 million of this and grew by a little less than 1%. The firm retained 89% of its clients in 2012 and about 85% -- including HTC, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Shire, Texas Instruments, T-Mobile and Microsoft -- have been with Waggener Edstrom for more than two years. Of that group, 17 clients have been with Wagg Ed for more than three years and one since the agency’s founding in 1983. In 2012, the firm experienced organic expansion and also added 140 global clients – this growth included Abbott/Abbvie following Abbott’s split into two companies; Microsoft’s Hardware that includes the Surface; Windows Embedded, including its work with Ford; and L’Oreal Paris for project work. Global headcount totaled 939 employees across 20 offices – up from 800 in 2011. Employee retention worldwide in 2012 was 75% and approximately 43% of hires came from the agency’s referral program. 64 www.holmesreport.com EXPERTISE Waggener Edstrom remains the dominant public relations agency in the Pacific Northwest, with its Seattle and Portland, Ore., offices the largest in that part of the country by some margin, serving as the hub for many of the firm’s largest technology accounts. But the firm has also established itself as a market leader in other technology centers, such as Silicon Valley and Austin, and has a growing East Coast presence through its office in Boston, New York and Washington DC. The firm serves Latin America through a partnership with the JeffreyGroup and Canada through an alliance with Apex Public Relations. Wagg Ed’s heritage, no doubt, is rooted in the tech sector. But as the firm has evolved and deliberately expanded its expertise, it now has credible chops across the healthcare sector and is making inroads as a consumer shop. The healthcare practice grew globally by 22.4%, buoyed by its acquisition of Patzer PR. In the US, several new healthcare clients were brought on aboard including Target, Covidien and Cambia Health Solutions. The social innovation practice in North America grew by more than 25% with a number of new clients including PATH, a major global health NGO funded, in part, by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and USAID. For some time, the firm was recognized for its content creation arm, Studio D. But in recent years, Wagg Ed decided to dismantle Studio D and integrate its capabilities –which included sophisticated digital storytelling and app development– into account teams, rather than maintaining the production capabilities as its own entity. To reinforce the firm’s more integrated focus, Wagg Ed also recently introduced its Influence Institute, an internal program designed to help account teams build their integrated influence skills. INTERNATIONAL REACH Revenues in EMEA grew by 6%, primarily due to Wagg Ed’s 2012 acquisition of Patzer PR, a Munich-based healthcare PR firm that specializes in the over-the-counter pharmaceuticals sector as well as other segments of the healthcare market. This buy added to Wagg Ed’s branded offices in the UK, Germany and France. Where the agency doesn’t have a wholly-owned firm, it taps into its network of WE Global Alliance Partners. In 2012, the agency also opened its 19th global office in Geneva, Switzerland, and the addition of three new Global Alliance affiliates in Brazil, the Philippines and Miami, Florida. In Asia, revenue grew by a strong 29% primarily due to solid growth in Hong Kong and Singapore. In addition, Waggener Edstrom made an equity investment in Shout Communications Korea, an integrated marketing and communications agency based in Seoul that specializes in the technology and consumer industries. Even so, Wagg Ed still considers the US to be its highest performing region when taking into account the region’s overall revenues and contribution to margins. TALENT CEO and co-founder Melissa Waggener Zorkin continues as the firm’s aspiration leader, supported by a strong leadership team that includes Julie Allport (more than 25 years at Wagg Ed) as chief of staff; Dawn Beauparlant as head of the Microsoft business (about a decade with the firm); Michael Bigelow as chief administrative officer (20 years with the firm); Jennifer Granston Foster as chief operating officer (13 years); Corey Kalbfleisch as chief financial officer (nearly 5 years); Jenny Moede as president of North America (19 years); chief client officer Claire LeMatta (nearly 30 years); and Chris Talago EVP of EMEA (more than 5 years). But the firm also
  • 63. National multi-office multi-specialty firms “ ”SINCE BRANCHING BEYOND TECH, WAGGENER EDSTROM HAS PUT THE WEIGHT OF ITS BRANDING INTO GIVING INNOVATION A VOICE – ACROSS ALL SECTORS” encountered some high-profiles personnel losses over the last 12 months. Colleen Beauregard, Wagg Ed’s US healthcare practice co-lead and GM for the Northeast region, departed after more than 16 years to join TJX Companies as an assistant VP in corporate communications. Aimee Corso, who co-led the healthcare practice since 2010, took over the post and Chris Stamm became GM of the Boston office. Ben Finzel, who was named GM of the firm’s DC office in 2012, left in the summer of 2013 – and there are not plans to replace his position. CULTURE Wagg Ed has been named the Holmes Report’s Best Large Agency to Work For in North America more than any other firm, earning the title again in 2012. The agency earns praise for putting “employees first” and “work-life balance.” This manifests in robust benefits including a 401k with employer match; reimbursement for mobile and internet usage; AAA membership and even pet and nanny services; a professional development program that includes more than 250 trainings and a Leadership Forum, as well as a commitment to diversity via the Lagrant Foundation. Wagg Ed also offers a paid internship program and global exchange program for 18 employees to experience different cultures by working in agency offices around the world. The firm also continues its global internship program and partnership with De La Salle North, a high school in Portland, Ore., to support its Corporate Internship Program that helps ethnically diverse students from low-income backgrounds gain life skills and experience while earning a portion of the cost for their education and academic credit. In 2012, the firm also exceeded its goal of donating 1% of gross revenue by contributing more than $1.4 million in pro-bono work, donations and employee volunteer efforts. INTELLECTUAL LEADERSHIP Waggener Edstrom, once again, displayed its intellectual leadership at SXSWi. At the 2013 event, the agency joined forces with Little Bird and Tater Tot Designs to create a web app called Hey Little Big Fish that helped those attending—or tracking—the conference measure the people and topics that carried the most influence. This built upon the Tweeta-Beer app that Wagg Ed launched at SXSWi 2012 as a partnership with tenfour. Tweet-aBeer connected Twitter and PayPal accounts to send and redeem beers for attendees. The firm also developed a News of the Day app that features a real-time stream of top company and industry news, as well as top trending stories on Twitter and top company and topic mentions. PROGRAMS It’s no surprise that Waggener Edstrom’s strongest work often comes by way of its founding client Microsoft. In 2012, Wagg Ed helped the tech behemoth launch the worldwide availability of the newest version of its operating system – Windows 8. This involved a wide variety of launch activities from product milestone disclosure strategy to a global launch – ultimately producing coverage that drove retail lines and upgrade purchases around the world.
 a campaign’s focus back to the business problem at hand and expectations. The agency’s social innovation branding has been supported with research and executive visibility. In 2013, CEO Melissa Waggener Zorkin was selected to join one of the inaugural TED Challenges focused on the issue of tracking and tracing vaccines, with the goal of reducing waste and getting more vaccines into the hands of those who need them. Also this year, Wagg Ed released findings for its “Trendspotting: Social Media For Social Good” survey conducted in partnership with Georgetown University. The firm was also the official partnering agency of the PSFK Conference Series. THE FUTURE While Waggener Edstrom’s remains among the world’s top tech agencies, it is also making notable strides on the healthcare front. But its greatest branding opportunity seems to be in the area of applying innovation, especially for social matters. CEO Zorkin’s high visibility on social innovation has helped broaden the firm’s reputation beyond Microsoft and other top tech clients in recent years. Even so, outside of its technology (and increasingly, healthcare) comfort zone, Wagg Ed isn’t competing in the same league with the full-service multinationals – but with the right allocation of resources, that shift isn’t necessarily too far off the horizon. BRAND Since branching beyond tech, Waggener Edstrom has put the weight of its branding into giving innovation a voice – across all sectors. Wagg Ed also positions itself as taking a holistic communications approach for every medium. For instance, its integrated influence methodology encompasses planning, execution and measurement across earned, paid and owned media. The process also includes a circular model that regularly brings www.holmesreport.com 65
  • 64. Agency Report Card 2013 WEBER SHANDWICK affairs operation is supplemented by Powell Tate), in Los Angeles (where its operations include entertainment PR powerhouse Rogers & Cowan), and in Chicago and Minneapolis (strong in consumer and financial services respectively). INTERNATIONAL REACH Andy Polansky MOMENTUM Weber Shandwick consolidated its status at the largest publicly-held public relations agency in the world last year, its 6.5 percent growth once again surpassing its peer group average. There were new assignments from existing clients such as American Airlines, Bank of America, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, GM, Novartis, Unilever and Verizon, and new business wins including work for the Diet Pepsi and Pepsi Next brands, the Big 10 college sports conference, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, The Home Depot, Ricoh, the United States Postal Service, and—one of the biggest PR assignments of the year—the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services for implementation of the new health insurance marketplaces that are part of the Affordable Care Act. NATIONAL REACH Weber Shandwick continued to deliver strong growth in all of its major offices, with the New York headquarters leading the way, thanks to a banner year for the corporate communications and healthcare practices and continuing strength in the consumer arena. Weber Shandwick is a formidable player in Washington (where its own public 66 www.holmesreport.com Weber Shandwick continues to derive the largest part of its EMEA revenues from its UK operations, where it is probably the third largest employer of public relations talent after the government and the BBC. On the continent, the Paris office was the top performer, with income surging by 12 percent on the back of some Olympic bid work and strong local market growth—enough to earn it agency of the year recognition in local awards. There was strong growth in the Netherlands too, a more modest increase in Spain, but continuing economic challenges in Italy and the loss of the Samsung business in Germany made for tough years in both markets. As recently as five years ago, Weber Shandwick had some major holes in its Asia-Pacific network; today, the firm has coverage of the region as complete as any of its rivals. The firm’s substantial mainland China and Hong Kong businesses continued to grow at a healthy pace in 2012 and it continues to hold a market leading position in Singapore and top five spot in Australia. Its expansion into Korea, under the leadership of market veteran Tyler Kim, has been especially impressive but perhaps the most significant development of 2012 was the acquisition of longtime Indian partner Corporate Voice. EXPERTISE Weber Shandwick has an impressive heritage in the consumer space (with marquee clients such as Unilever, Mars, Pepsi and MilkPEP) balanced with strong corporate credentials (with traditional expertise in crisis communications, public affairs, employee engagement and CSR supplemented by a new focus on what the firm calls “enterprise brand voice” and encompassing proactive corporate brand storytelling and reputation protection). And no firm has done a better job of diversifying its portfolio than Weber Shandwick, with clients in the biotechnology, pharmaceutical, consumer health, medical devices, health IT, insurance, professional associations, health systems and hospitals, with major new assignments in 2012 including the highprofile Health & Human Services Department ‘Obamacare’ brief. The firm also has a strong, diverse technology practice, which includes expertise in mobile, clean tech and digital entertainment. The launch of mediaco—a specialist unit focused on content creation and publishing—underscored Weber Shandwick’s growing capabilities in and commitment to the digital space. TALENT The transition from Harris Diamond to Andy Polansky in the global CEO role has been seamless, and the majority of the leadership team remains stable, with Gail Heimann (president and chief strategy officer), Cathy Calhoun (chief client officer), and Sara Gavin (North American president) continuing to fill key roles. Some of the most significant additions in 2012 came in areas such as planning (Ben Kalevitch as senior VP, strategy, from Monitor Group); digital (Hamilton Tamayo from Digitas); social (Obama campaign veteran Amelia Showalter as senior VP in DC); paid media (Eric Reif, another Obama vet, as director of media strategy); and analytics (Allyson Hugley as EVP, measurement, analytics and insight in New York, from MSL). CULTURE In addition to launching a new brand externally, Weber Shandwick has been working to ensure that employees around the world understand and buy into its new
  • 65. National multi-office multi-specialty firms BRAND ”WEBER SHANDWICK CONSOLIDATED ITS STATUS AT THE LARGEST PUBLICLY-HELD PUBLIC RELATIONS AGENCY IN THE WORLD LAST YEAR, ITS 6.5 PERCENT GROWTH ONCE AGAIN SURPASSING ITS PEER GROUP AVERAGE” Weber Shandwick introduced a new corporate identity, supported by a radically redesigned website, and a host of additional marketing activities, all built around the firm’s “engaging, always” engagement methodology, which seems ideally suited for the “engagement era.” Supported by an impressive commitment to thought leadership, and a broad-based corporate citizenship initiative, the Weber Shandwick brand is one of the strongest and healthiest in the business. THE FUTURE engagement positioning, and the launch of a new “engaging, always” internal TV channel includes both live broadcasts and multimedia training programs, supplemented by an expanded intranet that includes knowledge sharing and professional development materials, but is focused on fostering a culture of collaboration among the firm’s 3,000 employees worldwide. A new commitment to CSR, meanwhile, was underpinned by the launch of the Weber Shandwick Impact Project, with an emphasis on environment, education and technology issues. INTELLECTUAL LEADERSHIP Like many of its peers, Weber Shandwick is striving to put data and analytics front and center, incorporating research and insights into everything from new business pitches to measurement and evaluation. The firm’s proprietary “engagement index” tool, for example, measures how well a company’s communications efforts inform, influence, involve and incite its key stakeholders, relative to a competitive set, and provides a wealth of diagnostic information. The firm is also developing its storytelling capabilities, through a GoLive offer the combines a commitment to visual storytelling with social media tools to keep brands engaged with their consumers. The firm has also introduced its “element” scientific communication operation, which includes a wide range of medical and scientific experts. PROGRAMS Weber Shandwick’s content creation work ranges from a website focused on the future of electric vehicles—a mix of lifestyle and automotive content—to a series of adrenaline pumping films for Unilever’s Degree deodorant brand to cutting-edge brand journalism for Verizon at the Consumer Electronic Show. Other interesting work ranges from recruiting athletes as advocates for the ongoing gotmilk? campaign—promoting chocolate milk’s role in muscle recovery—to corporate work (from employee engagement to M&A communications) for American Airlines to the “This is personal” public affairs and public education campaign focused on reproductive freedom for the New Hampshire Women’s Law Center. The strategies and services that have been a focus for investment over the past couple of years are clearly designed to help the firm take market share not only from other PR agencies, but from competitors in advertising, digital and even management consulting. There are areas in which PR firms typically still look underresourced in comparison to their competitors in those businesses, but if anyone can break through, IPG’s flagship PR agency—clearly one of the two best PR firms in the world in recent years—would be one of the favorites. www.holmesreport.com 67
  • 66. NORTH AMERICA: SPECIALISTS, BOUTIQUES, SMALL & MID-SIZE FIRMS Agency Report Card 2013 North America KEY TO LISTINGS: ABCDEF = online directory listing 68 www.holmesreport.com THE ABERNATHY MACGREGOR GROUP Corporate and investor communications with crisis, litigation, and M&A capabilities and financial services expertise NEW YORK H CHICAGO H SAN FRANCISCO H LOS ANGELES H HOUSTON ABERNATHY MacGregor does everything a high-end strategic corporate and financial public relations specialist is supposed to do. It has one of the biggest and best mergers and acquisitions practices in North America, having worked on 87 deals worth more than $108 billion last year (including Softbank’s acquisition of Sprint Nextel, Baxter International’s acquisition of Gambro, Carlyle Group’s acquisition of Getty Images, Dell’s acquisition of Quest Software, and Office Depot’s merger with OfficeMax). It remains a leader in the (admittedly soft) initial public offerings space, working with The Carlyle Group, and others. It has formidable litigation capabilities, advising a major western utility as it seeks to rebuild its reputation and resolve some past governance issues. And it is involved in some of the most high-profile shareholder activism battles, advising Office Depot in its fight with Starboard, PepsiCo in its dealings with Relational, CVR Energy in its fight with Carl Icahn. It also features the depth of management and counseling expertise one would expect from a firm involved in so many high-stakes issues. Longtime AMG execs Chuck Burgess and Tom Johnson stepped up to new leadership roles in 2010 and 2012 respectively, and serve as co-presidents alongside chairman and chief executive James Abernathy, one of the giants of the business. Carina Davidson, who heads the IPO practice, was promoted to chief operating officer last year, while Elizabeth Micci was named an executive vice president. Last year saw the continued expansion of the San Francisco office, under the leadership of managing director David Schneiderman, and the addition of a new Chicago operation, helmed by senior counselor Ron Iori, a veteran of corporate roles at companies including H&R Block and of his own consulting firm. AMG has considerable expertise in a variety of sectors, and expanded its ongoing relationships with blue-chip corporate brands including Wal-Mart, Toyota, and UPS last year and continuing its work with SAB Miller, Estee Lauder, Ralph Lauren, KKR, TIAA-CREF and Sprint. New business came from AECOM, Blackstone Group, Coty, EADS, Heidrick & Struggles, Johnson & Johnson, and Phillips 66. The healthcare team has grown impressively, working with clients across the healthcare spectrum, from nursing homes to biotech. Recent high-profile projects included Royalty Pharmaceuticals’s pursuit of Elan, Thermo Fisher Scientific’s acquisition of Life Technologies, and the largest MediCare settlement in California history. The private equity practice has also delivered strong growth, advising on investments, divestitures, portfolio company issues, labor union pressure, and increased public scrutiny surrounding the US presidential election. “I have worked with Abernathy McGregor for almost 15 years in my role as the chief communications officer for a couple of different companies,” says Karen Raskopf, chief communications officer at Dunkin Brands. “I have also recommended them to other PR and IR professionals, all of whom have been as delighted with their services as I have been. Through the years, Abernathy has supported and counseled me through two IPOs and a wide range of financial announcements and events. They are total professionals, produce great work, oftentimes under impossible deadlines, and have a knack of treating me as if I am their only client. I have complete trust their advice and their discretion and am very comfortable having them interact with my C-level executives.” Over the past decade or so, the firm has invested considerable time and energy in building out AMO, the internaitonal network it founded along with sister firms Maitland in the UK and Euro RSCG C&O in France, Belgium and Dubai and leading independents Hering Schuppener (Germany) and Llorente & Cuenca (Spain). The network has expanded to include firms in Switzerland, the Netherlands and Sweden, and more recently Porda Havas in Hong Kong and China, and now brings together more than 500 professionals who work seamlessly across borders on multimarket M&A, investor relations and corporate communications issues.—PH ACCESS COMMUNICATIONS Consumer, technology specialist SAN FRANCISCO H NEW YORK FIVE years after its acquisition by Publicis Omnicom-owned Ketchum, founder/CEO Susan Butenhoff (also a partner at Ketchum) remains at the helm of Access. The marriage has helped Access parlay its 20-plus years of tech PR heritage into a slew of food-related consumer wins. Among these, Annie’s Organics and the national roll-out for Peet’s Coffee
  • 67. The best strategies are found well below the surface. from uncovering critical insights to building brands to inspiring audiences to action, we go deeper. to learn more about our advertising, public relations, digital and social media, crisis communications and investor relations capabilities, visit padillacRt.com. Minneapolis : RichMond : new YoRk : los angeles : washington, d.c. : noRfolk
  • 68. Agency Report Card 2013 North America were recently added to a roster of longstanding client relationships, including Intuit, 2K Games/ Sports, Trend Micro, LUNA, Safeway and Toshiba. Among other new wins: Rearden Commerce, Jive Software, LegalZoom, Foundation Capital, and Transit Wireless. But Access also endured some notable losses on the tech side, including PayPal, Polycom and CA Technologies. Key focus areas are: B2B/Enterprise IT, B2C consumer technology, gaming (video and software), and consumer packaged goods, with a focus on food. In 2012, Access grew 19 percent yearover-year and launched three new practice areas. Access Analytics focuses on the importance of big data for companies in the data marketing, buying, aggregating or analyzing space. It draws upon the agency’s expertise in the ad:tech space with clients: eBay’s TrueAction, Experian, Neustar and AddThis, Gigya and SocialVibe. Access Digital, led by VP Trevor Jonas, formalizes the firm’s social engagement, digital storytelling and measurement/analytics offerings. Access Visual, led by VP Keith Hart, won three awards in 2012 for its work with graphic and web design. High-profile assignments have included Intuit’s Innovation Gallery Walk, an immersive storytelling event that gave more than 100 influencers product and brand experience; and a campaign involving Transit Wireless’ contract to install connectivity throughout the New York subway system. “The Access team has a deep and broad skillset around our service offerings, senior level expertise around the market issues we confront and the kind of communications guidance we need across all facets of our business as continue to evolve,” said Kim Hart, director of Neustar’s corporate communications. Access’ employee turnover hovers slightly below the industry average at 17 percent. To retain top talent, Access offers full bonus payouts, training and engagement programs, as well as annual offsites. The firm’s executive management remains exceptionally stable and includes four SVPs with nearly two decades with the firm and three with more than 15 years. Senior execs are Matt Afflixio, who leads the Intuit business; Jennifer Sims Fellner, who heads the firm’s corporate group; Tuesday Uhland, who leads media relations; Michael Young, who leads enterprise tech and analytics; consumer PR leader Cori Barrett; Brian Regan, who helms the New York office; and Lindsay Scalisi.As a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ketchum, Access taps into its parent’s global network for international briefs. – ASh 70 www.holmesreport.com ACKERMANN PR Regional generalist KNOXVILLE DEEPLY entrenched in Tennessee’s business, media and political realms after 30 years in business, Ackerman PR is perfectly positioned to help clients communicate to the right people through the right channels, gaining the attention of the appropriate decision-makers and delivering the most effective message to influence their thinking. Ackermann PR is a “deep generalist,” providing PR services across multiple industries while providing a depth of expertise in key service areas such as strategic media relations (the skill for which it is best known and which today obviously includes digital and social media), public affairs, crisis and issues management, and—unusual for a midsize firm—in-house market research. In terms of industry sectors, the firm has similarly broad experience, but particular depth of expertise in tourism and economic development and corporate philanthropy, where its resources compare with the best in the region and the country. Founder Cathy Ackermann has brought together a leadership team with big market, big agency experience, including executive vice president Jeff Hooper; formerly of Midwest ad agency Flynn Sabatino & Day, and Lisa Hood Skinner, who has worked with clients such as McDonald’s and Kraft General Foods. New in 2012 was vice president Sandra Heinig, who joined the firm after heading up global communications for pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. The firm grew by about 10 percent last year, back to pre-recession fee income levels, with major clients such as Pilot Flying J (the largest distributor of diesel fuel and the largest operator of travel centers in the US), Clayton Homes (a Berkshire Hathaway company), Power Systems (exercise equipment), The Titanic Museum, Wilderness in the Smokies (one of the largest water attractions in the world), TechLaw, the East Tennessee Medical Group, Harmony Adoptions, Biltmore Estate, and ORNL Federal Credit Union. New business came from Crown Financial Ministries, Proton Power, Ka-Tom, Legacy Parks Foundation, and The Swag mountaintop resort. “I have had the pleasure of working with the best-of-the-best in the public relations world during my twenty years at Walt Disney Company,” says Mary Kellogg-Joslyn, now owner of Titanic Museum Attraction. “Without a doubt Ackermann is the best public relations company I have had the pleasure of working with since I left Disney.  During our grand opening, they helped me put a fantastic press strategy together.” Adds Steve Cruz, director of sales and marketing for Wilderness at the Smokies Resort: “Ackermann PR is not only an integral part but a most valuable part of our marketing and sales team. They bring their invaluable mind of strategic thinking.”—PH AIRFOIL PUBLIC RELATIONS Technology boutique DETROIT H SILICON VALLEY AIRFOIL, the unlikely tech shop with its base in Detroit and an increasingly national footprint, this year expanded even farther afield. The $8 million boutique secured exclusive partnerships with Babel PR in London and Newell PR in Hong Kong, eschewing the looser ties of large global networks. Already, multiple client engagement are underway as part of the new Airfoil Global Group. Domestically Airfoil expanded its client work along the Eastern seaboard and within the Midwest. A resurgence in the American manufacturing industry directly benefited the firm, by way of the increased investment in technology targeting advanced manufacturing processes and companies. Even so, business dipped slightly from 2011 with revenues down to $7.9 million from $8.1 million, primarily because of projects that didn’t carry into 2012. The firm’s management has remained stable with only one departure: Aaron Petras, who was director of strategy and organizational development. Remaining are co-founder/ co-CEO Janet Tyler and partner Lisa ValleeSmith; Tracey Parry as SVP; Leah Haran as SVP, client services; Sharon Neumann, SVP, finance and administration; and Kevin Sangsland, VP of sales and marketing. The firm’s overall approach is reflected in Airfoil’s new brand positioning that dropped “Higher Thinking” in favor of “Be Positively Impossible To Ignore,” which speaks to differentiating tech clients in ruthlessly competitive segments. Amid this change, the firm remained committed to an account portfolio approach that eschews practice areas,
  • 69. Specialists, boutiques, small & mid-size firms which was introduced in 2011. The firm diversified its service mix into areas like content marketing; online advertising and SEO; and social and web strategy. It also launched four new integrated digital and social products: Airfoil Social Strategy, Influencer ID, Content Marketing, and Brand Communities, as well as expanding its roster of experiential marketing and web development partners. Major clients include eBay, LinkedIn, Microsoft Parrot, with new adds like American Laser Skincare, CFI Group, Delphi, GoAnimate, Plex Systems, SurveyMonkey and ABB. High-profile assignments include the “Together with eBay” campaign to engage parents of young children to become sellers on the site and “eBay Green Driving” a one-stop for researching green vehicles. The agency also did work with LinkedIn to help the company generate more attention for its full spectrum of social products and engagement mechanisms; and for Microsoft’s outreach to SMBs. “[Our] share of ownable conversations increased significantly with Airfoil’s strategy, while consumer media (print, broadcast, and digital) efforts elevated the brand and drove sales in 2012,” said Pauline Collins of Brookstone’s PR team. – ASh ALLIDURA CONSUMER Consumer healthcare specialist NEW YORK IN recent years, more and more consumer brands are either promoting their healthy qualities or defending themselves against criticism related to nutritional or other health-related issues. Many traditional consumer firms don’t have the issues management expertise to help, and many healthcare specialists lack consumer insight. Healthcare giant Chandler Chicco was one of the first to recognize that this challenge was also an opportunity, creating Allidura Consumer to deliver in-depth knowledge of health and wellness alongside experience in marketing and positioning iconic consumer brands. Allidura specializes in creating alliances between brands and those who influence consumer perceptions and purchasing, engaging in dialogue with journalists and nutritionists, doctors and mommy bloggers. Using a proprietary “Dynamic Engagement” model, the firm creates programs that drive value, restore reputations, enhance brand perception and build loyalty among consumers and employees. The agency is led by Danielle Dunne, who has more than 15-years of experience in consumer health and wellness. Her category expertise includes beauty, food, beverage, dermatology, OTC and leading consumer-oriented pharmaceutical brands. That broad background complemented by Kristen Spensieri, who brings expertise in corporate reputation, having helped clients with corporate positioning, message design, corporate reputation, corporate social responsibility, internal communications, crisis communications, brand identity. Together they lead a team of more than 20 professionals, serving accounts including most notably CocaCola (many of its specific client assignments are confidential). A major initiative last year involved work on Mayor Bloomberg’s proposal to restrict the sale of beverages over 16 ounces in New York City, but the firm has also worked on issues related to genetically modified foods.—PH ALLISON+PARTNERS Multispecialist firm LOS ANGELES H ATLANTA H CHICAGO H DALLAS H NEW YORK H PHOENIX H SAN DIEGO H SAN FRANCISCO H SEATTLE H WASHINGTON DC ONE of the reasons so many public relations firms are choosing—as Allison+Partners did three years ago—against selling to one of the giant communications holding companies is the belief that a smaller, more entrepreneurial parent company will allow more freedom, particularly when it comes to keeping the acquired firm’s culture (which, after all, helped make it attractive enough to buy in the first place). That seems to have been the case since Allison was acquired by MDC Partners in 2010. The firm’s management team is proud of its “one P&L” approach, which means that everyone is working for the success of the agency as a whole, not an individual office or practice; its 360-degree review process; its Allison University professional development program; and its robust sabbatical policy, which has seen five-year employees going on safari in Africa, volunteering at an elephant sanctuary in Asia, or scuba diving in Hawaii—and returning refreshed, rejuvenated, and reenergized by experiences that make them more productive, well-rounded employees. Those “soft” business metrics are important to Allison, but the hard numbers matter too, and the firm’s continued growth is impressive. In its 10th year (the one following the MDC deal), Allison opened offices in Chicago, Dallas and London, adding to existing operations in Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, DC. In 2012, revenues were up by a very impressive 30 percent, hitting the $25 million mark, and the firm is on track for another 25 percent in 2013. The consumer practice continues to be the largest, accounting for about 40 percent of revenue, with technology and digital media a close second, representing just under a third of the business. There are smaller practices focused on corporate, healthcare, public affairs, social impact (a mix of cause-related marketing and not-for-profit business), and a newer financial communications group—all of which makes Allison a well-rounded, full-service midsize firm capable of competing with national agencies for marquee accounts: clients include Best Western, CapitalOne, Dreamworks, Dropbox, The Economist, L’Oreal, pharmaceutical trade association PhRMA, Samsung, Toyota, Vitamin Shoppe, and Underwriters’ Laboratory. Highlights included the launch of the 2014 Lexis IS for Toyota, with racetrack road tests and after-event parties on the west coast; the creation of a new holiday— OctoNovemCember—for RetailMeNot, leading to a series of events featuring a Pumpkin-headed Turkey Claus that drove a 40 percent increase in web traffic; and promoting Asics’ sponsorship of the LA Marathon, which included 12 reporters training for the race. The past 12 months also saw the addition of new talent, including former EuroRSCG and Porter Novelli executive Lisa Rosenberg as chief creative officer; former Copithorne & Bellows and PN exec David Schneider as managing director, international; Jeremy Rosenberg as senior vice president, digital media; and—perhaps most interesting in the long-term—David Wolf as managing director of the global China practice, following the acquisition of his Beijing-based boutique firm.—PH ARKETI GROUP Business-to-business tech PR and marketing ATLANTA BASED in a market that’s home to big consumer brands like Coca-Cola, Delta and Home Depot, Arketi takes the unique positioning of focusing solely on BtoB clients. But this hasn’t necessarily meant doing less creative www.holmesreport.com 71
  • 70. Agency Report Card 2013 North America work. Rather, Arketi works to strike that tenuous balance between creativity and process. Its specialized multi-step process involves search marketing, website design, lead gen and PR campaigns to optimize delivery and results. Like most modern agencies, Arketi is tacticagnostic, reflecting the diverse backgrounds of its founders which includes PR, strategic marketing and creative. The rest of the firm’s talent tilts senior, with 75% having more than seven years of experience and nearly 60% carrying more than a decade. Specialties include messaging, PR, branding, digital marketing, lead generation and nurturing. In 2012, the firm boasted continued profitability for its ninth consecutive year. Revenue was flat at $2.5 million. Despite this, revenue targets were met and figures for 2013 have been trending upwards. The firm’s leadership includes creative director Rory Carlton, client strategists Sami Jajeh and Mike Neumeier, and VP and practice leader Micky Long. Major clients include: Xerox Mortgage Services, Xerox Litigation Services, Travelport, Cbeyond, Intradiem (previously Knowlagent), Jabra and Surgical Information Systems. New wins were Arrow ECS, Brickstream, Catavolt, Cloud Sherpas, Cortera, Federal Tax Authority, Surescripts and PMG.net “Arketi’s understanding of our market and offerings has helped us advance our position as a leading productivity solution in the call center space and elevate our corporate brand through a truly integrated digital marketing and PR campaign,” said Matt McConnell, CEO and Chairman, Intradiem. Over the last 12 months, Arketi launched its “Stop Selling. Start Listening.” campaign that involved six whitepapers on BtoB marketing and the firm held its sixth tech CMO roundtable. Arketi works mostly in the US market with 85 percent of clients from the Southeast region. For international clients, Arketi works directly when possible. – ASh towards making Grayling a viable tech player in the US. In 2012, US revenues were $18.7 million with another $1.7 million coming from overseas. The firm supports about 125 people in the US and strives to maintain high profitability with a revenue/employee ratio around $175k per head. Departures included VP Christ Knight who left the firm for MWW in October 2013. Its success can be attributed to its multifaceted appeal, from attracting startups that want an agency with a solid track record to its sophisticated analytics model that draws more established players. As the firm grows, this recognition is moving beyond the tech sector. In 2012, the number of pure consumer pitches that Atomic was invited spiked dramatically. Notable client wins from the year include the National Collegiate Athletic Association to develop a campaign celebrating 75 years of March Madness. The firm also started a sustainability practice with accounts like BMW and Opower. Consumer wins include Starwood’s Aloft Hotels following a buzzedabout Twitter RFP process and Uber rival Sidecar. Even so, the firm continued to pour resources into its deep tech heritage by opening an office in Silicon Valley. Other investments include hiring several VP-level staff and allocating resources to making its analytics platform more user-friendly and expanding its data feed to include Sysomos and Traackr. The firm also keeps a roster of freelance designers to tap into per client need. As founders Andy Getsey and James Hannon near their earn-outs, industry expectations are the firm will be folded even more closely into the broader Grayling tent as it executes its aggressive US plans. But for now, Atomic leans on its London hub for international reach, and when necessary, taps into Grayling’s larger global footprint.—ASh ATOMIC PR Healthcare public relations Technology, consumer entertainment SAN FRANCISCO H LOS ANGELES H NEW YORK H ORANGE COUNTY H SEATTLE H INTERNATIONAL OPERATIONS BOUGHT by Grayling in 2011, Atomic at first operated somewhat independently. But now, the agency operates more closely with its parent firm since global CEO Pete Pedersen took the helm earlier this year with a focus 72 www.holmesreport.com BIOSECTOR2 NEW YORK H LOS ANGELES H SAN FRANCISCO H INTERNATIONAL OPERATIONS LAUNCHED a decade ago as a subsidiary of global healthcare public relations leader Chandler Chicco, Biosector 2 continues to provide an attractive alternative for companies—primarily in the biopharmaceutical, device, and diagnostics categories—looking to challenge the status quo and tell an innovation story. B2’s core expertise involves breaking down complex science into meaningful, accessible and actionable information and its expertise is in finding ways to talk with—rather than at—consumers and those who influence them. It takes an integrated approach and starts with a deep understanding of patient needs and helps clients finds non-traditional ways to engage those patients (and those responsible for their treatment and care) in authentic conversations—even in a complex and highlyregulated environment. The firm’s pioneering work in this arena includes launching the first product-branded Twitter handle for Novo Nordisk; developed a Twitter/YouTube Exchange on behalf of Novartis to provide added depth to breaking news and developments; and created the ALERT social media listening product in partnership with Trufflenet to help clients stay ahead of the curve and maneuver in the global social media space. The firm’s team of 65 is led by US managing director Jeanine O’Kane, formerly North American director of healthcare at MSL Group, who joined in March 2012. Batisha Anson, a 13-year veteran at Chandler Chicco Companies/B2; Shauna Keough, previously senior vicepresident, Porter Novelli; and Liz Frank, previously group director, WCG, serve as the senior leadership team under O’Kane. New additions over the past 12 months include Shalon Roth, previously vice president at TogoRun/Fleishman Hillard; Lindsay Deefholts from Cohn & Wolfe; and Kristin Johnson from TogoRun/Fleishman Hillard. Major clients include Sunovion, Merck, Novartis, Reckitt and Novo Nordisk, and interesting work last year including supporting 13 US advocacy organizations to develop a comprehensive unbranded awareness campaign, Count Us, Know Us, Join Us, to unite the advanced breast cancer community in the US and across the globe. B2 also launched the fourth and most successful year of the Ask. Screen. Know. program, a national initiative dedicated to increasing awareness of the benefits of early diabetes screening and detection; drove increased awareness of opioid dependence and launched TurnToHelp. com as a resource for people living with the disease utilizing Ray Lucas; and continued to
  • 71. Specialists, boutiques, small & mid-size firms disease utilizing Ray Lucas; and continued to bring Crohn’s out of the closet through UCB’s Crohn’s Advocate program by connecting, educating and empowering the community through an award-winning publication. “From the first day working with B2 I knew that we had made the absolute right decision and chose the right partner to support and develop our brand,” says Debby Betz, marketing director, North America, for Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals. “I have never experienced the level of partnering, passion, ownership, and expertise that B2 brings to the table.” Adds Christine Huelster, senior director, marketing for Sunovion: “B2 has become a trusted agency partner, and we have accomplished great things together. The B2 team possesses all the things we look for in an agency.” B2 has global reach, with offices in New York, Los Angeles, San Diego and London. As part of Chandler Chicco Companies and inVentiv Health, it works with additional overseas partners and has access to integrated services.—PH BITE Tech PR SAN FRANCISCO H NEW YORK H INTERNATIONAL OFFICES IT’S no secret that it’s been a bumpy ride for Bite in the US over the past couple of years— but in 2013 the firm recovered some of its footing. After its global CEO Andy Cunningham stepped down, causing its fourth leadership change since 2009, parent company Next 15 cracked down on rebuilding the firm by nurturing its core strengths. Next 15 CEO Tim Dyson took helm of the agency as its interim CEO. And since Dyson took charge, the firm has been focused on structuring Bite North America more like its European counterpart– leading to some substantial personnel changes. Former Edelman SVP Sean Mills rejoined Bite as its North America GM three months after Cunningham’s departure. The firm’s San Francisco GM Alisa MacDonnell was tasked with additional duties as head of client services. Dyson also plans to add personnel focused on talent management and development. Bite’s leadership turmoil also resulted in the loss of several of the firm’s senior talents. Among them, Bite’s GM of digital solutions Victoria Graham departed to become a consultant; SVP Bill Danon left for a senior manager role at Autodesk; and New York GM Ryan Wallace jumped to MWW. Dyson has pledged his commitment as head of the firm until it regains a stability and traction. So far, there have been bright spots. Bite won the coveted SwiftKey business in 2013. The firm has also been moving forward on fully integrating the capabilities of Bourne, a digital shop it acquired in 2012. Bite relies on its own international offices to serve clients beyond the US.—ASh BLAZE PR Consumer lifestyle boutique LOS ANGELES IN 2012, Blaze’s new leadership – now two years in – focused on retooling and refining the agency’s position as a consumer boutique. EVP and GM Matt Kovacs, has given the firm a notable edge when it comes THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX? for us, there is no box. Celebrating 25 years, JSH&A helps CPG brands drive consumer awareness, engagement and advocacy by creating integrated PR and social media programs that deliver high-impact, WOW results. At JSH&A, we don't think outside the box, because, as far as we’re concerned, there is no box. Just great ideas. LEARN MORE AT JSHA.COM www.holmesreport.com 73
  • 72. Agency Report Card 2013 North America to social media, introducing “COMMUNITY” a 9-step social media listening tool. By nearly all accounts, the agency has reignited and shed the baggage it carried from the rocky 2004 acquisition by public affairs shop Davies. Blaze grew about 15 percent to $1.4 million in 2012, bringing on new clients including five with briefs anchored purely in social media. New wins included several Marriott Hotel properties in California, KeVita Sparkling Drinks that joined existing clients AmaWaterways, Mad Dogg Athletics, Performance Bike, the Claremont Hotel & Spa, Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp and SnoBar Cocktails. The firm brought on two new staff members, including Apryl Delancy as director of marketing and social media, most recently from TBWA/Chiat/Day Los Angeles. Among its most notable work, the Marriott Marina del Rey hired Blaze to spearhead its social media initiative that has since been replicated by four other properties and the company’s corporate headquarters. Blaze also led the launch of AmaCerto, AmaWaterways’ most high-end river cruise ship. “Since Blaze has taken over the social media for my bigger properties, the response from our consumers has exceeded my expectations,” said Amy Peterson, manager of marketing for the Marriott’s Western Region. “In just a few short months, they have grown the hotels’ ‘Likes’ on Facebook from a few hundred to tens of thousands - and we’ve just gotten started. Blaze has developed a personality for each hotel in social media that is uniquely their own, which we’re finding consumers respond to very positively.” Blaze focuses on the US and Canadian market and has partner agencies in Europe.— ASh In 2013, Blick&Staff celebrated 20 years – having grown into a $4 million, 18-person shop located in St. Louis with satellite offices in New York and Los Angeles. In the last 12 months, the agency added three new staffers, including a senior member to its growing digital practice. This year two of its long-standing programs – Change Your Clock Change Your Battery (Energizer) and Huggable Heroes (Build-A-Bear Workshop) marked milestone anniversaries. In the past 12 months, it started work with the consumer affairs arm of Anheuser-Busch and Shop ‘n Save. Project clients include local lifestyle/food businesses Pomme Restaurant and Dough to Door and the nonprofit group, GO! St. Louis, dedicated to family fitness. High-profile work includes Energizer’s Night Race for a Brighter World, in partnership with One Million Lights, to provide rural communities with solar light. “Harriet Blickenstaff and her team are true public relations partners.  They have become immersed in the BABW brand and function as an extension of our marketing team,” says Teresa Kroll, head of marketing and entertainment at Build-A-Bear Workshop. “Since our partnership has grown over time, Harriet has seen our company needs change from that of a start-up business to a more mature one and has been able to evolve and grow with us.” In the last 12 months, Blick&Staff became a Public Relations Organization International (PROI) partner to provide cover in 40 countries.—ASh BLICK&STAFF COMMUNICATIONS NEW YORK H CHICAGO Brand-building and cause marketing ST. LOUIS BLICK&STAFF is a mid-sized firm based in the midwest that has stayed relatively under the radar despite working with some of the world’s leading brands, including as Energizer’s agency of record, Build-A-Bear Workshop – and most recently – Anheuser-Busch for community affairs. The agency’s founder Harriet Blickenstaff is a former journalist whose career includes an employee communications post at Ralston Purina – a role that eventually led to helping build the company’s marcomms department. 74 www.holmesreport.com BLISS INTEGRATED COMMUNICATIONS Professional and financial services marketing specialist with growing healthcare capability WHEN BlissPR changed its name to Bliss Integrated Communications last year—a move motivated by the conviction that PR was seen by many clients as too removed from business results—it introduced more than just a new identity. It formalized an expanded focus on earned, owned and social media, and it introduced a suite of new services from social media training to link building programs, from lead generation to patient advocacy to influencer identification and outreach. Historically best known for its work in the professional and financial services sectors, BlissPR expanded into the healthcare arena in partnership with sister agencies it picked up via acquisition—after 30 years as an independent—by marketing services company The Dudnyk Exchange. It strengthened those capabilities in 2012 with the addition of new practice lead Michael Roth, who brings experience from Novartis, GCI/Grey and W2O’s Twist. Growth has been steady and impressive over the past three years, with fees up from $4 million in 2009 to $6 million at the end of last year. Major clients include BDO, KeyCorp, Hay Group and the Ministry of Economic Development & Innovation, while the most significant additions include the personal investing unit of Fidelity, a division of Pfizer and the law firm Patton Boggs. Healthcare reform has significant impact on the firm’s financial and professional services clients as well as those in the health sector, and much of the most interesting work of the past 12 months has been driven by the resulting issues: for example, Bliss worked with Boston Consulting Group to help launch the International Consortium for Health Outcomes Measurement, a non-profit group founded by BCG, Michael Porter at the Harvard Business School, and The Karolinska Institutet in Sweden. “Bliss is a true partner and an extension of our team,” Laura Mimura, of longtime client KeyCorp. “Our Bliss team offers hard work, depth of experience and the relentless pursuit of media that build our brand. They take ownership of our account and go above and beyond the call of duty to deliver meaningful results.” The firm continues to play an active leadership role in Worldcom, one of the largest networks of independent PR firms. Managing director Elizabeth Sosnow is a member of the global board of directors, responsible for the digital direction of both the global board and the board of the Americas region; executive vice president Cortney Stapleton is chair of the business-to-business practice group.—PH BOLT PUBLIC RELATIONS Traditional and social media relations RALEIGH NC H IRVINE CA BICOASTAL public relations firm Bolt has made a name for itself in the five years since its inception by providing a mix of traditional public relations and social media expertise to clients—most notably in the non-profit and start-up space, but increasingly to companies
  • 73. Specialists, boutiques, small & mid-size firms of all sizes and in a variety of sectors—and by focused on tangible results. Core services include media relations and press coverage, social media and web traffic strategy, event planning and publicity, community relations and grassroots marketing campaigns; industry sector expertise spans technology, retail, health and fitness, consumer products, fashion and beauty, restaurants and hospitality, education and nonprofit. Founder Caroline Callaway worked at Texas public relations powerhouse Vollmer and with The Active Network before starting her own firm, and is a hands-on media relations maven who has secured client coverage in top tier media ranging from ABC World News Now and Forbes to Good Morning America, the New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. Vice president Jo-Anne Chase joined from local market leader French/West/Vaughan in February 2011, opening the agency’s Raleigh, NC, office. Both offices have grown at an impressive rate over the past 12 months, doubling in revenues, and the client list now includes Smashburger Orange County and San Diego, BASI Pilates, Cristophe Salon Newport Beach, the Dana Point Turkey Trot, Gigi Hill, American Residential Services, Apricot Lane boutiques, Old World Gourmet, Prime Life Fibers, and Rubio’s Restaurants. High-profile work includes introducing the Smashburger brand to the Orange County market, using traditional media relations, community partnerships, VIP preview parties, and social media, driving traffic and sales; and launching Apricot Lane, a national retail franchise featuring high fashion clothes in the boutiques, in the Raleigh area with two store openings. “Mars had never employed the services of a PR firm in its long history of 50 years,” says Julie Konowitz of client Mars Air Systems. “When we hired Bolt we had just completed an entire overhaul of our brand expression and needed a firm that could help convey our new messaging to a much wider audience in a fresh and upgraded way. The ladies at Bolt jumped in aggressively and professionally and began to learn about an industry where they had no previous experience. In a very short few months, they have expanded our reach and given visibility to a new fresh Mars Air Systems. The communication flowing into our building, our website, our reps have seen a significant increase.”—PH M BOOTH Consumer lifestyle firm with strong digital and social capabilities NEW YORK THREE years after leading New York independent M Booth was acquired by Next Fifteen (parent of Text 100 and Bite, among others), the deal appears to be one of those rare PR acquisitions that is working well for both parties. The parent company diversified its holdings beyond the technology sector; the consumer firm’s digital and social media and content creation capabilities have been turbo-charged, and it has seen fee income grow by 33 percent, despite a tough economic environment; and it seems clear that Margi Booth will take on broader management responsibility within the group, with the UK consumer holdings (Lexis) an obvious candidate for her attention. The agency’s experience working with big consumer lifestyle brands has always been its greatest strength, and it continues to offer the kind of expertise across multiple sectors—food, wine and spirits, fashion and beauty, travel and leisure, and consumer tech—that is relatively rare among midsize firms. New business came from Land’s End, Burlington Coat Factory, Schwan’s and Sur la Table, while the firm continues to be an important Unilever agency. Consumer tech has been a particular growth area, with work for foursquare, Stumble Upon, online travel site Roomkey, job search brand indeed, and iStockphoto). The past couple of years have seen M Booth’s considerable expertise in media relations (it has put together some of the most entertaining publicity stunts of recent years) supplemented by a first-rate digital operation, which works with clients ranging from Krug champagnes to American Express to Apartment Guide. The firm has formalized its visual storytelling capability, Framed, which works alongside a FWD (First World Digital) team that offers expertise in conversation strategy, word-of-mouth campaigns and analytics. Its content creation credentials, meanwhile, were showcased in work ranging from its “Very Veggie World” recipe book for Unilever’s Country Crock to an infographic celebrating women entrepreneurs for American Express. The corporate practice may not be quite as showy, but it has a robust client portfolio that includes Steelcase, the Wharton school at the University of Pennsylvania, and American Express Open (the firm’s work on the Small Business Saturday campaign has helped the company re-connect with its small business customers and earned a Lifetime Achievement SABRE Award this year).—PH MAX BORGES AGENCY Consumer electronics specialist MIAMI WITH fee income of around $7 million, Florida’s Max Borges Agency is America’s leading independent consumer electronics specialist and one of its fastest growing public relations firms. Offering expertise that spans print, broadcast, digital and social media and an approach that focuses on using media coverage to generate sales, it has been listed on the Inc 5000 for four straight years and after 37 percent growth in 2012 now rank among the top 50 independent firms in the US and the top 160 globally, according to The Holmes Report 250. “We believe in results above all else,” is the first of the firm’s core values. Just as important, “we succeed through transparency, frank communication and brutal honesty,” and “we consistently go beyond our customers’ expectations, delivering unparalleled service.” Such promises are easy to make, harder to keep, but MBA seems to be doing a decent job on the latter front. Says Joe Atkin, president and CEO of client Goal Zero: “”MBA has been a phenomenal partner in helping us tell our story and build our brand to consumers. Their contacts with media run deep and they were able to gain immediate traction for us. They cared enough to discover what our brand represents and are able to convey that to others.” Adds Mike Bradley, director of marketing for Korg USA: “Max Borges Agency has a professional team with  a ‘can do’ attitude that has produced a variety of hits for our products in multiple media formats, including broadcast, online and print. They deliver timely, focused results.” The agency has experience in a wide range of technology and consumer electronics sectors, from business-to-business and software solutions to companies that develop Apple accessories, sports and fitness technologies, music industry tech, computers, gaming peripherals and various home theater www.holmesreport.com 75
  • 74. Agency Report Card 2013 North America components. New additions to the roster last year included OGIO, RAPOO, Crosley Radio, Drift Innovation, Goal Zero, Edifier, IRIS, ANT+, HDBaseT Alliance, Apogee Digital, Swann Security, Ferrari by Logic3, Soul Electronics, Cambridge Audio, Swissvoice, Clarion, BRAVEN and more. Highlights included launching the Soul by Ludacris headphones at the 2013 CES and gaining widespread awareness and acceptance of the HDBaseT Alliance—focused on the future of home theater networking and cabling—across the US. The firm works primarily in the US and Canada but is a member of the Global Tech PR Group, which has members in the UK, Europe and Africa.—PH BREW MEDIA RELATIONS Boutique specialist in tech startups. NEW YORK H LOS ANGELES AS startup culture has evolved beyond Silicon Valley, so have the public relations firms that are able to service a thriving, complex sector. Brew is perhaps the best example of an agency that ‘gets’ VC-backed businesses in a way that few of their established peers are able to emulate. Based in New York, the agency only works with clients that it believes in, eschewing RFPs for a referral based process that has led to a number of long-term partnerships. Much of this is done to the leadership of agency founder Brooke Hammerling, who must be one of the most networked people in the tech startup world, regularly cited as an executive to watch in mainstream business publications. Hammerling launched the agency in 2005, after working at Access PR and numerous startups on the West Coast, and Zeno in New York. Like so many, Hammerling grew disenchanted with the conventional agency model, and instead set about building a firm that positions itself as the ‘connective tissue’ between clients and other partners such as media and investors. Now counting 22 staffers, Brew has not grown especially rapidly; nor has it needed to, given that Hammerling turns down the vast majority of requests she receives, in a bid to focus on products and companies that her and her team are truly passionate about. These include such clients as Lovefilm, Groupme, Wordpress, Netsuite, Adaptly and Oracle. Eye-catching assignments included Bluefin’s acquisition by Twitter, for which Brew helped to build leadership profile for Deb Roy. The firm also supported Wealthfront’s PR work, resulting 76 www.holmesreport.com in more than $150m worth of assets in the investment management firm. In addition to New York, Brew has a Los Angeles office led by business partner Dena Cook.—ASu BRODEUR PARTNERS Strategic communications with technology and healthcare expertise BOSTON H NEW YORK H PHOENIX H PORTSMOUTH NH H WASHINGTON DC H INTERNATIONAL OPERATIONS TWO years after the management of Brodeur Partners bought their firm (or most of it; Omnicom retains a 15 percent stake) back, the firm has gone back to its roots in terms of culture—Brodeur has always been committed to creating a progressive and supportive employee culture, empowering people at all levels to deliver the highest quality client service—while looking to the future in terms of its positioning and its suite of services. Brodeur has staked out interesting territory around the idea of “relevance,” with a focus on helping brands, organizations and causes build loyalty and—when necessary—create behavior change. So the past 12 months have seen original research (analyzing thousands of online conversations for a study on the “conversational relevance of hotel brands”); identifying the top 10 companies in terms of retail relevance; and conducting a survey that found Americans surprisingly upbeat and focused on values like compassion. Most of the leadership team has been in place for some time, with founder John Brodeur and president Andy Coville at the helm, supported by longtime colleagues Mike Brewer, Steve Marchant, Jerry Johnson, Cleve Langton, Renzo Bardetti, and Karen and Andy Beaupre, whose New Hampshire firm has been fully integrated into the wider agency. More recent additions include social marketing expert Rob Gould (former head of Porter Novelli’s Washington office, and more recently president and CEO of the Partnership for Prevention), digital expert Evan Parker, and healthcare veteran Robyn Castellani. The firm offers four core capabilities: Brodeur Communications offers a full range of public relations, branding, and social media services; Brodeur ShiftPositive focuses on social marketing, creating behavior change programs that advance healthy living and engage people around other societal issues; Brodeur Digital develops online and mobile (an area in which Brodeur was an early mover) content and campaigns; and Brodeur Strategies provides C-level advice, with a focus on enhancing customer experiences. And while the firm is best known for its work in the technology space, it has extended its reach into the healthcare arena and beyond, to a wide range of business-to-business and consumer-focused companies. Revenues were up by 12 percent in 2012, with new business from Aegis Health Group, Dignity Health, Harvard Kennedy School, IDS Technology, Kidsave, Outdoor Industry Assn, UN Foundation, and UMASS, joining a roster that includes the American Cancer Society, Avnet, Dartmouth College, Dignity Health Group, Corning, General Imaging (GE cameras), Hankook Tire, Hologic, Ricoh, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the UN Foundation. The firm worked with the American Cancer Society and other partners to turn ACS’s 100th anniversary into a year-long activation program to drive donations and promote healthy living, including a new social/ digital engagement program that has more than doubled participation in the Society’s social properties. The firm also continued its work with Corning to develop a thought leadership program on the important role of glass in enabling tomorrow’s technology, including a launch at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. And Brodeur helped Hankook expand its presence through social media via the “Hankook Heroes” campaign, encouraging fans to tell their stories of how people are using cars and tires to do good things. “Brodeur Partners’ work with Avnet goes beyond the thousands of articles and millions of dollars in coverage we’ve received from around the globe,” says Michelle Gorel, Avnet’s vice president, PR & corporate communications. “They have provided strategic insight and communications support, ranging from brand development to social media, PR training and messaging. This has been a true partnership, one built on trust and a deep understanding of each other, and that has been reinforced over the years with solid communication and collaboration.” Brodeur delivers full global capabilities through a network of 33 offices and affiliates, a combination of equity-owned offices and long-standing partners closely aligned with Brodeur’s values and service capabilities.— PH
  • 75. Specialists, boutiques, small & mid-size firms BRUNSWICK GROUP Strategic corporate and financial communications, including public affairs and M&A NEW YORK H DALLAS H SAN FRANCISCO H WASHINGTON DC FROM counseling BP in the aftermath of most high-profile environmental disaster since the Exxon Valdez to assisting Kraft through the spinoff of the Mondelez business, it was another busy year for global corporate and financial communications specialist Brunswick. The economy—and the mergers and acquisitions business that was for so long the firm’s bread-and-butter—may still be sluggish, but one thing that is clearly not cyclical is the ability of giant corporations to find themselves facing issues and crises that have the potential to damage their reputations and severely impact their ability to do business. And that’s where Brunswick comes in, more often than even the largest of the full-service agencies and more effectively than most of its specialist peers. The firm is differentiated first by a business model that eschews geographic and practice area P&Ls, eliminating any barriers to working across offices and across disciplines to achieve the best results for clients, and that encourages value and success-based billing; and second by the quality of the firm’s talent. Brunswick has close to 180 people in the US, with about half of them in its New York headquarters, and 30 or more in both Washington, DC, (where a formidable public affairs operation is developing) and San Francisco, as well as more than a dozen in the new Dallas office. Operations on this side of the Atlantic continue to be led by senior partner Steve Lipin, although group chief executive Susan Gilchrist is now based in New York, a signal that much of the firm’s momentum now comes from its US operations. In San Francisco, Mike Buckley departed for Facebook (after the firm helped the social media site through its landmark IPO), but the office remains in the steady hands of Amanda Duckworth. Key additions included employee engagement expert Keith Burton, who previously led the Insidedge group at GolinHarris, and new partners Bethany Sherman (most recently CCO at Dow Jones) in New York; Bill Pendergast (former head of the Washington office of FleishmanHillard) in Dallas; Eric Savitz (former Forbes bureau chief) in San Franciso; and Chrysta Castañeda (formerly of law firm Locke Lord) in DC. More than half the US work is project based, from crisis and litigation communications to mergers and acquisitions. The firm continued to dominate the mergermarket M&A tables for 2012 (number one globally by both volume and value, number two in the US by value), and is number two in deal volume in the US, this year to date. Highlights included 3G Capital’s acquisition of Burger King, Anheuser Busch’s bid for Grupo Modelo, Pfizer’s sale of its nutrition business to Nestle. But the firm also continued to build its roster of retained clients, which includes names such as AT&T, BP, Broadcom, Chevron, Cisco, Delta, McKesson, Microsoft, Pepsi, Pfizer and Visa, handling executive communications and ongoing corporate reputation work. In addition to its four US offices, Brunswick has a growing network of offices across the EMEA region, including its London HQ; in the Asia-Pacific; and in Latin America, where a relatively new Brazilian operation is making inroads.—P H CHALLENGE US. At Cone Communications, challenge awakens our competitive spirit, heightens our intellectual curiosity, and inspires bold thinking. We are driven to achieve the unexpected. BrANd CommUNiCAtioNS | CAUSE mArkEtiNG | CorporAtE SoCiAL rESpoNSiBiLity NoNprofit mArkEtiNG | CriSiS mANAGEmENt | CorporAtE CommUNiCAtioNS NEw & SoCiAL mEdiA | ENtErtAiNmENt mArkEtiNG BoStoN | NEw york City | SEAttLE www.ConeComm.com www.holmesreport.com 77
  • 76. Agency Report Card 2013 North America CAPSTRAT Public affairs, with healthcare and professional services expertise RALEIGH NC THERE’S no reason to believe that Omnicom felt a burning need to add a presence in Raleigh, NC to its global reach, so clearly there were other, more strategic, reasons for its January 2013 acquisition of Capstrat. It’s not hard to see the attraction: founder Ken Eudy had established his firm as one of the strongest in the South-East, expanding from a foundation of public affairs and issues management to build an integrated agency that could offer clients a blend of paid, earned, search and owned media, equally comfortable creating television ads or engaging consumers and other stakeholders via social networks. From Capstrat’s perspective, there was an equally compelling rationale for the deal. Becoming part of the Ketchum network meant access to both geographic reach—in the US and beyond—and a wide range of innovative services, from the multinational’s impressive research and measurement capabilities to its suite of creative tools. Just as important, it created new opportunities for Capstrat employees to broaden their horizons, and to gain access to one of the industry’s top professional development programs. While Capstrat serves clients across a broad range of sectors, much of the growth over the past year came from areas in which it has particular depth of expertise, including healthcare and professional services, and from clients who broadened the range of services they receive to include the firm’s expanded creative and digital offer. So while the firm’s new ownership means it doesn’t discuss financials in detail, new clients such as MeadWestvaco, Cree Lighting, VantageSouth Bank and Biogen Idec joined a client list that also includes Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, Deloitte, the American Institute of CPAs, Duke Energy, Quintiles, GlaxoSmithKline, Nurse-Family Partnership, Siemens and UF Health. There were new additions to the leadership team too, with the promotion of Dana Yeganian to executive vice president and managing director of client services. Capstrat’s work with Blue Cross & Blue Shield of North Carolina, which has been recognized with SABRE and other awards, continues to impress, as the client seeks to rebuild trust with an increasingly skeptical public. The Let’s Talk Cost campaign continued to drive dialogue around healthcare issues, 78 www.holmesreport.com with an infographics-style campaign that examined the exploding cost of healthcare and the forces that drive it, using paid, earned and owned channels. “We are in the 16th year of our relationship with Capstrat,” says David Kochman, Blue Cross communications director. “It is a relationship that allows for true collaboration. Capstrat consistently adapts their approach to fit the needs of any new challenge: they listen to our needs and challenge our thinking.” The firm also worked with the University of Florida’s health system on a major rebranding initiative, and supported Duke Energy in a campaign focused on the reliability of the energy supply. Capstrat already handles international work for several clients—including Deloitte, Quintiles, Lenovo, GlaxoSmithKline and Workplace Options—and with its acquisition by Ketchum, that part of the business is likely to increase significantly.—PH CARMICHAEL LYNCH SPONG National multi-specialist with brandbuilding expertise MINNEAPOLIS H NEW YORK WITH 57 Silver Anvils and 21 SABREs to its name, no midsize public relations agency has won more major awards over the years than Carmichael Lynch Spong—which makes it a little strange that the firm had never won our Creative Agency of the Year award until this year. But its three Silver SABREs (a guerrilla marketing effort for Save-a-Lot, a Twinkiethemed publicity stunt for Supervalu and JewelOsco, and photographic work for Merrick Pet Care) signaled another notable year for the firm, as did four Gold SABRE nominations. And lest anyone worry that CLS is one of those firms where creativity is mere selfindulgence, the payoff is clear: the firm places a heavy emphasis on measuring the business impact of its work, a fact that has helped it cement long-term relationships with some of America’s strongest brands. Clients like Sherwin-Williams, Supervalu, DSM, Jack Link’s, Trane, American Standard and Rapala have all called CLS agency of record for at least eight and as long as 20 years. That’s due in large part to a “brand activation” approach that is central to the way CLS does business, drawing on a proprietary process that helps clients understand and manage the proliferation of media available to deliver their messages, drawing on seamless collaboration between marketing and communications disciplines to determine and deliver the right mix of paid, owned and earned media. At the same time, the firm has been ensuring that social engagement is built into every department, practice, and team. Most recently, the firm developed the CLS Social Tracker, a tool that helps clients take a qualitative and quantitative look at their own business and its competitive set within the social and digital world. While revenues were essentially flat last year, there were several new business successes. Mattress and pillow manufacturer TempurPedic selected Carmichael Lynch Spong as its public relations agency of record following a competitive review and the firm expanded into the world of pet care by adding the leader in premium, natural pet food, Merrick. The firm also picked up the First Bankcard. There was also plenty of attention-grabbing work. For eight-year year client Jack Link’s Jerky, the firm established National Jerky Day and immortalized the brand’s most recognizable asset, Sasquatch, in a portrait made entirely of Jack Link’s jerky, paving the way for election year portraits of “Meat Romney” and “Barack Obameat.” The firm also helped client Sherwin-Williams gain recognition for its efforts to refresh the iconic, 89-year-old Hollywood sign, generating coverage on NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox, and CNBC. And for new client Merrick, the firm launched an integrated PR, digital, social and paid search effort urging pet parents to feed their pets “food worthy of a fork.” The revolution began with their “Doggupy Union Square” event, a staged pooch-led protest in New York City’s Union Square where dogs united to demand better food. Says Nancy Knutson, Jack Link’s senior marketing communications manager for 10 years: “Carmichael Lynch Spong serves as a very effective extension of the Jack Link’s marketing team. We have tremendous chemistry and open dialogue, which makes this client-agency partnership so successful. And the results speak for themselves. Our media placements continue to exceed our goals. Our strategy was effective in reaching our target audience through a unique blend of mediums. Our brand continues to outpace category growth, and I attribute a large portion of that growth to highly creative, strategic and nimble PR. I couldn’t ask for a better PR team than Carmichael Lynch Spong.” Following the deserved elevation of longtime President Doug Spong to a broader management role at the parent company, day to day management responsibilities are now being handled by managing director Julie Batliner, who joined eight years ago
  • 77. Specialists, boutiques, small & mid-size firms from Fleishman-Hillard. She is supported by a leadership team that includes senior principals Jill Schmidt, corporate practice leader and director of strategy; lifestyle practice leader and director of practice development Maria Reitan; Lori Robinson, who joined from Hill & Knowlton as senior principal and director of the New York office; food and beverage chair Grete Lavrenz; and new addition MSLGroup veteran Emily Buchanan, senior principal and chair of brand marketing and social engagement. Carmichael Lynch Spong has also continued its leadership in the corporate social responsibility arena, with a gold LEED-qualified work space, energy supplied through wind credits, zero landfill waste through recycling and composting, commuter incentives, and use of recycled materials in its building products and office furnishings. And the firm donated more than 900 hours of volunteer service by employees, both on their own time and/or during several agency-sponsored opportunities. That’s one reason it continues to perform exceptionally on our Best Agencies To Work For research.—PH CATALYST Lifestyle marketing, with a focus on sports and entertainment NEW YORK H CHARLOTTE NC H LOS ANGELES SINCE spinning out of the former Alan Taylor Communications (now Taylor Global) in 2005, Catalyst has found a winning formula, blending an expertise in—and passion for—sports, entertainment and active lifestyle clients with a focus on a more strategic model of media relations that’s underpinned by an emphasis on consumer insights and strategic planning. It’s a formula that has delivered healthy growth and continues to attract a select list of blue-chip brands—as well as numerous agency of the year awards. It also helps to explain Catalyst’s sale earlier this year to sports marketing giant IMG’s consulting division. The deal gives Catalyst significant backing for its international aspirations, and brings its communications and digital expertise into IMG’s stable of talent management and consultancy. Like its predecessor, Catalyst is a leader in sports marketing—which accounts for slightly more than half of revenues—and in media relations, although Catalyst takes a modern sophisticated view, with expertise in media mapping, messaging and measurement, and has expanded its capabilities beyond traditional outlets to include significant expertise in digital and social channels. Catalyst’s now derives more than a third of its revenue from digital marketing, including build, content creation and web development, with that proportion expected to approach 50 percent in 2013. The firm has also invested heavily in research and measurement tools such as Iconoculture for consumer insights and Radian6 for online monitoring and evaluation. Founder Bret Werner was a 15-year veteran of Alan Taylor and has worked with brands such as MasterCard, Subway and ESPN on a wide range of sports-related programming. Co-managing director Bill Holtz (11 years at Taylor, and before that director of sports media relations at Fordham University) joined in 2008 and senior vice president of digital Shripal Shah, who spent five years working with the Washington Redskins, joined in 2010. Growth last year was an impressive 33 percent, and Catalyst ended the year with fee income of just under $8 million, thanks to new agency of record assignments for Dick’s Sporting Goods (digital), Zico and Xbox, along with digital projects from Timex and Purina, as well as ongoing assignments with a select list of blue-chip brands—many of them among the biggest names in the sporting arena—such as Subway, Under Armour, Campari, Rodale, Consumer Reports and EAS Sports Nutrition. Highlights included the firm’s digital work for DSG, which saw it develop a comprehensive content strategy that elevated the brand’s presence across various social networks. For Xbox 360, the firm devised a yearlong platform to boost the brand’s new partnership with the NFL, creating the ‘$60 million minutes challenge’, to engage young fans and families throughout the season. In addition to its three North American offices, Catalyst launched in London earlier this year and is expected to open in Brazil in the run-up to the Rio Olympics.—ASu CHAMBERLAIN HEALTHCARE PR Healthcare specialist players in a competitive sector by focusing on “building strong, healthy brands through campaigns that provide doctors and patients with powerful, evidence-based rationales for healthcare decisions.” That focus has continued through the firm’s acquisition six years ago by inVentiv Health (which subsequently brought Chamberlain under the Chandler Chicco Companies umbrella) and a change of leadership that saw Jonathan Wilson—a UK national and Ketchum veteran—become president and take over day-to-day management responsibilities early in 2010. But if the focus has not shifted, the firm’s portfolio of services has. Over the years it has expanded beyond pharmaceutical marketing to offer crisis and issues management, grassroots campaigning, and content development capabilities, and 2011 saw a significant enhancement of its graphic design, video production, and digital expertise, allowing the firm to deliver cohesive brand-building campaigns that translate complex science into meaningful stories it can tell across a multitude of channels. One particularly noteworthy (and award-winning) effort involved developing the first game on Facebook game sponsored by a pharmaceutical company (Healthseeker, Boehringer Ingelheim). The Chamberlain leadership team includes Jennifer O’Neill, a veteran of the healthcare and corporate communications practices at Ruder Finn, and Michelle Gross, a 15-year industry veteran who previously worked with Ketchum. New appointments in 2011-2012 included Samantha Cranko, who joined as EVP in New York from Rabin Martin and previously worked with GCI Health; Tim Goddard, who moved from the New York office to London; and Jacqui Dyson, who joined the London office as a media specialist. Even in a year of pharmaceutical and agency consolidations, Chamberlain continued to grow new and organic business, although it guards its client roster closely. It support the approvals of new treatments for advanced renal cell carcinoma, chronic myelogenous leukemia, and for brain imaging of beta-amyloid plaques in patients with cognitive impairment who are being evaluated for Alzheimer’s disease. It also worked with several companies on the fallout from failed or disappointing clinical trials.—PH NEW YORK FOUNDED in 1993 by Richard Chamberlain, who previously led the healthcare practice at Makovsky & Company, Chamberlain built itself into one of the strongest www.holmesreport.com 79
  • 78. Agency Report Card 2013 North America CHANDLER CHICCO AGENCY Healthcare public relations specialist NEW YORK H LOS ANGELES H WASHINGTON DC H PHILADELPHIA H INTERNATIONAL OPERATIONS CHANDLER Chicco Agency has established itself as a dominant player in the global healthcare public relations business—with fee income of more than $70 million (including various subsidiaries profiled separately), it remains the largest specialist firm in its sector by some distance—and in recent years has expanded both geographically (its European operations now contribute about a third of the agency’s revenues) and in the scope of its services. Working to help clients understand and prepare for changes in the US and global health care landscape, CCA recognized the need to provide a host of specialist offerings from medical education to market access. Recent years have seen increased demand for patient and professional advocacy relations and partnership development; social media engagement; issues management; and market development. In addition to its core healthcare public relations business, CCA now has companies offering a wide range of expertise: healthcare social media practice VerStone Digital; in-house design studio, ‘nition (capabilities include logo design, branding, print, collateral and web/ interactive design); research and measurement under the Determinus brand; medical education capabilities through the firm’s Litmus subsidiary; Chandler Chicco Productions, which creates experiential initiatives, from short films to fulllength plays; and Studio C3, a media coaching service led by a group of seasoned professional with more than 60 years of experience. It’s all underpinned by a unifying idea the firm defines as “The Freedom to See, The Power to Do.” With parent inVentiv Health adopting a more integrated model, the firm also has access to advertising, public policy, market access, medical communications, media, creative, branding and digital services, and a growing number of its clients are taking advantage of the converged model. CCA has also continued to internationalize its operations. Half of Chandler Chicco’s relationships are now multinational, and more than 60 percent are shared with at least one of 80 www.holmesreport.com the firm’s specialist units. With wholly owned offices in London, Paris, New York, Washington DC and Los Angeles and now Germany (parent company InVentiv Health acquired local specialist Haas Health); and an affiliate network of 22 companies in more than 37 markets, the firm has extensive international reach. A dedicated global client and affiliate relations team in both London and New York ensures quality control and seamless integration. The firm’s leadership remains remarkably stable. Robert Chandler, former leader of the healthcare practice at Burson-Marsteller, is supported by a team that includes Lisa Stockman (a 14-year veteran), Eleanor Petigrow and Kristen Spensieri (11 years) Jennifer Gordon, who originally joined CCA in 2009 after being a senior producer with CNN, returned to the firm last year as a senior media specialist. And the firm continues to earn high marks from employees for its progressive workplace culture and employees continue to rave about the “no walls, no titles” philosophy, giving CCA its customary high marks in our Best Agencies to Work For research.—PH CITIZEN RELATIONS Brand-building and social engagement firm NEW YORK H LOS ANGELES H IRVINE CA H VANCOUVER H TORONTO H QUEBEC CITY H MONTREAL A year on from the combination of US consumer powerhouse PainePR, UK agencies Band & Brown and Brando, and Canadian firm Optimum—all owned by international holding company Vision7—under the Citizen Relations brand, the firm enjoyed the best 12 months since its founding 25 years ago. Citizen North America led the way with a healthy 12 percent increase in billings, while globally the firm topped $28.5 million, enough to rank among the top 50 in The Holmes Report 250 listing of the world’s largest PR firms. That success reflects an endorsement of Citizen’s philosophy, which sees “the democratization of communication and the changing landscape of how people receive and share information,” and underpins a mission to leverage “the full suite of assets available to modern communications professionals, from traditional media and influencers to social media and digital offerings.” It’s an approach that will extend Citizen’s success as a pioneer and leader in the field of influencer outreach (primarily on the back of ground-breaking campaigns for signature client Procter & Gamble, which believes the ability to influence the influencers is what gives PR its unique role in the marketing mix) into the global marketplace. Our Global Consumer Agency of the Year last year, Citizen Relations retains impressive strength in the consumer realm, but increasingly balances its brand-building expertise with reputation and issues management capabilities. Core services now include Citizen Consumer (broken down into Citizen Family, Citizen Life, and Citizen Style); Citizen Corporate/Brand Reputation; Citizen Media: (integrated Social and Traditional Media); Citizen Social Marketing (public sector, public education); and Citizen Biz2Biz. The firm rolled out two new products last year: Citizen Cascade is a signature process for amplifying big ideas across social, digital and traditional channels, combining influencer seeding and traditional publicity to penetrate the pop culture zeitgeist, while Citizen Scorecard is a proprietary measurement tool that assesses four categories of engagement: awareness, appreciation, advocacy and action. For Procter & Gamble, the firm works on more than 20 brands and/or multi-brand or corporate mandates, while additional consumer clients include Kraft/Mondelez (Trident, Stride, et al) and work from Merck (Dr. Scholl’s). On the corporate front, the firm works with Aflac, while social marketing clients include California Volunteers, Network for a Healthy California and California Mental Health Services Authority. New business, meanwhile, came from Bayer, Capital One, Egg Farmers of Canada, Dr. Scholl’s, KAO Canada, Merck Consumer Care, Duracell Powermat (a joint venture between P&G and Powermat Technologies), Walt Disney Baby Products, and TedX. A wealth of award-winning work ranged from managing marketing communications for the Tunnel Tail mobile app/game, created to help youth deal with peer pressure and substance abuse on behalf of BEST Foundation, to helping Capital One Canada own Financial Literacy Month with a creative integrated campaign, from working with Tourism BC on a multicity experiential program to get high-profile media attention for the diversity of British Columbia tourism to producing multiple brand activations, including “Power Those Who Protect Us,” an award-winning cause campaign supporting volunteer fire fighters, for Duracell. ”Citizen has clearly exceeded our expectations and helped Baby Care deliver a record year,” says Bryan McCleary, director of public relations at P&G. “It is a great agency with talented people. The team is highly skilled, with strong capacity, and provides leadership in strategic thinking along with executional
  • 79. Specialists, boutiques, small & mid-size firms excellence.” Adds Amy Rose, leader of communications for Merck Consumer Care: “From pitch to present they have provided great insight, creativity and thought leadership to the Dr. Scholl’s brand. Not only have they been a great partner to our team, but also great collaborators with all agency partners.” Global chairman and CEO Daryl McCullough has the support of a robust North American management team that is headed by Cynthia Rude, chief operating officer; Chris Chamberlin, general manager of US; and Nick Cowling, general manager of Canada. French Canada is led by Isabelle Perras out of the firm’s Montreal and Quebec City offices. In addition, five managing partners were named heads of key business pillars: Beth Balsam, (“successful clients”); Laura Bremer (entrepreneurial culture); Erin Georgieff (“spectacular product”); and Chris Chamberlin (“nimble business”). Long recognized as an employer of choice in the US, the firm sought to enhance talent development with the launch of Flight Path, which combines a biannual compensation review with a career mapping and quarterly mentoring process designed to help employees thrive.—PH CONE Brand marketing, corporate responsibility, crisis PR BOSTON IN the early 80s, when founder Carol Cone established her eponymous agency as the leader in cause-related marketing, Boston-based Cone has taken a more strategic view of its role than most of its peers. Indeed, the seeds of what makes the firm stand out from its peers today—its focus on building strong, emotional engagement between brands and their consumers; its ability to define and communicate its clients’ mission and values as well as their products and services—were evident in those early days. But Cone has also changed with the times. Its current generation of leadership—Rockport and Timberland marketing veteran Jens Bang was named president in 1999 and took over as CEO when Cone departed in 2005—has broadened the firm’s service offering, expanding its brand building, CSR and crisis communications capabilities; added considerable expertise in digital and social media; refined its cause marketing approach with a focus on what it calls “corporate social return” (value for both the company and its stakeholders); and most recently formalized a research and insights division—all the while continuing the firm’s research into cause marketing and CSR, cementing Cone’s position as the authority on those topics. Today, Cone has more than 100 people, most of them in Boston but a handful in a new office in New York, supplemented by a presence in both Seattle and Los Angeles (the latter focused on connecting clients with entertainment industry and celebrity partners). They generate about $25 million in fee income, up by a solid 10 percent last year. There was new business from USO (won in competition with several larger, full-service agencies), Sprint, SunTrust, Philips, the Nature Conservancy and Neiman Marcus, while the firm continues to work with an impressive portfolio that includes the American Heart Association, Barbour (a client for more than 20 years), Ben & Jerry’s, General Mills, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Jiffy Be Relevant, Stay Relevant When something is truly relevant, the company, brand or cause becomes part of us. Building relevance for our clients is at the core of our mission. Discover Relevance at www.brodeur.com and download our Relevance white paper. 33 Offices Globally. Boston | New York | Phoenix | Portsmouth, NH | Washington, DC www.holmesreport.com 81
  • 80. Agency Report Card 2013 North America Lube, Jockey, Johnson & Johnson, Nestle, Pillsbury, Time Warner Cable, and Yoplait. The year also saw a new brand—the positioning process was led by former P&G exec Craig Bida, who joined late in 2010 and leads the CSR and social impact practices— and a new website, which has improved the firm’s digital footprint on almost every metric. The most intriguing initiative, however, is CSR Radar, a worldwide community that seeks to connect CSR experts to share knowledge and provide mutual support. While Cone’s focus is on the domestic US, the fact that its trademark CSR research is now conducted across 10 countries suggests global ambitions, and it is already working internationally with several clients, including Hilton Worldwide and Dunkin Donuts—often in partnership with Omnicom sister agency FleishmanHillard.—PH COONEY/WATERS GROUP Healthcare specialist NEW YORK HAVING grown in just under 20 years to become one of the leading independent healthcare public relations firms in the US, Cooney/ Waters Group took decisive action to prepare for the next phase in its growth in December of 2010, selling to UK-based holding company Creston Communications. As parent to UKbased healthcare public relations firm Red Door (a longtime CWG partner) and a robust array of other healthcare communications business, Creston gives Cooney/Waters access to an expanded range of services and a platform for international growth. Over the past couple of years, it has become clear that CWG intends to take full advantage of its new status, as the firm embarked on an ambitious expansion strategy. It acquired The Corkery Group, a specialist in issues management and health policy (so that it now consists of three brands, with Cooney/Waters providing a full-service public relations service to pharmaceutical and other healthcare clients and Alembic Health Communications focused on health advocacy). It launched Cultúr Health, a new multicultural healthcare communications service in partnership with Hispanic communications agency The Vox Collective. And it introduced Virtual Connections, a 82 www.holmesreport.com service monitoring conversations and engaging stakeholders across traditional and online channels. The group continues under the leadership of chief executive Lenore Cooney and president and chief operating officer Timothy Bird, charged with leading the firm’s business development, international expansion, dayto-day operations, and serves as a member of the Creston Health board. The Corkery acquisition added new talent, with president Karen O’Malley and executive vice president Greg Lugliani joining the Cooney/Waters Group operating board. And in 2012, the firm brought in Anita Bose, a veteran of roles at inVentiv Health, MSL and Cohn & Wolfe, as chief strategist. After spectacular 45 percent growth in 2011, last year was about consolidation, with some client budgets declining as a result of continued economic troubles. The firm continues to work with an illustrious list of clients including Abbott Fund, Abbvie, Gilead Sciences, National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, UCB, and the US Centers for Disease Control, while there was new business from Pfizer Animal Health/Zoetis and UNAIDS. Interesting assignments included award winning work for UCB (building an online community for Parkinson’s disease sufferers), Purdue Pharma (enlisting actress Jennifer Grey to empower people with pain to communicate more effectively), and the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (a public health campaign to combat “flu complacency.”)—PH COOPERKATZ & COMPANY Multispecialist with strong consumer, digital capabilities NEW YORK THE passing of CooperKatz cofounder Andy Cooper after a long illness made for an unhappy start to the year, but Cooper’s professional legacy is one of New York’s most respected and creative boutique public relations firms—a legacy that is now in the good hands of longtime partner Ralph Katz, chief executive Anne Green and the rest of the Cooper Katz team. From the start, Cooper and Katz—both veterans of senior leadership positions with Burson-Marsteller—built a firm where traditional public relations and a broad suite of creative services (from print materials to websites and other multimedia content to events and corporate meetings) sat side-by-side. The firm was among the early adopters of digital and social media, recognizing the potential for online engagement and evangelism, and today there are three divisions—public relations, digital and creative services—that combined to create a proposition the firm calls “creative business communications.” Over the past 12 months, CooperKatz has further expanded its video production and editing capabilities, providing content to clients such as Jackson Hewitt Tax Service and Otis Elevator Company. The firm has also built out its Thought Bubble creative and studio space, which it uses for brainstorms, media training and video production. Another area of growth is work in the healthcare arena, particularly in helping client deal with the impact of the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act. One of the big wins of the year saw Cooper Katz beat out several larger firms to handle a major national advocacy campaign for an undisclosed healthcare company. The firm is now serving as the lead strategic agency for a forthcoming alliance of five prestigious healthcare organizations, which will be focused on the impact of malnutrition in the hospital setting. It will also handle media strategy and outreach, development of marketing and collateral materials, video strategy and production, website content development, and social media work. Other new clients include the Alliance for Audited Media, the American Cleaning Institute, Beekman School, Carrier (celebrating the 110th anniversary of the invention of air conditioning), the Cleveland Browns (announcing new team ownership), i1Biometrics, and PwC’s healthcare practice. They join a roster that includes the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Association of National Advertisers, Coldwell Banker Real Estate, DialAmerica, management consulting firm Gap International, Guardian Life Insurance, Sarah Lawrence College and Siegel+Gale. They also helped Cooper Katz to very healthy 14 percent growth, ending the year with fees of around $4.6 million. Notable work included a repeat engagement with Carrier (the firm had helped the company mark the 100th anniversary air conditioning a decade earlier); supporting Jimmy Haslam, CEO of Pilot Flying J and new majority team owner of the NFL’s Cleveland Browns; and helping the Audit Bureau of Circulations strategize and successfully launch the debut of its new brand identity—the Alliance for Audited Media—at its annual conference. The firm also continued its longstanding work with the Association of National Advertisers, a client since Cooper Katz launched 17 years
  • 81. Specialists, boutiques, small & mid-size firms ago. Says Bob Liodice, president and chief executive officer, “To say the least, our start was unique – as CooperKatz had its original office inside the ANA. We grew close because CooperKatz brought a wonderful blend of creativity, strategic insight, deft writing and outstanding production capabilities. That is the same formula that keeps us joined at the hip. CooperKatz and ANA have grown together, provided mutual support, and made each other better. CooperKatz is family – and that will never change.” From an internal perspective, the firm launched a new volunteerism program for the agency, offering full-time employees the opportunity to volunteer two half-days per year during regular business hours on a paid basis. There were promotions for three members of the management team—Rachael Adler and Melissa Connerton are now vice presidents and directors of client services, while Jason Wallace is VP and creative director—and the firm added Abby Trexler as manager, client services.—PH COYNE PUBLIC RELATIONS Consumer marketing and media relations specialist PARSIPPANY NJ H NEW YORK COYNE PR’s positioning, “where you want to be,” is a pithy and direct statement of the firm’s longtime ambition to become a destination for both clients and talent, summed up in its mission: “Not to be the best agency in America, but the best one to work for. If we are the best place to work, we will get the best people. If we have the best people, we will get the best clients. If we have the best people and clients, how can we not be the best agency in America?” The focus on employee development is clearly one key to the firm’s success. “Our goal is for every employee to leave the office each day a better public relations professional than they were the day before,” according to the firm’s HR department. That means a combination of formal training, including the firm’s own Coyne College and support for those who want to attend external industry conferences and seminars, and mentoring by senior staff. A move to a new headquarters in 2011 provided an opportunity to enhance the physical work environment, featuring more conference rooms, bigger kitchens and various creative spaces, including a Zen relaxation room, a putting green and a game room featuring a pool table, darts and foosball. As a result of this commitment, Coyne has built and retained an impressive senior leadership team that includes—in addition to Coyne himself—president Rich Lukis, a veteran of Marina Maher Communications and Custom Event Marketing; executive vice president of client strategy Brad Buyce, a key addition last year, formerly of Ketchum; executive VP with responsibility for consumer lifestyle and crisis John Gogarty; senior VP of business development David Carter; and senior VPs Kelly Dencker (head of the healthcare group) and Tim Schramm (food and nutrition). A major addition in 2012 was Silvio Bonvini, who came on board as director of digital marketing and strategy from Scion Marketing Group. Long known for creativity, the firm has added a little more formal process with three new proprietary tools. Loop is a network of influencers that provides the firm with an opportunity to test concepts, ideas and pitches, and even get feedback on product concepts for clients prior to pulling the trigger on the investment. It feeds into the firm’s established ResultsFirst methodology. In addition, …Sequel provides a mechanism for retelling stories after the initial media objective is attained, amplifying coverage through a variety of tactics. And Persona is a new assessment tool that evaluates how the brand is currently perceived online. A diverse client portfolio spanning automotive, beauty, entertainment, fashion, food and beverage, nutrition and wellness, healthcare, pet products, retail, sports, technology, toys and juvenile products and travel has helped the firm maintain an impressive growth trajectory, with new business from American Petroleum Institute, Beam Global/Skinnygirl Cocktails, Chrysler, Dodge, Ram, Jeep, Heathrow Airport, IMAX, Novartis, Pfizer Consumer Healthcare’s Chapstick, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Stanley Steemer, The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, UPS, USA Today Sports and VTech—all of which helped Coyne achieve double-digit growth despite the agency’s difficult decision not to re-pitch the recently acquired Burger King business. Major clients include The Walt Disney Company, Hard Rock International, Shell Lubricants, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, Daytona International Speedway, David’s Bridal, Skinnygirl Cocktails, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Mary Kay, Del Monte, Casio, Crayola, Humana, Express Scripts, Pfizer Consumer Health (Children’s Advil, Chapstick and Pfizer Legal Alliance), Sealed Air Corp, The United States Golf Association and UPS. Interesting work includes helping the Topps Company generate national buzz around the launch of the new 2013 Topps Baseball Series 1 cards, creating the World’s Largest Baseball Card, featuring Detroit Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder; working with Sealed Air Corporation and its Bubble Wrap brand to break the Guinness World Record for “the most people popping Bubble Wrap at one time,” to following up on the success of Humana’s “Freewheelin” bike-sharing program at the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. Says Jim Turner, director of corporate communications at Humana: “While I could insert a running list of Coyne’s accomplishments, I prefer instead to distill it down to the critical points that, in my opinion, make working with Coyne so special: great client service; stellar creativity; and excellent results. Most of all, though, they are great people to work with – every one of them. They clearly love their jobs and working for Tom Coyne. In fact, my account team has remained virtually the same since 2008 – a rarity in agency life.” While Coyne PR does not have international offices, the agency has implemented international campaigns for clients including Hard Rock International, Shell Lubricants, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, Mary Kay and The Walt Disney Company, working through an established network of partner agencies.—PH CRENSHAW COMMUNICATIONS Consumer PR NEW YORK H LOS ANGELES DOROTHY Crenshaw has a formidable track record of success, serving in senior consumer practice roles with some of the largest agencies in the US, including Edelman and Grey Advertising before launching her own firm and building up a robust portfolio of travel, retail and consumer electronics brands. George Drucker has enjoyed a similarly illustrious career, holding creative positions for Edelman and RF|Binder before joining his former colleague in her new venture, opening a west coast office for the firm and giving Crenshaw Communications an exceptionally experienced www.holmesreport.com 83
  • 82. Agency Report Card 2013 North America management team. Certainly, that experience came in handy last year, when Crenshaw Communications suffered a setback with the departure of longtime client Sharp Electronics and its seven-figure budget. Over the next few months, however, Crenshaw Communications reengineered to focus on emerging companies in areas such as digital technology, e-commerce, ad tech and technology content. Showing a willingness to innovate, it expanded its digital services and its content marketing capabilities and over the next 18 months recouped all the lost revenues. Clients include marketing technology provider Silverpop, Sleepy’s, Verizon Wireless, Club Quarters Hotels, and Call2Recycle, while the past year has seen new assignments from skobbler, UGallery, Atlantic City Alliance, McGraw Hill Federal Credit Union, GP Renewables, V2 (VMR Brands) , TechMediaNetwork, BoomAgers and Sundial Brands, among others. On the West Coast, the firm added travel package provider Mitch-Stuart, Pacific Clinics, The John Wayne Cancer Institute, “Hiring America,” and The Fine Food Network. Interesting assignments included a repositioning program for Sleepy’s that coincided with the launch of its new brand campaign in September; support for technology publisher TechMediaNetwork’s acquisition of Bestofmedia; helping to showcase the “new” Atlantic City and its attractions and events; the launch of Viva Movil; the teaming of Verizon Wireless and superstar Jennifer Lopez in a new retail line to serve the needs of the Latino community; and the highprofile announcement of UGallery’s participation in Amazon Art. Says Gallery’s Stephen Tannenbaum, ”We were drawn to Crenshaw Communications because of their impressive work and reputation, but they’ve proven to be as charismatic as they are creative. They’ve been an excellent partner in helping us gain visibility and further our mission to create chemistry between people and works of art.”  In addition to Crenshaw and Drucker, senior executives include Marijane Funess, newly promoted to director, and new hire Chris Harihar, also a director.—PH CROSSROADS Cause-related marketing specialist KANSAS CITY MO THE former Barkley PR/Cause has been rebranded as Crossroads, but it continues to focus on cause branding, a realm in which 84 www.holmesreport.com president Mike Swanson is recognized as one of the industry thought leaders. The firm has a straightforward approach: it wins business with big creative ideas—it picked up the Applebee’s business in competition with two major New York firms based on its creative concepts—and it holds on to them (celebrating its 18th anniversary with two clients in 2012) through outstanding customer service, as well as an approach that encourages authenticity and transparency, building dialogue with opinion leaders and consumers through multiple communications channels. Swenson, a former press secretary to Kansas Gov. John Carlin, founded Barkley PR/Cause— now Crossroads—in 1987 and continues to lead strategic planning for the firm and its clients. His team includes vice presidents Lindsey DeWitte, who has been with the firm for 12 years working on its L’Oréal and Lee Jeans business, and Jennifer Cawley, a 14-year veteran who has worked with Sonic Drive-In, Blue Bunny Ice Cream and more. The firm grew by 27 percent last year, with new business from Applebee’s, Quiznos, Minute Rice, Success Rice and Fruit2O, joining a roster that includes Wells Enterprises/Blue Bunny Ice Cream, Dawn Food Products, Green Dot, ITC, Lee Jeans, the March of Dimes, Susan G. Komen 3-Day, Schreiber Foods, and Weight Watchers. Highlights include developing and launching Blue Bunny Ice Cream’s partnership with Make A Wish Foundation; developing and launching a new blogger party strategy for Lee Jeans; launching a new partnership with the American Cancer Society for Lee Jeans; creating a new affiliate relations program for Susan G. Komen 3-Day; and producing a PSA for March of Dimes and its 39-week campaign. While the firm is focused on domestic markets, it is a member of the international network IPREX, providing access to global resources.—PH DKC Marketing communications firm with entertainment specialty and strong media relations capabilities NEW YORK H ALBANY H CHICAGO H LOS ANGELES H WASHINGTON DC DKC (formerly Dan Klores Communications) was initially best known for its formidable media relations capabilities and its connections and influence in the entertainment realm. Those capabilities are still formidable—few firms have better access to top-tier New York media—but over the past few years DKC has diversified, establishing itself as one of the biggest and best independent brand marketing and public relations firms in the country, providing an impressive roster of corporate clients with the kind of strategic marketing counsel that translates targeted media coverage into brand and business results. It has also expanded beyond the consumer realm. Additional services include corporate communications, corporate social responsibility, public affairs, and more recently digital and social media and government relations. And the firm has expertise across multiple sectors including consumer products; entertainment, music and fashion; government, not-for-profit, and education; healthcare; hospitality and lifestyle; and sports. With that growth has come geographic expansion, adding offices in Chicago, Los Angeles and the nation’s capital to its existing operations in New York and Albany. The LA office, led by Jenn DeMartino Callister, focuses on clients working in and around the entertainment sector, including existing corporate clients such as Delta Air Lines, Moet & Chandon, Jaguar/Land Rover, Yahoo!, Atari, Showtime and Michael Eisner’s portfolio of companies. Washington DC has a specific policy/public affairs focus, and the Chicago office has been set up to serve the firm’s Midwestern clients, including Jim Beam Brands, BMO: Harris Bank, Kraft, The James Hotel and national beauty retailer Ulta. Last year, the firm expanded its DKC Connect digital division by adding a new video production suite, and also launched an event marketing and production division called DKC Incite. This year, moreover, DKC continued that hankering for diversification by inking a joint venture with investor relations firm JCIR. DKC remains headed by president Sean Cassidy, who oversees day-to-day client service operations and senior management teams and has been named one of the “Most Influential New Yorkers” by New York magazine. Managing partner John Marino leads the government, not-for-profit and education groups, while managing director and chief of staff Matthew Traub heads the media business and provides crisis management counsel, with six more managing directors— Joe DePlasco, Diane Briskin, William Cunningham, Joseph Scott Miranda, Jeffrey Klein and Allison Lee—rounding out a veteran leadership team. Last year saw a number of senior hires, including Michael Shmarak (VP, Chicago); Megan Pollock (VP, DC); Kelly Markus (VP, production, DKC Incite) and Sebastian Moreira (director of digital content)
  • 83. Specialists, boutiques, small & mid-size firms Those hires reflect DKC’s impressive growth; it has recorded double-digit improvement in each of the past three years, including a 20 percent surge in 2012. Key new business wins across practice areas include USA TODAY/ Gannett, Airbnb, LinkedIn, AARP, NBCU/ Sprout, Marquette University, X-Factors, Clinique and the Professional Football Hall of Fame, as well as significant digital content initiatives for The SAK, Phil Ivey and Stan Lee’s World of Heroes. That growth took DKC to almost $33m in revenue, built on a client roster that includes Delta Air Lines, Jaguar Land Rover, Yahoo!, New Balance, United States Tennis Association, Esquire Magazine, Kraft, Marvel Entertainment, PBS, and Citi. Campaign highlights included the communications campaign to support the release of Clive Davis’ memoir ‘The Soundtrack of my Life’ which debuted at number two on the New York Times Bestsellers List. DKC’s work spurred considerable coverage across all media. Meanwhile, as part of its ongoing work for LinkedIn, DKC oversaw communications for the launch of the social platform’s influencer program, which featured such thought leaders as Arianna Huffington, Richard Branson, Jack Welch, Meg Whitman, Mark Cuban, and Deepak Chopra. DKC has been a great partner to LinkedIn. From strategy to implementation, they bring a creative vision and a results-oriented focus to everything they do. They have worked hard to understand us and our business and are always determined to help us accomplish our goals. It has been a true pleasure to work with them,” says Shannon Stubo, VP of corporate communications at LinkedIn. DKC works predominately in the US but has capabilities in Canada and Europe too.—ASu DAVIES PUBLIC AFFAIRS Public affairs firm with strength in energy, healthcare and real estate LOS ANGELES BASED in Los Angeles but serving a national client base, Davies has carved out a unique positioning, specializing in helping organizations deal with the not-inmy-backyard sentiment that can derail major construction efforts even after legislative hurdles have been cleared. The firm uses highly targeted grassroots and communication programs to help clients successfully manage defining and high stakes issues. After a couple of turbulent years—the epic collapse of the real estate sector and the sale of the firm’s healthcare provider business — in 2012, Davies grew 20 percent by replacing the billing from its hospital-provider practice and reducing its real estate practice by nearly $3 million as compared to 2008. Ultimately, the firm rebuilt two-thirds of its 2008 billings in three years by focusing on growth sectors like, mining and energy and the chemical industry. Davies also grew from regional and state efforts to national efforts – resulting in a number of big wins for its clients with federal agencies. In-house social media accounted for a greater percentage of billing, as well. The firm grew about from $9.9 million to $11.9 million in 2012 – with new clients driving most of the expansion. “[Pharmacy & therapeutics] committee members hate it when patients call or email them, because it happens so infrequently, but we have found that it works. The Davies’ fearless pursuit of the unexpected zenogroup.com | follow us @zenogroup www.holmesreport.com 85
  • 84. Agency Report Card 2013 North America approach is a much needed tool in the arsenal of pharmaceuticals in their battle with payors,” said a senior managed care executive at a leading US biopharmaceutical. In 2012 Davies expanded its grassroots efforts into Canada, but remains focused on North America.—ASh DEVRIES PUBLIC RELATIONS Lifestyle and healthcare brand-building NEW YORK MANY public relations firms acknowledge the desirability of building longer, deeper relationships with their key clients. Few have the discipline to make the difficult decisions that such a strategy entails: focusing on fewer clients; eschewing new business opportunities when pursuing them would have a negative impact of client service; turning away work that doesn’t have the potential to develop into the right kind of long-term relationship. But over the past decade or so, DeVries has shown that it can be done. The firm’s transformation—it started life as a more conventional fashion and beauty public relations boutique—began under the leadership of founder Madeline DeVries and has accelerated in recent years under global chairman Jim Allman, who joined in 2004 after a career in the advertising business, and North American chief executive Stephanie Smirnov, who departed earlier this year for Edelman. Perhaps the biggest development in DeVries’ recent history is its expandsion beyond its US base with the formal launch of five new offices in Asia and Europe and the creation of the DeVries Global network, which will draw on talent from its New York headquarters, as well as other Interpublic-owned operations, to populate the new offices and service global brands, notably key client Procter & Gamble. After launching a new creative and strategic team in 2012, DeVries expanded its offering further during the year by rolling out a US Hispanic practice and boosting its digital and social capabilities. The latter investment helped to drive both organic and new business growth, particularly in the areas of buzz analysis, social strategy and social platform planning, community management and digital development. In 2012, notably, the firm’s organic growth netted out at nearly 70 percent, 86 www.holmesreport.com led in particular by its fabric care and beauty practices. DeVries used that growth to continue building out its team. David Hanon arrived from Ogilvy as VP on fabric care, while Laura Thomas joined the global design team as SVP, after previously serving as director of communications at kirshenbaum bond senecal + partners. Hanon succeeded Jillian Cutrone, while Thomas replaced Kathryn Holl Fernandez, both of whom left the agency. DeVries grew by top and bottom lines by around four percent in 2012 to around $29m, with new business accounting for around one third of the growth, and organic for the remainder. New business included Tyson, Pur/ Kaz and Daily Candy. They join an existing US client roster that is led by P&G, a longterm relationships that sees DeVries handle over a dozen brands including Olay, Pantene, Tide, Downy, Gain, Bounce, Wella and Sebastian. Other existing clients include Campbell Soup, E&J Gallo and the Boston Beer Company. DeVries’ campaign work regularly wins awards. For Tide, the firm created a PR-led season-long programme called ‘Show Us Your Colors’ for the first year of the brand’s multi-year partnership with the NFL. For Sebastian Professional, meanwhile, the agency maintained relevance among consumers and hair stylists by developing the ‘Art of Reinvention’ campaign, built around a year-long collaboration with fashion designer Stacey Bendet. The programme resulted in impressive sales figures of a new limited edition gift set. “One of DeVries’ strengths is the ability to collaborate with other partner agencies, the brand team and external relations in a seamless manner,” says Suzette Middleton, communications manager at P&G. “Many times the PR agency’s creative work made up the bulk of the PuR plan; this engaged all agencies along the way, inspiring new ideas and the identification of marketing synergies.” —ASu DIX & EATON Formidable regional player with strategic counseling capabilities and a strong investor relations group CLEVELAND DIX & Eaton, which celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2012, operates on the simple premise that communication matters, that communication in support of critical issues can serve as a powerful engine to drive an organization’s performance. It sees its mission as using the experience, foresight and creativity of its people to help clients realize the full power of commu- nication and its services are structured around specializations in communicating with each of the stakeholder groups whose support is most crucial to an organization’s success—investors, employees, customers and the media— coupled with a depth of expertise in crises and transactions that is unusual outside the major centers of New York and Washington, DC. A major contributor to the firm’s success is a commitment to building long-term partnerships with its clients. It has more than two dozen client relationships that date back a decade or more, some of them now 30 years or longer. Notable ongoing clients include A. Schulman, AkzoNobel North America (formerly ICI Paints and now PPG), American Greetings, Boart Longyear, Cedar Fair Entertainment, Dentsply, Diebold, Energizer, Ferro, Forest City Enterprises, Glatfelter, Kelly Services, KeyCorp, Lincoln Electric, Lubrizol, OM Group, Omnova Solutions, Swagelok, UnitedHealth Group, the Cleveland Orchestra, PlayhouseSquare Foundation, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame & Museum and the Cleveland Plus Marketing Alliance. They were joined last year by new clients including Cleveland Medical Mart and Convention Center (strategic communications, branding and digital), Vinci Concessions (customer communications, media relations), Myers Industries (investor relations), QEP Resources (crisis communications, branding, internal communications), Atlas Energy (crisis communications), the Mandel Foundation (media relations and digital), National Lime and Stone (internal communications) and Donley’s Inc. (customer communications and branding). The firm has also continued to focus is on attracting and (especially) retaining top quality talent: turnover was lower than 10 percent in 2011. More than half of the firm’s professionals have at least 10 years of experience at D&E, and half of the staff has taken advantage of the opportunity to purchase stock in the employeeowned business. Last year saw the elevation of Lisa Rose, a 16-year Dix & Eaton veteran and former corporate investor relations officer, was named to head the firm’s IR practice, which last year supported acquisition activity by A. Schulman, a threatened proxy fight involving Myers Industries and shareholder activism at privately owned National Lime & Stone. It also launched a new IR Web Intelligence system, which allows companies to monitor online investor conversations and measure the impact on daily trading volume, stock price and corporate reputation. D&E also helped guide the Rock and Roll
  • 85. Specialists, boutiques, small & mid-size firms Hall of Fame and Cleveland’s MetroHealth System through transitions at the top, including developing “100-day” plans for the respective incoming leaders. Other highlights included working with the Cleveland Plus Marketing Alliance to focus national media attention on Northeast Ohio’s rebounding economy and the region’s political influence during the presidential elections. Over the course of the campaign season, references to the so-called “struggling” economy faded and media coverage skyrocketed. “D&E jumped into uncharted waters to help us create an 18-county national media relations campaign,” observes Richard Batyko, president of the Regional Marketing Alliance of Northeast Ohio (Cleveland Plus). “Today, our region leads our competitive set in terms of quality and tone of coverage. We owe it to D&E, and we continue to count on its expertise to garner the national coverage that is changing perceptions of our region and helping to drive our renewal.” On the digital front, the firm has created a social media product suite that includes audits, guidelines, training and “playbooks” for employees. It also maintains a joint venture with the Potomac Alliance, a bipartisan government affairs and strategic communications firm based in Arlington, Va., and enhanced its capabilities both globally and domestically with membership in the Worldcom Public Relations Group, which gives D&E more than 100 global partners in more than 50 countries around the world.—PH DODGE COMMUNICATIONS Healthcare and technology ATLANTA THE past decade has seen several healthcare firms expanding their offer to include technology, and several technology specialists going in the opposite direction—a perfectly natural consequence of the convergence of those two sectors, as medical technology grows more and more important. But few firms offer the balance of healthcare and technology expertise that Dodge Communications has developed in its 11 years building a balanced portfolio in both worlds. Offering a blend of public relations, marketing and digital media services, Dodge has worked with more than 150 clients and delivered more than 5,000 pieces of media coverage. Founder and chief executive Brad Dodge—a veteran of sales management, product management, corporate marketing and advertising positions—launched his firm with a conviction that healthcare companies needed to build compelling brands to compete effectively. His longtime partner, senior VP Brian Parrish, is a veteran of the healthcare technology sector, and the firm’s third principal, vice president Elizabeth Glaser has worked with a number of healthcare providers over the course of a 20-year career. After more than a decade of steady growth, 2012 was a breakthrough year, with fees up by more than 160 percent to just over $5.5 million—enough to earn the firm recognition at a finalist for The Holmes Report’s Healthcare Agency of the Year award. In addition to ongoing work for Emdeon, the Center for Connected Medicine, Rubbermaid, NextGen Healthcare, and Liaison Technologies, Dodge added 25 new clients. But it was the expansion of its work with Emdeon— a leading provider of revenue and payment cycle management and clinical information exchange solutions—that produced some of the firm’s most notable work. Working with the corporate, clinical, pharmacy, institutional, payer and professional divisions, the firm delivered an integrated campaign that sought to modify and enhance Emdeon’s position in the industry, focusing on issues such as payment integrity. “Dodge Communications has been a valuable brand communications partner in helping Navicure rapidly grow our business,” says Phil Dolan, chief marketing officer. “Their knowledge of the healthcare technology space, and their application of that knowledge has been a huge asset, particularly in the area of public relations and media.” Adds Donald Fisher, president and CEO of AMGA: “Dodge Communications has been instrumental in a successful media and outreach strategy that has helped position AMGA as a thought leader in health care, particularly regarding Accountable Care Organizations. Not only are their people knowledgeable, proactive and professional, their expertise and the breadth of their contacts in healthcare media have been invaluable to positioning us nationally and increasing our media exposure.” Dodge was also recognized last year as one of the nation’s “Best and Brightest Companies to Work For” by the National Association for Business Resources.—PH EASTWICK Technology SAN FRANCISCO H SILICON VALLEY LAUNCHED more than two decades ago by Barbara Bates and Elaine Cummings, Eastwick has been a Silicon Valley mainstay having worked with clients like Fujitsu and Qualcomm. In 2010, following Cummings’ retirement, Bates made several senior hires and ramped up the agency’s data-backed approach. The firm has developed a data-backed methodologies for pinpointing and prioritizing influence, and for tracking the impact of PR placements across a range of web and social platforms, using analytics to validate and improve results. This adds to Eastwick’s deep tech know-how across various sectors including IT, analytics, cloud, cleantech, consumer tech, health tech and edtech. This data-driven approach has yielded 22 percent growth with revenues rising from $6.2 million to $7.7 million. At the top, Bates has been running the firm for 22 years and is supported by a senior team that includes Google and Apple alum Ellen Petry Leanse as a social/online strategist; long-time tech and financial communicator Cathy Thompson; cleantech expert and former journalist Michael Kanellos; and media veteran Audrey Webb. New additions include enterprise technology communicator Karen Reynolds as a VP and SVP Heather Kernahan. Numerous client wins have fueled Eastwick’s growth, including Boxbee.com, DriveCam, Siemens Enterprise Communications, Aggregate Knowledge, July Systems, and business units within several large hardware and software enterprises. In education technology, market leader lynda.com and rising innovator Kuato Studios also joined its roster and its cleantech practice added eight new clients for long-term engagements or strategic initiatives. High-profile work includes sharing the news of lynda.com’s major funding event that involved new media, speaking and analyst exposure for the edtech leader. Eastwick also guided Quest Software through a number of important business and financial announcements and gained coverage for AutoGrid, a cleantech innovator, helping the company land an invitation to the World Economic Forum. “Eastwick excels because they do the work: to understand our technology, to know our market, and to get the right information to the right people,” says Krista Donaldson, CEO, www.holmesreport.com 87
  • 86. Agency Report Card 2013 North America D-Rev. ”Simply put, I partner with Eastwick because I can count on them for creative and strategic thinking combined with flawless execution,” adds Lisa Joy Rosner, CMO, NetBase  Eastwick addresses global markets through long-standing partner agencies.—ASh ENERGI PR Consumer, technology and healthcare PR TORONTO H MONTREAL BILINGUAL Canadian energi PR has established itself as one of the leading independents in the Canadian market by combining a boutique approach to management—a strong commitment to customer service and ethical business principles—with the ability to deliver national and (through its membership of PR Global Network) international results to a diverse roster of clients. The firm is well known for its work in the consumer packaged goods space (clients include Procter & Gamble female beauty brands such as Olay, Venus, Herbal Essences and Secret; as well as online travel agency, Hotels.com) and healthcare (Astellas Pharma Canada, for which energi handles corporate PR as well as the oncology, urology, dermatology, immunology product portfolios). The firm has additional expertise in the technology sector, and handling sustainability issues, and in recent years it has added digital and social media expertise. It also offers media training and speakers’ bureau services. Now in its 23rd year, energi continues to be led by its co-founders. Carol Levine oversees the healthcare practice, has 40 years of experience and has worked with clients including Astellas Pharma, Abbott, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Merck, and more. She is also the immediate past chair of the Canadian Council of Public Relations Firms. Esther Buchsbaum oversees the consumer practice, has 30 years of experience with clients such as Procter & Gamble, Hotels.com, Avon and Burger King. A new addition in 2012 is Jacqueline Zonneville, who joined as a director in the healthcare practice. Growth last year was a healthy 15 percent, with new business from Choice Hotels, Roche, Mouth & Foot Painting Artists, Pari Beauty and Pivotal Payments. “We selected energi PR as our strategic communications partner based on their impressive ability to be insightful with a depth of reach across a wide spectrum of demands,” says Tim Oldfield, managing director, Choice Hotels Canada. “But more important are the reasons we stay with 88 www.holmesreport.com energi. This team is passionate, nimble, diverse and operates with the clients best interests at heart, all the time. Most importantly though, I’ve never met a group of PR practitioners who care as much about their clients and employees as Esther and Carol.” energi PR was also chosen as the Canadian agency to represent the UICC World Cancer Congress and was responsible for promoting the event and encouraging local media attendance. Another highlight was the “Canvassing the Country” campaign on behalf of Mouth & Foot Painting Artists. The firm has experience in promoting clients in the United States, the Caribbean and Europe. As the Canadian affiliate of PRGN, it can offer clients representation through more than 44 agencies that represent 80 markets around the globe.—PH ENGLANDER KNABE & ALLEN Public affairs firm with community relations, crisis and issues management capabilities LOS ANGELES ENGLANDER Knabe & Allen has flourished in difficult times by bringing together all the elements necessary to create winning public affairs campaigns for its clients. The firm’s roots are in political campaigning, a background that shapes its approach to public relations. So research and analysis are important, but so is speed, and Englander moves quickly from research to form a hypothesis, test strategies, revise and implement them delivering advocacy and government relations, crisis communications, issues campaigns, community relations, media relations, media training, and a litigation support specialty that works with several leading law firms. So the launch last year of a specialized EKA Campaigns division was in one respect a return to EK&A’s roots and in another a way to separate its formidable corporate work from its efforts on behalf of candidates and committees. Under the leadership of Kian Kaeni, former legislative director for a prominent city council member, the unit focuses on issues campaigning, independent expenditures, and targeted candidate consulting. Kaeni joins an impressive leadership team that includes founder Harvey Englander—a fixture on the California political and business scenes for about four decades—and partners Matt Knabe, a former deputy to Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe; Marcus Allen, who was deputy chief of staff to Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa; and Eric Rose, who became an equity partner at the beginning of last year. Clients include some of the nation’s most respected brands and institutions, including Westfield, Motorola, Downey Regional Medical Center, LegalZoom, Waste Management, Enterprise, AT&T and the Los Angeles Police Protective League, Affiliated Computer Services, Maximus, Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway. The firm’s work for the Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica, originally built in the 1920s and now embarking on an ambitious redevelopment plan, included developing and implementing a community relations strategy to develop a dialogue with residents and elected officials. “We have worked with EK&A on high profile projects throughout Los Angeles,” says Jay Newman, COO of client The Athens Group. “They bring a level of creativity, strategic counsel and tactical implementation that provided us with confidence that we would succeed in our goals. Also, their policy of having only senior level personnel reassured us that seasoned professionals were devoted to our projects.”—PH EXPONENT Food and beverage and health and wellness specialist MINNEAPOLIS EXPONENT—THE public relations arm of Colle & McVoy—has evolved from its roots as an agribusiness specialist to its more recent focus on a broad cross-section of food and beverage and health and wellness clients, and from a traditional product publicity firm to a more sophisticated model of public relations guided by five tenets: turning influencers into “belief builders” and brand advocates, not just buyers; cultivating peers—and not just media—as trusted resources of brand information and opinion; inspiring storytelling, not just news angles; bringing brand values, not just product features, to life; and not just planning and reacting, but focusing on real-time, two-way engagement. The efficacy of that approach can be seen in the firm’s work “Reaching a New Generation of Home Cooks” for Land O’Lakes, which tasked Exponent with inspiring younger generations to cook with butter more often. The integrated campaign connected with consumers through a well-known voice in the
  • 87. Specialists, boutiques, small & mid-size firms food blogging community, Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman and through networks of bloggers, driving a 30 percent increase in visits to landolakes.com. Another highlight saw the firm wrap up its 18-month “Add Some Life” campaign on behalf of the International Olive Council, which had launched at MercedesBenz Fashion Week and included high-profile tasting events, recipe promotion, social media outreach, and nutrition education. “It is a pleasure to work with the team at Exponent,” says Kendra Klemme of client Starkey Hearing Technologies. “They picked up the nuances of our business quickly and now provide smart, strategic thinking and exceptional execution that supports our goals. The hearing industry can be challenging and our team at Exponent is more than up to tackling it.” In 2012, the firm supplemented its digital and social offer with the launch of The Foundery, a virtual listening center that uses software to monitor, analyze and respond rapidly to traditional, online and social media conversations and then draws on the data gathered to develop ideas and content. The Foundery is now used by half of the firm’s clients, including Duluth Trading Company and its Ballroom Jeans line, which were able to respond in real-time when American Country Music Awards co-host Blake Shelton quipped, “You know what a Motel 6 and [co-host] Luke Bryan’s jeans have in common? There’s no ballroom.” The payoff was significant social media buzz about the brand. All of that helped Exponent to an eighth consecutive year of growth in 2012. New clients included Duluth Trading Company, University of Nebraska and Starkey Hearing Technologies, while Land O’Lakes added Alpine Lace, Kozy Shack and Sauté Express brands to the agency’s roster and there was solid growth in the health and wellness, food and agribusiness sectors, resulting in fee income of $7.3 million for the year. The leadership team expanded too, with Keith Negrin—who previously led the Sherwin-Williams, Clorox and Hasbro accounts at Carmichael Lynch Spong—joining to lead the reputation management practice. He joins Tom Lindell, a veteran of Washington DC and senior roles with Fleishman-Hillard and CLS, who has been managing director since 2009; Bernice Neumann, who oversees the food and nutrition practice; Carol Anderson, recent president of the National Agri-Marketing Association; and Bob Gagne, who leads public affairs and crisis management work.—PH FAHLGREN MORTINE Multi-specialist firm presence in recent years, with additional offices in Florida, Colorado and West Virginia. Even more significant, however, is the restructuring COLUMBUS OH H CLEVELAND H CINCINNATI H DAYTON H DENVER H FT. LAUDERDALE H TOLEDO H CHARLESTON WV FROM deep roots in Ohio—where both Fahlgren Mortine and its most high-profile acquisition, Edward Howard, had their origins— the firm has been building a genuine national that sought to eliminate the barriers between its traditional public relations business and its advertising and digital capabilities, rebranding and promising clients the ability to “think wider” www.holmesreport.com 89
  • 88. Agency Report Card 2013 North America about their challenges—a positioning that certainly applies in the PR realm, where the firm has broad expertise in corporate reputation and public affairs, investor relations and crisis communications, and consumer and businessto-business marketing, as well as an expanding social media practice. The firm can offer sector expertise in consumer products and services, education, healthcare, industrial and manufacturing, professional and financial services, technology and travel and leisure A team of more than 60 professionals is led by strong management team including president and CEO Neil Mortine; chief engagement officer Melissa Dykstra, who has held corporate positions with Nationwide and Bridgestone/Firestone; and vice president Christy Bykowski, who manages the Cleveland office. They generated revenue of $12.4 million in 2012, compared with $10.5 million in 2011. Key clients include Ansell Protective Products, Cardinal Health, Columbus Image Collaborative, Crown Equipment, DHL Supply Chain, Emerson, Glimcher Realty Trust, Grange Insurance, Kent State University, Kidde, The Kroger Co., McDonald’s (six co-ops in Ohio and Florida), Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce/CVB, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Office of TourismOhio, SherwinWilliams, Donate Life Ohio, and The Parker Hannifin Hybrid Drives Systems Division. New business in 2012 came from Business Financial Services, Capital University, Corporate United, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, and Simplot. Highlights last year included a campaign that earned $12.1 million in estimated media value for TourismOhio, a 41 percent increase over 2010—contributing to 7 percent growth in the state’s tourism economy. The firm also helped increase registrations with the Ohio Donor Registry by 32 percent during the Donate Life Ohio “Many Faces” campaign. And it worked to increase Crown Equipment’s share of discussion; respondents to an industry magazine survey named Crown the first brand to consider when purchasing a lift truck and ranked Crown as the leader in all key attributes.The firm has also continued to focus energy on employee and customer satisfaction. It completed the first full year of FMU, a formalized, agency-wide professional development program designed to educate associates on all facets of our integrated offering, and a major contributor to Fahgren’s reputation as one of the industry’s best workplaces. And it launched a formal three-part client satisfaction analysis, including online survey, qualitative interview, and in-depth client 90 www.holmesreport.com health assessment, all leading to actionable feedback for continuous improvement. It also continued its commitment to charitable giving and corporate citizenship. “With Fahlgren Mortine, we have consistently achieved double-digit, annual percentage growth in audience reach, and continue to see growth by more than $1 million year-over-year in our earned media value,” says Tamara Brown, public relations manager, TourismOhio. “Most importantly, the agency doesn’t rest on its laurels. The team continues to bring us new partnership opportunities and program ideas to take us to higher levels of success and achievement.” Adds Matt Logan, director of global marketing for Crown Equipment: “I’ve worked with marketing and communications agencies throughout the world during my career. When Crown hired Fahlgren Mortine four years ago, we knew that we wanted an agency team that was committed to understanding our business, dedicated to creating and implementing breakthrough ideas that would differentiate our brand, and devoted to measuring programs. Fahlgren Mortine delivers in all of these areas.” Fahlgren Mortine was selected to be part of IPREX, one of the world’s largest public relations networks, with operations in 30 countries and more than 1,170 professional staff.—PH FINEMAN PR Consumer, crisis and Hispanic market public relations SAN FRANCISCO MICHAEL Fineman’s firm has long been known for its ability to approach consumer public relations—particularly in the food and beverage sector—with a broad, brand-building mindset. But in an increasingly competitive environment, Fineman recognized the need for more specialized approaches to set his firm apart, developing a crisis communications specialty and an expertise in marketing to Latino and other multicultural populations (under the Mosaico brand) and more recently emphasizing the firm’s commitment to using a variety of visual media—including a wide range of digital content—to help clients tell their stories with creativity and impact. Fineman has also invested in making sure that his firm is not seen as a one-man band, building a senior team that includes 16-year agency veteran Heidi White and Lorna Bush (10 years), both vice presidents; Mosaico director Juan Lezema; group supervisor Toby Baird; account supervisor Katie Young; and social/digital media director Karmina Zafiro. New in 2012 is Travis Taylor, previously a VP at the agency’s IPREX partner, Communications Pacific in Honolulu. The firm launched a new animal welfare campaign for longtime client Foster Farms, first major poultry brand to earn humane certification by American Humane Association, spurring a front page cover story in the San Francisco Chronicle and feature articles in leading west coast media. Fineman also planned, managed and promoted Foster Farms’ third annual Fresh Chicken Cooking Contest and launched the company’s new whole grain corn dogs for the foodservice market. Elsewhere, there was work with new women’s retail client The Limited to promote its California expansion and the opening of several new stores throughout the state and with Mendocino Wine Company, an engagement that began with an issues management assignment and continued with a revamp of the company’s digital and social media vehicles. Fineman has been an active member of the international agency network IPREX since 2000.—PH FINN PARTNERS Multispecialist with strong technology capabilities NEW YORK H CHICAGO H LOS ANGELES H SAN FRANCISCO H WASHINGTON, DC FINN Partners, the Ruder Finn spinoff led by that agency’s former co-chief executive Peter Finn, launched with fee income of $23 million and more than 100 clients, and by the end of its first full year in business had grown (helped by the acquisition of travel PR boutique M Silver Associates) by better than 35 percent to end last year with fees $32 million—enough to rank among the top 50 firms in the world in its own right. In its first year, the firm supplemented longstanding relationships with Bosch Home Appliances, CTIA The Wireless Association, Dole Packaged Foods, Harper Collins, Hyundai (and its Hope on Wheels cause-marketing initiative), IEEE, the Jamaica Tourist Board, Liz Claiborne, Logitech, Marsh, The Jim Henson Company, The North Face, the Robert Wood Johnson
  • 89. Specialists, boutiques, small & mid-size firms Foundation, Rosetta Stone, StubHub, TomTom and Vonage with new business from brands such as Beam’s Pinnacle Vodka brand, Cruise Line International Association, Fujitsu, Fifth Third Bank, Turkish Cultural and Tourism Board, and The Verizon Foundation. On the management front, managing partners Peter Finn, Noah Finn, Richard Funess, Anne Glauber, Dena Merriam, Gail Moaney, Philippa Polskin, Howard Solomon, Alicia Young, and Ron Rogers (founder of LA-based Rogers & Associates)— most of whom have worked together for about 20 years—have been joined by new additions including Miriam Weber Miller as partner and director, Finn Partners Health; David McKay as partner in the DC office; and—via the M Silver acquisition—managing partners Virginia Sheridan and Morris Silver. They lead an operation that includes 19 additional partners and about 180 team members, spread across offices in New York, Chicago, Washington,DC, San Francisco, Los Angeles and internationally in the UK and Israel. Finn Partners offers a wide range of services, including corporate and marketing communications, media relations, public affairs, corporate responsibility, digital and social media expertise, and multicultural capabilities across a variety of sectors including technology, consumer, travel and economic development, energy and the environment, health services, mobile and telecom, and the arts. The healthcare practice, focused on hospitals and providers, grew to around $3.2 million in its first year of operation while the acquisition of M Silver, added to existing travel and tourism capabilities, creates one of the largest practices in the sector. But the firm is distinguished by its culture as much as by its portfolio of services. Finn has talked about his desire to return to his entrepreneurial roots—“the leader of an independent agency can follow his own vision and create the kind of culture he believes in”— and to create a work environment that ranks among the best in the industry, one where “every member of staff will be a partner” and where collaboration is key. The firm has already established its Finnstitute training program and its Amp mentoring initiative and earned Best Agency to Work For honors (based on employee surveys) by this publication. Interesting assignments included raising awareness of domestic violence and sexual assault for No More, a group of volunteers from both the corporate and non-profit sectors, drawing on the best marketing minds from companies like Google and Kimberly-Clark to help generate unprecedented national awareness for these stigmatized and hidden issues. The firm’s work for the American Kidney Fund, meanwhile, prompted this from Tenee Hawkins, senior director of communications and marketing: “Finn Partners has done a tremendous job in helping us raise awareness of our organization and its mission. They have consistently delivered excellent results, despite many obstacles, by employing a creative, team approach to garnering media coverage. Their strategic approach to media relations, public affairs and crisis management is a true asset to our organization.”—PH 5W Consumer marketing, healthcare and strong media relations NEW YORK RONN Torossian’s 5W started life as the ultimate challenger brand, going to sometimes outrageous lengths to position itself as a scrappy alternative to New York’s established agencies, outspoken in its belief that many of its competitors had lost sight of what clients wanted—a firm that was in their corner through thick and thin, willing to go the extra mile to deliver the media results they were looking for (the 5W name is a reference to the traditional journalistic questions of who, what, where, when and why). That positioning delivered outstanding results through the first few years of 5W’s existence, during which it was one of the fastest-growing firms in the US: fee income went from around $3 million in 2004 to around $12 million in 2008. But there were always questions about whether the strategy was sustainable and after four years of more modest growth, those questions intensified: Were employees being burned out and recruits turned off? Was the attention-seeking behavior generating the wrong kinds of headlines? Would mature, sophisticated brand marketers feel comfortable being part of a client list that featured a curious mix of rappers, right-wing Israeli politicians and evangelical preachers? The past 18 months have seen 5W striving to answer those questions. In January of 2012, Torossian brought in Don McIver, onetime COO at MWW, to fill the same role at 5W, and has invested in a senior team that has plenty of big agency experience: Cynthia Irons, who runs the corporate technology practice, came from Ogilvy; Willie Norkin, VP in the consumer practice, joined from long-established boutique agency Susan Magrino; health and beauty specialist Brian McIver was previously with MSL; VP of human resources Eileen Formanes has experience with BursonMarsteller. The early indications are that the firm’s maturation is paying off: it celebrated its 10th anniversary with growth of around 15 percent, with fee income closing in on $15 million and more than 100 employees serving 120 clients— some of which are household names. There’s now a balanced portfolio of business, split between health and beauty (Duane Reade, natural skin care brand Suki, alcohol and drug recovery center Morningside, GoHealth, diet company Medifast, Sassy baby products); consumer, with particular strength in fashion and entertainment, as well as home appliances brands such as Krups, Rowenta and T-Fal; technology (Keep Holdings, online pawn shop Pawngo, people search engine PeekYou); and corporate (EZ Technologies, Chasin 3D, Bright Future International, and e-cigarette manufacturer Logic). The firm is demonstrating the ability to go beyond product publicity, with its work for the Westminster Kennel Club encompassing traditional and social media, as well as crisis preparedness and reputation work. And Kara Goldin, CEO of Hint Water, a client for five years, hails the firm’s ability to deliver “consistent, top-tier results for HINT Water time and time again. They constantly bring creative, out-of-the-box ideas to the table and execute tactful initiatives with seamless precision.” 5W has also reduced turnover and addressed some of the legacy HR issues, enhancing health and wellness benefits and formalizing its 5W University professional development program.—PH FOODMINDS Food industry marketing and public affairs CHICAGO AS food producers and marketers have been forced to deal with an increasingly wide range of issues—from environmental impact to nutritional value to food safety—food public relations has evolved from providing the media with recipe ideas to helping opinion leaders and other stakeholders understand science and public policy. As a result, many large agencies have created increasingly sophisticated food PR specialty groups. But there has been nothing like the explosion of dedicated agencies that serve, for example, the pharmaceutical industry—at least until FoodMinds launched seven years ago and quickly established itself as the leader in this space. Under the leadership of Susan Pitman, www.holmesreport.com 91
  • 90. Agency Report Card 2013 North America Laura Cubillos and Bill Layden, three longtime collaborators who previously worked together at Edelman, FoodMinds has brought together a team of 40, including experts in food, nutrition, health and wellness— supplemented by a network of external specialists. Those individuals focus on helping their clients tell a better story, not just tell their stories better—an approach that begins with the firm’s “Food Compass” methodology, designed to discover breakthrough ideas, provide new directions, and chart a new course for the client’s business. It’s an approach that has established FoodMinds as a food and nutrition thought leader, and earned it a seat at the management table with some of the largest commodity organizations, food manufacturers and trade associations in the nation. Growth last year was better than 20 percent—enough to earn it our Boutique Agency of the Year award—and the firm is on track to hit $6 million in fees this year. Clients include the Almond Board of California, the American Heart Association, the American Meat Institute, the Council for Responsible Nutrition, Dairy Management Inc., the Grocery Manufacturers Association, Hass Avocado Board, Kellogg, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the US Dairy Export Council, and Welch Foods, while new business came from Nestlé USA, the Can Manufacturers Institute and The Winning Combination. For the Hass Avocado Board, FoodMinds led the strategic development of a nutrition marketing and research program to unify multiple country of origin campaigns under an umbrella program called “Love One Today.” For Cardioviva, a probiotic with clinical data showing it helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels, the firm worked with the researchers to optimize a science presentation at the American Heart Association annual meeting. And for Nestlé, it created a public nutrition education program called “Balance Your Plate” to help reintroduce the value of frozen meals. ”FoodMinds’ knowledge, expertise and connections have been instrumental in developing the foundation and setting the strategic direction of our nutrition research program,” says Jose Luis Obregon, managing director of the Hass Avocado Board. Adds Ann Marie Krautheim, senior vice president, nutrition affairs, for the National Dairy Council: “FoodMinds is instrumental in forging strategic partnerships with leaders in the food and nutrition community. They understand our business and have the ability to interpret and apply nutrition science for meaningful impact. And they’re great to work with.” 92 www.holmesreport.com FoodMinds works with an international network of more than 80 consultants covering 25 countries on four continents and conducted projects for clients in Europe, South America and Asia in the last year.—PH FORMULA PR Multispecialist with strong Hispanic marketing capabilities SAN DIEGO H LOS ANGELES H NEW YORK WITH Silicon Valley serving as the center of the technology public relations business, a thriving consumer and entertainment PR sector in Los Angeles, the nation’s second largest public affairs market in Sacramento, and a wide range of successful firms in San Francisco, it would be easy for even a dedicated follower of California’s public relations industry to miss what’s going on in San Diego, where local boutique Formula PR has established itself over the past few years as a serious player on the regional and national stages. Formula was founded in 1992, but it is only over the past few years that a combination of award-winning work and impressive growth has forced those outside of its local market to sit up and pay attention. The firm attributes that success to its storytelling approach, which helps companies craft compelling brand narratives, creating a vehicle for clients to connect with consumer and other stakeholders in a way that truly resonates. A full-service firm, Formula offers media relations, blogger outreach, social media, influencer programs, marketing promotions, and brand activation (via a specialist unit, Formula Street), to a variety of clients in the technology, sports, entertainment and travel sectors. The firm also offers Hispanic PR services through sister agency Formulatin and has established three specialist panels that supplement its expertise in reaching specific audiences: Mommies Who Care (a 250-person panel of moms); The Collective (9,000-person database of millennials); and Nueva Latinas (a 1,500-person database of Hispanic women). The firm is led by president Michael Olguin, who launched the firm after working with LAbased Cooper Communications, and senior vice presidents Ditas Mauricio (who leads the consumer products and travel business) and Emily Porter (business and technology). The firm promoted three to assistant vice president last year, including Katie Lippman in the New York lifestyle division, Tara Reid in the San Diego consumer division, and Taryn Unruh, who moved from San Diego to their LA sports and entertainment group. New to the team is Jacqueline Long, hired as VP to lead the lifestyle division. US revenue increasing from $11.5 to more than $12.5 in 2012, driven by gains in the Hispanic division (35 percent), business technology (27 percent), and consumer technology (26 percent). New business came from Batteries Plus, ChristianMingle, imec, House Spirits Distillery, MobiTV, Nestlé, Popcorn Indiana, Pottery Barn, Schlage, Nexia Home Intelligence, TurboTax, Zoës Kitchen, Rainbow Light, Liquid Nutrition, Sport Chalet, DenMat, Suneva Medical, and neuro drinks, joining a roster that includes the likes of Kellogg’s, Phillips 66, Cymer, Shure, Ormco, Heineken USA, Schlage, KLA- Tencor, MobiTV, and Qualcomm. “Formula has been a great partner to ConocoPhillips for over a decade,” says Marshall Cohen, director of brand management. “I love their responsiveness and enthusiasm for our business. They are also extremely proactive in driving media relations results, and have been integral to our marketer communications programs’ success. But what impresses me the most is how they have always been creative and strategic in helping us address our changing business needs. Formula continues to grow and evolve with us, and it’s a critical factor in why we view them as a true partner to our Lubricants team.” A major 2012 initiative began with employee brainstorms around workplace issues, which led to a number of cultural improvements, from an enhanced onboarding process to a new workflow system designed to emphasize client service to an upgraded vacation policy. The firm also expanded its existing professional development program—Formula University— with course topics ranging from building media relationships to creative brainstorming and social media trends.—PH JOELE FRANK WILKINSON BRIMMER KATCHER Corporate and financial communications, mergers and acquisitions NEW YORK THE mergers and acquisitions business that was once the mainstay of business for firms like Joele Frank’s may not yet have returned to its former glory, but the past 12 months have seen a rise in shareholder activism (JFWBK is the go-to firm for companies defending against activist investors); plenty of bankruptcy and restructuring work; a steady flow of crisis work, ranging from management changes to litigation
  • 91. Specialists, boutiques, small & mid-size firms support; and ongoing investor relations and public relations work that currently accounts for about 40 percent of the firm’s revenues. So while Joele Frank Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher remains one of the top M&A firms in the US (it was number four on the mergermarket ranking of advisors by both value and volume in 2012, working on 90 deals worth more than $110 billion), its business has diversified considerably, while remaining focused on the kind of high-value, high-stakes communication assignments that keep CEOs and other C-suite executives awake nights. The formula remains largely unchanged, however. Joele Frank and her partners offer senior level counsel and experience in a wide variety of critical issues; a results-oriented approach that includes multiple stakeholders, from investors and sell-side analysts to regulators, employees, and customers; and strong relationships with the media, and other key influencers, from bankers to lawyers to proxy solicitors. Highlights included the firm’s work for US Airways (a longtime client) as it sought to create a climate that would persuade recentlybankrupt American Airlines to take merger talks seriously, an assignment that included labor FINAL_AD.indd 1 union outreach and third-party advocacy, as well as financial communications. JFWBK also worked for Citizens Republic Bancorp on its friendly merger with FirstMerit and Human Genome Sciences following a hostile bid by GlaxoSmithKline. Beyond the M&A arena, the firm helped Procter & Gamble deal with activist investor Pershing Square; AOL handle activism from Starboard; the Government Development Bank for Puerto Rico deal with a financial crisis; Edison Mission Energy navigate its Chapter 11 bankruptcy; and Barneys New York with an out-of-court restructuring. Ongoing clients, meanwhile, include Chiquita, Danone, Delphi Automotive, EDF, Energizer, FedEx, Green Mountain Coffee, Herbalife, JM Smucker, Juniper Networks, Merck, Monster Worldwide, Pitney Bowes, Progress Software, Sealed Air, Targey, Weyerhaeuser, and more. One key to the firm’s success is a strong, stable leadership team of 13 partners, unchanged over the past 12 months, leading a team of more than 70 employees—although mid-2013 saw the elevation of a new generation of leadership. Partner Matthew Sherman was named president, responsible for the firm’s marketing efforts, day-to-day management and strategic direction, while Andrew Brimmer and Daniel Katcher, two of the firm’s founding partners, have been appointed vice chairmen. Joele Frank, the firm’s founder and managing partner, will continue in an unchanged role. While many of the firm’s competitors have sold to global holding companies, Joele Frank Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher remains independent, handling international assignments through longstanding relationships with other firms in major markets around the world.—PH FRENCH/WEST/ VAUGHAN Multispecialist best known for its brand-building work and its sports marketing capabilities RALEIGH NC H LOS ANGELES H NEW YORK H TAMPA IT’S one thing to build a North Carolina-based public relations firm into one of the nation’s leading consumer PR independents; it’s another to turn it into the premier firm in a particular niche; and it’s quite another to turn 9/20/13 9:02 AM www.holmesreport.com 93
  • 92. Agency Report Card 2013 North America it into a marketing services powerhouse with capabilities extending beyond PR into advertising and digital. So how impressive is it that with French/West/Vaughan, Rick French has been able to do all three? Over the past decade, French has taken the firm he founded and established it as one of the nation’s top 20 independents, competing with the best of the big New York agencies to win its share of bluechip business, generating award-winning creative programming that cuts through the communications clutter to deliver real marketing results. Public relations fees in 2012 were up by close to 30 percent to around $17 million, and that number does not include digital, advertising and other creative services revenues, which have continued to grow. Total agency revenues are now significantly more than $20 million. It is that expansion beyond traditional public relations that most clearly differentiates FWV from its midsize competitors. French’s firm was one of the first PR agencies to jump into the integrated marketing space with its 2001 acquisition of advertising boutique West & Vaughan, and it took another decisive step in 2008, making a deal with national creative hot-shop Distill, which it combined with its own advertising division to form FWV Distilled, a full-service ad agency. That digital business, encompassing website development, search engine optimization, mobile app development and social media marketing, is now the fastest growing part of the overall business. The firm continues to work with VF Jeanswear (Wrangler, Riders), a client since the agency’s inception in 1997; Swiss energy giant ABB; Italian coffee and filter maker Melitta; the International Gemological Institute; Hood River Distillery and its portfolio of spirits brands; the Royal Bank of Canada; and iconic boot manufacturer Justin. Major new clients include Wilmington NC’s beach communities; global performance swimwear brand Arena; Australian athletic wear brand SKINS; New-York based Hudson Realty Capital; industrial engineering giant Kimley-Horn; and Eurosport/Soccer.com, the world’s leading online soccer retailer. The firm worked with client Skins to create and promote a global advocacy organization, Change Cycling Now, to put pressure on the International Cycling Union to toughen drug testing standards in the spirit of fair play for all cyclists. Skins CEO Jaimie Fuller conducted 94 www.holmesreport.com a far reaching global media tour to press the group’s agenda, which was adopted by the ICU under intense public pressure roughly six weeks later. (FWV’s campaign was so successful that FWV Chairman & CEO Rick French was invited by Piers Morgan to appear live on “Piers Morgan Tonight” to discuss Lance Armstrong’s reputation management challenges.) The firm’s work with ABB also drew plaudits. “Last year was a record-setting year for our media relations in the United States,” says Barry Dillon, director, media and community relations at ABB. “Seven stories in the New York Times, three in the Wall Street Journal, our first in USA Today and live reports on Fox Business Channel—many firsts for ABB—are just the surface of what was a very busy and successful year at the national and local level. Equally significant was the effectiveness of efforts to tamp down any negative coverage that is inherent to the energy sector.” On the personnel front, Lesley Gross (formerly of iContact) joined as another VP of the fast-growing digital services unit, and Melissa Rivera (formerly a partner at The Republik) joined as VP and group account director in the PR practice. Charlotte Rollins (formerly of Turner Media in Atlanta) joined as a digital media planning specialist. FWV is a member of IPREX and work with other network members to serve clients across multiple continents.—PH GCI HEALTH Healthcare public relations NEW YORK H ATLANTA H BOSTON H LOS ANGELES H SAN FRANCISCO H TORONTO GIVEN the heritage of the GCI name, the credentials of its senior leadership team, and the impact the firm has made in the marketplace—it was our Healthcare Agency of the Year in 2011 and serious contender again in 2012—it is easy to forget that GCI Health is just five years old. But with close to 90 people, and a client roster that includes some of the biggest names in the pharmaceutical sector (and beyond) it is clear that the firm has already established itself as one of top two or three healthcare specialists in the US. The firm has succeeded in convincing clients that it has the capabilities to help them deal with the “perfect storm” of forces facing the healthcare industry—economic crisis, industry consolidation, generic competition, diminished pipelines and new legislation—by offering a team of experts with strong strategic thinking, scientific acumen, industry and influencer relationships, and a 360° approach to patient communications. The past 12 months have seen the firm expand its influence beyond the pharma and biotech categories to include clients in consumer health, health IT, beauty and aesthetics, and provider communications—all of which have helped GCI maintain its impressive momentum even as some clients face budgetary pressures. At the center is a philosophy that “puts patients first.” A passion for the patient has at least a couple of clear benefits: it motivates employees (imbuing the work with a meaning that’s not always quite so clear when PR people are promoting consumer or business products) and it focuses the mind on solutions that engage the intended audience and motivate real behavior changes. It also resonates with clients who are dealing with a radical shift in the patient-provider relationship. GCI’s ability to connect with individual patients, advocacy groups and other stakeholders in a way that is empathetic and respectful is a critical advantage in an age that demands a transparency and authenticity that have not always been hallmarks of healthcare PR. The outcome is that the agency has doubled in size in three years, and that growth continued in 2012 with more than 40 new accounts and new portfolios from existing clients—and new or expanded service offerings like issues management, employee engagement, and consumer outreach— driving a 15 percent increase in fees. Growth from existing clients included new assignments from Biogen Idec, BoehringerIngelheim, Johnson & Johnson, Merck and Novartis, and there was new business from Alcon, AVEO, Astellas, Crescendo, The Doctors Company, Novartis Pharmaceuticals (for corporate work), Taiho, and Lundbeck. Interesting assignments ranged from support for The Doctor’s Company, the largest physician insurance company in the US, positioning the group as a thought-leader in healthcare delivery and risk, to working on the initial public offering of Greenway Medical Technologies—as well as a number of confidential assignments. The leadership team includes former MS&L healthcare practice leader Wendy Lund, who serves as chief executive; president Jill Dosik, a 16-year GCI veteran and regulatory expert; New York market leader Kristin Cahill; executive VP Valerie Lind; and Chicago market leader Aimee Huss, with
  • 93. Specialists, boutiques, small & mid-size firms new additions in 2012 including senior VP Mary Kate Watkins from Chandler Chicco to support the firm’s push into the beauty and aesthetics area, and VP April Seroda from MSL to manage the Biogen MS franchise. In addition, west coast market leader Jim Wetmore was promoted to executive VP and Kim Sammons was named Atlanta market leader. In addition to its US operations, GCI Health has an office in Toronto and European operations in the UK and Germany. Its parent company, WPP, has an extensive global network and the firm also has its own partners in key markets, working particularly closely with sister agencies Cohn & Wolfe, Glover Park (for public policy issues), and Sudler & Hennesy.—PH GABLE PR Multispecialist SAN DIEGO GABLE PR founder Tom Gable literally wrote the book on client service in public relations—his PR Client Service Manual, now in its fourth edition, is sold through the Public Relations Society of America—and so it’s no surprise that when you ask Gable employees and clients what sets the firm apart, they focus on service: senior-level involvement, multiple touch points, open lines of communication, the ability to think and act like an extension of the in-house marketing or PR department. Another Gable tome, The Guru Program, guides much of the firm’s strategic and creative thinking, focused on elevating clients to thought leadership positions via a range of tactics including media relations, trade relations, government relations, speaking engagements, and social media. It’s an approach designed to address what the firm calls “polyglot communications,” which involves speaking to a multitude of audiences in a multitude of voices, and Gable has applied its solution to a diverse set of clients, delivering consistent strategic communications to companies in sectors from hospitality to geothermal energy to technology to food and beverage. Gable also has a strong crisis communications capability, unusual for a firm of its size. With a team led by 33-year veteran Gable and newly-added director of public relations Emily Forgeron (formerly of Porter Novelli and Qualcomm), the firm enjoyed growth of close to 40 percent last year. Major clients include AT&T San Diego and Hawaii; Bridgepoint Education; academic public relations for Ashford University and University of the Rockies; Energy Source Geothermal; Guild Mortgage; Kimpton Hotels (Hotel Palomar, Hotel La Jolla); Cofiroute USA Toll Road Systems and Management; and Transportation Corridor Agencies, a toll road operator. New business came from Renovation Realty and Binteo Internet Communities. The integrated approach has helped one client, a mortgage company with offices in 16 states, build image and reputation as a friendly, trustworthy source for first-time homebuyers versus larger competitors. Gable also worked on the launch of Hudson Ranch I for Energy Source Geothermal, a new $400 million geothermal plant in California and the first new stand-alone geothermal plant constructed in the area in more than 20 years, and the re-launch of a renovated Kimpton Hotel, Hotel La Jolla. And it conceived, produced and drove media coverage and community relations for AT&T and the It Can Wait campaign, educating teens about the risks of texting while driving. “Gable PR first started working under contract with the Transportation Corridor Agencies five years ago,” says Barbie Daly, manager of government and legislative affairs for the TCA. “Since that time and through their outreach our visibility in San Diego County has increased substantially… we have very important stakeholders just south of us and Gable PR has been successful in putting our project on their radar screens. Working with Tom and his staff has been a pleasure and most importantly has resulted in the kind of increased positive exposure we hired Gable PR to produce.” The firm is a member of IPREX and can draw on international network resources as needed.—PH GAGE Integrated marketing communications MINNEAPOLIS PRIOR to 2012, Twin Cities-based integrated marketing agency Gage had developed a genuinely channel-neutral suite of services— including formidable digital expertise—that was conspicuously lacking a public relations capability at a time when engagement and influence were providing PR with a more critical role in the communications mix. It solved that problem with the acquisition of LaBreche, a local PR firm with a background in consumer and healthcare communications and its own burgeoning digital offer. As part of Gage, the PR operation now has an uncommonly broad range of content creative services, including interactive, promotion, games management, media relations, social media, mobile and branding, and can draw on the resources of sister companies with expertise in advertising, promotion, relationship and digital marketing. The PR firm’s founder and chief executive Beth LaBreche is a newspaper and public relations veteran with expertise in crisis communications, professional and financial services, and has slotted seamlessly into the Gage management team in a new role leading the agency’s strategic development. She will work alongside Tom Belle, president and CEO of Gage, which he has grown from a start up to its current size with 150 professionals. Major clients include Coca-Cola, 3M, Microsoft, Best Buy, Thomson Reuters, and Capital Safety. Notable work included the American Express Foundation campaign for the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which was recognized by PR Week as the CSR program of the year. Following the LaBreche acquisition, Gage recently joined PROI Worldwide, a leading partnership of independent public relations firms with offices around the world.—PH GAGEN MACDONALD Strategic corporate and employee communications CHICAGO TO earn the much-vaunted “seat at the table,” in-house public relations professionals need to develop and execute strategic plans that deliver results, particularly in tough economic times when every dollar invested into corporate communications must be justified in terms of business outcomes. Gagen MacDonald is one of a handful of boutique communications consultancies around the country that can help them do that, a capability formalized in recent years through a series of one-day seminars designed to equip clients with the tools to reach beyond their reactive role and develop a planning process that focuses communications efforts on key business drivers. If that doesn’t sound like a traditional public relations agency function, it’s because Gagen www.holmesreport.com 95
  • 94. Agency Report Card 2013 North America MacDonald refuses to be bound by traditional definitions. Founded by former Navistar communications chief Maril MacDonald with a focus on employee engagement, the firm has built a small core team of counselors that includes numerous JDs, MBAs, PhDs, and individuals holding advanced degrees across a spectrum ranging from art theory to library sciences. As a result, the firm developed a line of products and services that focus on using communications to help organizations turn strategies into bottom-line results. Sharpening its focus on employee engagement, leadership development and culture change, the past couple of years have seen Gagen MacDonald roll out thought leadership initiatives designed to expand and elevate the firm’s unique capabilities: a new methodology designed to help organizations identify and leverage their unique, authentic “corporate purpose,” and the launch of Let Go & Lead, an online community dedicated to leadership. Most recently, the firm became the exclusive US partner of Route to Greatness, a unique solution for business transformation that engages all levels of the organization in corporate change. Gagen MacDonald’s leadership team includes Rose Gailey, who leads the “building capabilities” team; Peter Debreceney, a 35-year corporate communications veteran; and newly promoted chief operating officer Sherry Scott, who has been with the firm since its inception and now leads the communications practice. New additions include chief information officer Molly Rauzi, most recently managing director of the Denver office of Grant Thornton’s business advisory practice; Joan Goodwin, who will lead business development efforts; Steve Panowyk, who will provide strategic counsel and facilitation for the Route to Greatness solution; and Franziska Weber, formerly of Weber Shandwick in Germany, who will play a lead role on the ITT business. New clients include Hyatt, Exelon, Phillips 66, Mars, Dow Corning, Medtronic, Covidien, Hilton, Praxair, Belkin, and more, while the firm continues to support business transformation initiatives with current clients ITT, Pfizer, GE, Johnson & Johnson, Novo Nordisk, MillerCoors, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Allstate, Grant Thornton and Deloitte. Notable work ranges from supporting a major technology modernization at Exelon, helping the energy company increase employee adoption of the new technologies and change the way people work, to providing employee engagement 96 www.holmesreport.com and leadership counsel to Hyatt Hotels after a restructuring and renewed focus on “guest preference.” And for technology company Belkin, Gagen MacDonald worked on communications around the acquisition of Linksys. “Gagen MacDonald did an outstanding job engaging our employees in our technology transformation and I wholeheartedly recommend them to all colleagues as the full package—a team full of cutting-edge talent and creativity with a passion for engaging people through change,” says Sonny Garg, chief innovation and information officer at Exelon. Adds Christopher Keough of Belkin corporate communications, “Among the positive experiences working with Gagen MacDonald was how quickly the team learned our business. We were on a wildly unreasonable schedule to announce the acquisition of a competitor business, and it was imperative that the Gagen team get up to speed right now. The team was more than up to that task, asking the right questions, talking to the appropriate leadership and, most importantly, listening.” Gagen MacDonald’s leads global change and training programs for many of its clients. It has formed a strategic alliance with APCO Worldwide, which provides it with access to many critical overseas markets.—PH GIBBS & SOELL Multi-specialist best known for businessto-business and technology work NEW YORK H CHICAGO H RALEIGH NC H INTERNATIONAL OPERATIONS FOR most of its 40-year history, Gibbs & Soell has been a steady performer, content with consistent single-digit growth and a reputation for rolling up its sleeves and delivering solid media results for its clients. But 2012 was a break with tradition in more ways the one. First, the firm restructured: refocusing on a few key industries in which it has genuine depth, including advanced manufacturing, agribusiness and food, home and building, and professional services. Second, it formalized a suite of creative services, ranging from digital and social tools to events, that went far beyond media relations. And third, it launched new business consulting, employee engagement and sustainability groups providing high-end, value-added strategic counsel as part of its new “business communications” approach. The payoff was impressive: 34 percent growth, taking the firm to within a whisker of $20 million in fees; new business in every key sector, including Hafele, Trudeau, Xuber, Lord Corporation, Gevo, Intertek, Harris Interactive, Rexel, Panasonic Power Tools, and Florida East Coast Railway; ongoing work for The Dow Chemical Company, Syngenta, Ply Gem Industries, Million Dollar Round Table, Schindler Elevator Corporation, and Head USA; thought leadership including its Sense & Sustainability study and conference; and creative recognition, including Silver SABRE Awards for its media relations work for Harris Interactive and its creation of a new brand identity for Syngenta. The Syngenta campaign provides a good example of the way the restructuring is filtering through to the firm’s client work. The agribusiness giant partnered with Gibbs & Soell to manage a nine-month rebranding process. The agency identified a way for Syngenta to differentiate itself by clearly linking the breadth of its offering, the agronomic expertise of employees, and the power of collaborating with farmers to develop holistic solutions. It then developed strategy guides and executive workshops to secure leadership buy-in and established a consistent global standard for communicating about Syngenta’s integrated solutions. Subsequent research has shown that more than 80 percent of growers worldwide view the approach as positively differentiating Syngenta from its competition. The repositioning was the brainchild of Gibbs & Soell’s new management team, which saw expanded roles for Like Lambert, who took over as president and CEO last year, and Jeff Altheide, who was elevated to executive vice president with a focus on business development and growth strategies. There were new roles for Ann Camden (principal and managing director, employee engagement); Steve Halsey (principal and managing director, business consulting); Ron Loch (principal and managing director, sustainability consulting); and Greg Sherry (managing director, consumer marketing). And there were a couple of key additions: Alan Hicks joined as creative director and Mike Samec was hired as director of digital strategy. G&S oversees several international programs for top-tier clients, drawing on its own office in Zurich, a new a joint venture with Swiss firm int/ext Communications and resources in nearly 40 countries through its membership in the Public Relations Organisation International.—PH
  • 95. Specialists, boutiques, small & mid-size firms GLOBAL RESULTS COMMUNICATIONS Technology and mobile sector specialist IRVINE CA FROM its southern California headquarters, Global Results Communications really does deliver what it promises, working for clients based in Latin America and EMEA and delivering the kind of programming that reaches international and US media. Initially focused on the technology sector and the mobile industry, the firm has since expanded its focus to include a wide range of industries impacted by technology, from healthcare to financial services, in the same way that its core media relations offer has broadened to include digital and social channels. And while its scope has broadened, the firm remains committed to a vision of public relations rooted in its heritage, insisting that PR should be global, mobile, social and visual. The firm is led by Valerie Christopherson, who brings more than 18 years of experience, having previously worked with Qualcomm and Porter Novelli before launching her own firm. The past 12 months saw very healthy 28 percent growth, with a client list that includes names like WD (Western Digital), Nuance, Ericsson, DTS/SRS Labs, Mobile Marketing Association, and Aclipsa. “GRC is the most connected PR firm I’ve worked with and they continue to impress me with their strategic approach, serviceoriented mindset and global understanding of the market and our business,” says Mike Wehrs, CEO of ScanBuy. “With GRC you forget they are a firm but rather they become a part of your team. We’ve seen a significant increase in exposure and sales since bringing on GRC.” The firm has had a global focus since its launch, with sister agencies in key markets around the world.—PH client list. Similarly, many top-tier media, policymakers and other influencers have been on the receiving end of the firm’s well-crafted arguments and are presumably familiar with its capabilities. Nevertheless, GSG (even the name sounds like it was crafted for maximum anonymity) has managed to grow to around $25 million in revenue while remaining obstinately beyond many industry observers’ radar. That’s unlikely to last, however, after a year in which GSG grew by 62 percent, added impressive senior talent, and picked up new business from clients spanning the worlds of business, politics, and causes. New business came from Nestle Waters North America, Time Warner, Rockefeller Foundation, Major League Soccer, the League of Conservation Voters, OxFam America, the Democratic Governors Association, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, while GSG also expanded existing relationships with clients such as Pershing Square Capital Management, ESPN, A&E, American Express, ComCast, GE, Global Foundries, ConEdison, the NYC Department of Health, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. High-profile work ranges from the political realm where it serves as lead digital and research strategist for Priorities USA Action, the Super PAC that played a role in helping re-elect President Obama, and worked on campaigns for US Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (NY) and Joe Donnelly (IN), and Governors Dan Malloy (CT) and Steve Bullock (MT). The firm also worked with the Rockefeller Foundation to support local efforts to build Bus Rapid Transit systems in five cities across the US. And GSG is leading a multi-year integrated marketing campaign plus grassroots outreach, influencer engagement and media relations to help MLS bring a soccer team to NYC and build a stadium in Queens. The firm has also added high-profile talent, perhaps most notably former Ernst & Young corporate communications chief Charlie Perkins as managing director in New York, but also Tanya Meck from Northeast Utilities as managing director of the Hartford office; Jim Papa from the Obama White House as managing director of Washington strategy and operations; Bill Burton, from pro-Obama SuperPAC Priorities USA Action, as managing director in DC; and Marjorie McCarthy as vice president, marketing and external GLOBAL STRATEGY GROUP Public affairs and corporate reputation NEW YORK H HARTFORD CT H LOS ANGELES H WASHINGTON DC IS Global Strategy Group the best big New York-based public relations firm you’ve never heard of? Obviously not, if you’re among the not-exactly-obscure companies—Nestle, Time Warner, ESPN, American Express, ComCast, GE, ConEdison—on the firm’s www.holmesreport.com 97
  • 96. Agency Report Card 2013 North America relations. They will work alongside CEO Jon Silvan and president Jefrey Pollock, who founded the firm 19 years ago and continue to lead. First and foremost a public affairs firm, Global Strategy Group is at its best dealing with high-profile, high-stakes legislative issues, although it is also quite capable of managing broader corporate reputation issues. Its approach is data-driven—founded as a research firm, and growing up in the world of politics where accountability is a given, GSG believes in knowledge-based planning, message testing, and bottom-line evaluation—and integrated, which means that its expertise spans paid and earned, traditional and digital media and more. “Rebuilding the World Trade Center after September 11 is my life’s work,” says Larry Silverstein president and CEO, Silverstein Properties. “When you’re dealing with a complex challenge with multiple stakeholders, you need to come up with a plan and execute on many fronts. That’s why we hired Global Strategy Group. They’re responsive, strategic, and they get the job done.” Adds Stanley Litow, vice president of corporate citizenship and corporate affairs at IBM: “GSG was instrumental in generating awareness and driving engagement with our Smarter Cities Challenge program... They really helped us get noticed by the right people.”—PH GLOVER PARK GROUP Public affairs specialist WASHINGTON DC H BOULDER CO H LOS ANGELES H NEW YORK LAUNCHED in 2001 by veterans of the Clinton White House and the Gore campaign for the presidency, Glover Park Group flourished during the Bush administration despite its powerful Democratic credentials, demonstrating that sometimes smart strategy and cutting-edge creativity are more important than political alliances when it comes to helping companies achieve their public affairs goals in the nation’s capital and beyond. It has continued to thrive under the Obama administration, although the truth is that Glover Park has succeeded—the firm now has a team of more than 160, with its DC headquarters supplemented a presence in New York and Los Angeles—in part by being more than just another public affairs firm: its capabilities include advocacy and image advertising, crisis and issues management, legislative affairs, and (critically) research. In November of 2011, Glover Park was 98 www.holmesreport.com acquired by WPP Group, which has always understood the importance of a presence in the nation’s capital: previous policy-focused acquisitions, from Public Strategies to Penn Schoen & Berland, have not only thrived but have gone on to take leadership roles out of all proportion to their size, growing the scope of their services and expanding to become global businesses. It remains to be seen whether Glover Park will follow the same route, but the firm certainly has the depth of leadership to support any future expansion. The unusually stable senior team includes founding partners Carter Eskew, a veteran of BSMG Worldwide and more recently chief strategist for the Gore 2000 presidential campaign; chief executive Chip Smith, who was the deputy campaign manager and chief of staff for the Gore campaign; and Michael Feldman, another senior Gore advisor. Former Clinton White House press secretary Dee Dee Myers and former White House correspondent Jennifer Loven joined in 2010, and last year saw the return of founding partner Joe Lockhart, the former Clinton aide and spokesperson who spent three years leading global communications for Facebook. The firm consistently produces interesting thought leadership, including recent “public opinion landscape” analysis on healthcare reform, the economy, and the aftermath of the government shutdown. Even more compelling is the work for clients such as the Alliance for Climate Protection, the American Postal Workers Union, the Society for Human Resource Management, UnitedHealthcare, Verizon Wireless and Visa, most of it blending earned and paid media as part of broader issues-based campaigns.—PH GOODMAN MEDIA INTERNATIONAL Media relations boutique with media and entertainment expertise NEW YORK H LOS ANGELES WHEN Tom Goodman, a veteran of senior public relations positions at ABC, CBS and J. Walter Thompson, launched Goodman Media in 1996, he wanted to create an agency that was modeled after the television network PR departments where he learned his craft. That meant creating an atmosphere that emphasized newsworthiness over all else, and where working under the pressure of deadlines was half the fun. It turned out to be an ideal environment for Goodman’s media industry clients, and for others who appreciate the firm’s first-hand understanding of the kind of stories journalists crave. In recent years, Goodman Media has cemented its position as the leading mediafocused public relations boutique in the nation, with clients in the television, radio, newspaper and magazine publishing, book publishing industries as well as entertainment; electronics, retail, and other consumer companies; healthcare organizations; professional services firms in law and executive recruitment; business and trade groups; and not-for-profit organizations in the arts, education, and advocacy. In addition to its mainstream media relations capabilities, the firm also provides Hispanic media relations support for clients who value coverage in Spanish-language outlets and within the Hispanic community. The past 12 months have seen continued expansion of the media specialty to include more digital and social outlets, and of the professional services and healthcare practices. Among numerous new clients, the firm added Latinum Network, National NeighborWorks Association, Private WiFi Corp., Rauch Foundation, and Student Conservation Association. And Goodman continues to work with the Hospital for Special Surgery, Grand Central Terminal, PBS, The New York Times, About.com, Time Home Entertainment, Reader’s Digest, Scholastic Media, Bryan Cave, and the Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation. High-profile assignments including publicizing the 2013 centennial celebrations of Grand Central Terminal; promoting news organizations such as The New York Times and PBS; highlighting the coverage of the 2012 presidential election for the PBS NewsHour; helping the Stavros Niarchos Foundation announce construction of a $750 million cultural center in Athens, Greece; helping raise the public visibility of Intermountain Healthcare, which was ultimately cited by both President Obama and Mitt Romney as an example of high-quality lower-cost healthcare; and helping elevate public awareness of Common Good’s campaign for the creation of special health courts—again gaining the endorsement of both President Obama and Mitt Romney.— PH
  • 97. Specialists, boutiques, small & mid-size firms GRAHAM & ASSOCIATES GREEN ROOM Creative boutique with cause-related expertise Healthcare specialist SAN FRANCISCO CELEBRATING its 16th year last year, Graham & Associates has built on its roots in businessto-business and business-to-consumer technology to emerge as a significant player in the consumer lifestyle sector (with an emphasis on tourism); environmental and social issues; and health and wellness. The firm blends strong strategic skills in messaging and positioning, combining traditional media relations capabilities with growing digital and social media expertise. Across all of those sectors and practices, Lydia Graham’s firm differentiates itself on the basis of “original thinking”— harnessing authentic brand character, developing powerful messaging and tapping trends and conversations in the marketplace to deliver positive brand and PR outcomes—a claim that is backed up by 60 awards over the past 10 years. Revenues were up last year, with growth coming from the consumer and health and wellness categories. Clients include Cavallo Point, Jean-Michel Fiji Islands Resort, Evergreen Lodge, El Capitan Canyon, Post Ranch Inn, Kelly-Moore Paints, Front Porch Communities, Maritz Research (technology group), and Industrial Technology Research Institute, with new business last year from the World Sports Awards. “Graham & Associates is a creative, strategic and results-driven communications agency,” says Ryan Arakaki, director of marketing for Kelly-Moore Paint Company. “ Their understanding of the home building, remodeling and green media landscape is top-notch. Graham launched our environmental paint lines and publicized our new green business awards, which were a huge success.… They were able to garner several media opportunities for our color stylist and positioned her and Kelly-Moore as an authority on color trends in the industry for the first time.” On the international front, Graham works through Plexus, an exclusive international organization of agencies that it co-founded.— PH BOSTON IT seems abundantly clear that if one sat down to design a public relations firm ideally suited to the changing competitive landscape and expanded client needs of the early 21st century one would not choose to start with the silos, the practice areas, job descriptions and skill sets that defined even the most successful firms of the late 20th century. The founders of Green Room clearly didn’t. The firm they launched five years ago eschewed the traditional agency model, recruiting people with different skill sets and creating a more dynamic environment in which they could pull together the right teams to meet particular client needs. The resulting busines includes four operating units: Green Room Public Relations, which offers reputation management, content creation, advocacy relations and internal engagement services; Green Room Solutions, which provides support on issues that “keep clients up at night,” providing onsite support at the executive level, and assisting with department planning, budgeting, organization, recruitment and development; Q Communications, a multimedia firm that functions as a newsroom for clients; and Green Room Creative, a full-service design shop. It is perhaps particularly surprising that such a distinctive, progressive model would emerge in the life sciences sector—often regarded as more conservative in its approach to communications—but there’s no doubt where Green Room’s passion is. One partner founded a patient group for a rare disease, while other team members sit on boards like Women In Bio, chair and serve on committees (ExL Pharma, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) and volunteer for health-related causes. Principals Deborah Sittig and Karen Carolonza both started their careers as broadcast journalists. Carolonza was previously director of worldwide public relations at Becton Dickinson & Company and earlier worked at Pharmacia, DuPont Pharmaceuticals, and Exxon. Sittig began her PR career at DWJ Television, where she served as media director and also founded and led Original Media Concepts, a PR firm specializing in media strategies. Last year saw revenues increase by 24 percent. The firm works with multiple divisions of Sanofi Group, including the groups, its oncology portfolio, and its “Play for Health” chronic disease and wellness campaign. New business came from Cubist Pharmaceuticals, Halloran Consulting Group, Ikaria, Ortho Clinical Diagnostics (J&J), Zoetis (Pfizer Animal Health), and Synta Pharma. Interesting work included supporting a client after its product was called out as too expensive by a leading medical center, generating a debate in the media. Green Room worked to develop an integrated communications strategy that helped contain the issue. For Sanofi’s North America R&D operation, meanwhile, the firm worked create visibility and position the organization at the forefront medical innovation, while for Data Sphere, an initiative of the CEO Roundtable on Cancer, Green Room played an active role in efforts to revolutionize cancer research to benefit patients worldwide.—PH GRISKO Public affairs and marketing communications CHICAGO GRISKO, formerly known as Carolyn Grisko & Associates, has undergone a significant repositioning as well as a rebranding. The firm, once best known for its integrated public affairs and public relations approach, has expanded to include a suite of marketing capabilities, including branding, digital and creative services, seeing revenues double in the process. The firm’s work with Cubic Transportation Systems for the Chicago Transit Authority, for example, now includes branding, marketing, advertising, crisis planning and community outreach associated with Ventra, the CTA’s new fare payment system, and the first “open” fare payment system in North America (allowing passengers to access the region’s transportation system with a new Ventra card or their own contactless bank cards). Founder Carolyn Grisko, who launched her own public relations and public affairs firm in 1995 after a 12-year career in broadcast journalism and five years working for former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley (including time as deputy press secretary and campaign manager), continues to lead the agency, but she has been joined by several key executives: creative director Jeff Steinhouse, from Rhea & Kaiser; John Doerrer, aother former Daley aide, as director of labor and government relations; Greg Martinsenas, president of Power Development Partners, as director of energy and environment; and Laurie Stone as senior strategist, education and regional issues. The firm will post revenues of $6 million this www.holmesreport.com 99
  • 98. Agency Report Card 2013 North America year, with major clients including Commonwealth Edison, Rush University Medical Center, and Shoreline Boat Tours, and additional new business coming from Field Museum, GSG/Rockefeller Foundation/ Bus Rapid Transit, AECOM/Central Loop Bus Rapid Transit, the Metropolitan Planning Council, and Leadership Greater Chicago. For Commonwealth Edison,Grisko provided public affairs strategy and implementation for the successful override of Governor Patrick Quinn’s veto of Illinois’ Smart Grid Bill in the last session of the Illinois General Assembly.—PH THE GROSSMAN GROUP Employee communications CHICAGO WHETHER because employee communications programs are more often run out of human resources departments than corporate communications, or because the majority of public relations firms have failed to address the strategic internal needs of their clients, employee communications remains a great source of untapped business opportunity for the bulk of the PR industry. But not for The Grossman Group (formerly dg&a), which specializes in helping corporate clients communicate with their internal audiences, with a focus management consulting and coaching, change management, employee communication, strategic messaging and communication research and measurement and a commitment to client service it calls “the thoughtpartner philosophy.” Over the years, Grossman has developed a suite of proprietary tools and methodologies designed to help clients address three critical challenges: minimizing the downside of change; turning employee apathy into engagement; and maximizing the upside of change to accelerate business results. Recent years have seen the introduction of several new products including an expanded suite of “ultimate leader” tools, designed to enhance two-way communication inside organizations and create common understanding of business strategy across employees at all levels; the launch of a free CEO Resource Center to help chief executives use communication to lead change and drive performance; publication of David Grossman’s book, You Can’t Not Communicate 2, and e-books The Top 5 Reasons (Excuses) We’re So Bad at Communicating, The Greatest Mistakes (You Don’t Want to Make), The Mistakes CEOs Can’t Help But Make, The 100 www.holmesreport.com Definitive Guide to Taming the Em@il Monster, and Fact Sheet: Your Business Case for Internal Communications. Last year saw the addition of three new e-learning modules on communication, along with new tools for creating a leadership cadence, intake on a new project, planning, and storytelling. The firm also broadened its design capabilities to include website and intranet image design, corporate annual reports and strategy toolkits designed for use on iPads and tablets. With revenues up by about 10 percent, New clients include Adventist Midwest Health, Arizona Public Service, Erickson Living, Health Care Service Corporation, Hexcel, IDEXX Laboratories, KimberlyClark, LaMarsh Global, Land O’Lakes, Qualcomm, Raytheon, Tyco, and Webster University, while the firm expanded assignments with the likes of DuPont Pioneer, Geisinger Health System, Johnson Controls, Johnson & Johnson Diabetes Solutions, Nationwide, and MedStar Health. Highlights included helping CEOs align their leadership teams and drive their longterm strategy at companies including DuPont Pioneer, Tyco and Illinois Tool Works; working with companies such as DuPont Pioneer, Illinois Tool Works, Kimberly-Clark and Tyco to further define their strategy and communicate it to drive business results; and helping animal health company IDEXX eliminate “e-mail overload” as a barrier to employee communications. “The Grossman Group is a talented team of leadership and communication professionals, and I can recommend them for any engagement without hesitation,” says Jennie McConagha, chief of staff and vice president, MedStar Health. Adds Rick Phillips, VP and chief communication officer, Nationwide: “ David Grossman… is able to reach his audience in ways that are meaningful, visual, and have enormous impact. His combination of strong message and clear visuals provide audience members with an atmosphere that is both meaningful and entertaining.”—PH GROUNDFLOOR MEDIA Corporate communications with strong crisis credentials BOULDER LAURA Love took a business she started in her basement in Boulder, Colo., and built it into one of the Rocky Mountain region’s best and brightest PR agencies, attracting blue-chip clients such as Coors Light, Starbucks Coffee Company, and the Special Olympics. She did that by following a straightforward formula that is easier to articulate than to execute. It all begins with creating an agency culture that attracts, develops and retains the best available talent. GroundFloor Media offers an unusual degree of flexibility and a genuine commitment to work-life balance, generous benefits, and an emphasis on serving its local community—through a Get Giving initiative that includes both volunteerism and charitable donations. All of that has helped GF to top our Best Boutique Agency to Work For ranking, and more importantly has paid off in terms of building a strong, stable team—with an average of 16 years industry experience—with an impressive client service ethos. Love stepped down from her role as president at the end of February and now serves as founder and chief cultural officer. Ramonna Robinson, formerly vice president and managing partner, has taken the helm— although the philosophy remains the same. The firm is probably best known for its work in strategic communications, a broad practice that includes media and influencer relations programs, internal communications and stakeholder relations programs, and message and media training for client executives. GFM also has particular expertise in crisis and issues management, supplemented by the launch in November of 2011 of a new Online War Room that enables clients to simulate or manage crises in real-time. Digital and social media capabilities are equally impressive, including a Digital Snapshot assessment service that helps inform digital strategy, and last year saw the launch of additional products, including Platform POV, a social mapping exercise geared toward online brand managers. Fees reached $3.4 million after modest growth in 2012, with major clients including BNSF Railway, Children’s Hospital Colorado, Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt and Qdoba Mexican Grill, and new business coming from 34 Degrees, Level 3 Communications, the National Conference of State Legislatures, New Direction IRA, Oskar Blues breweries & restaurants, RMC Health, SlimGenics, Sun King Brewery and Syntrinsic. The firm’s work included a comprehensive website redesign for the National Conference of State Legislatures, a multi-faceted media relations campaign for Oskar Blues, as well as a number of confidential crisis assignments. “USA Swimming is thrilled to have found such a dedicated and effective partner in GroundFloor Media,” says Jamie Fabos Olsen, director of marketing and brand
  • 99. Specialists, boutiques, small & mid-size firms development. “The team has become an extension of our staff, and as such, we trust them to work effectively and independently, something that is invaluable to a nonprofit with limited personnel. GFM has handled the USA Swimming Foundation’s national child-focused water safety initiative, Make a Splash, earning incredible exposure for the message, brand and corporate sponsor in national and local media.” GFM has international reach through its membership in Public Relations Global Network, with 44 independent PR firm members and 900 professionals in 50 offices.—PH GROUP GORDON Multi-specialist with corporate, financial and public affairs expertise NEW YORK MICHAEL Gordon founded Group Gordon six years ago after a diverse career spanning politics, communications and law, serving in the Clinton Administration as spokesperson for Attorney General Janet Reno and as a special assistant on education policy. The diversity of his background is reflected in the difficult-to-pigeonhole nature of the firm’s work. Group Gordon works across the corporate and financial, public affairs and crisis communications categories—and increasingly, as a result of client referrals, in the consumer space too—but is differentiated more by its approach than by its practice areas. Every client engagement begins with comprehensive due diligence, including interviews with principals and stakeholders, review of business plans and other key documents, media audits, industry analyses and messaging. That strategic preparation informs all subsequent work, keeping efforts in sync and on message. With a client service ethos that balances strategy and execution and focuses relentlessly on business results, and a commitment to doing well by doing good, the firm is able to establish clients in a wide range of industries as innovators and market leaders. Gordon’s leadership team comes from a similarly diverse and non-traditional background. Principal and chief operating officer Jeremy Robinson-Leon has a background that spans corporate and public policy roles—he came to GG from Enterprise, a leading financier of affordable housing and a longtime client—and expertise in traditional and social media, as well as crisis communications. Alexis Stoller, former consultant to the Democratic Attorneys General Association and the Democratic Leadership Council, brings public affairs expertise, while Katharine Walker, formerly marketing director for a green tech company, and now head of social media for the firm. New in 2012 was David Nagourney, who brings more than 20 years of experience at top companies including Morgan Stanley, McGraw-Hill, and Time Warner, where he served as president of Money.com. The firm is building an enviable reputation as one of the best boutiques to work for in the New York market, which was helpful last year as the team expanded to 17, thanks to a strong of new business successes: the International Federation of Accountants, personal finance platform NestWise, the Visiting Nurse Service of New York, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, and Community Development Trust, all of which contributed to double-digit growth, During Oscar season, Group Gordon worked with Ford Foundation grantees focused on labor issues to tie their work to labor themes being presented in some of the year’s Oscar-nominated films. In the wake of Corporate and Financial Public Relations Public Affairs Investor Relations Crisis and Litigation Support Transaction Communications Sloane & Company is an an industry-leading strategic communications firm specializing in corporate and financial public relations, investor relations, transaction support, crisis and litigation support and public affairs for international, domestic, public and private organizations. Recently named Crisis Agency of the Year, we partner with companies whose vision, intensity and commitment to excellence matches ours. Sloane & Company 7 Times Square New York, NY 10036 P: (212) 486-9500 www.sloanepr.com www.holmesreport.com 101
  • 100. Agency Report Card 2013 North America Hurricane Sandy, meanwhile, the firm worked with Food Bank For New York City to make sure that the community was aware of available resources. The firm also worked with ROBLOX, a top website for kids ages 8-14, raising the company’s profile among tech and business audiences in order to generate funding, advertisements, partnerships, and credibility. “Group Gordon is a team of critical thinkers that go above and beyond to get the job done,” says Danielle McGunagle, director of communications and marketing, Food Bank For New York City. “They have enviable relationships and an all-encompassing knowledge of how the media really works, and they operate as a natural extension of our in-house team. My advice to anyone that has the privileged opportunity to work with this dream team: jump on it!” Adds David Baszucki, CEO of ROBLOX, “The Group Gordon team is smart, strategic, and tenacious. They looked at our business in new ways, and showed us the most effective path to elevate our media presence.”—PH LOU HAMMOND & ASSOCIATES Brand building boutique with travel focus NEW YORK H CHARLESTON SC THE vast majority of Lou Hammond & Associates’ clients come to the firm through media and client referrals. That’s what happens when, like founder Lou Rena Hammond, you spend more than 20 years immersed in the same industry, developing an iconic reputation and when 10 of the firm’s senior professionals have been with it for more than 10 years, four for more than 15. There’s a strong linear relation between employee retention and client retention, which means that 25 percent of LH&A’s clients have been with the company for five years or more, 10 percent for at least 10. There’s no doubt that Hammond and her team know their categories—notably travel and hospitality, but also high-end lifestyle products in the cuisine, design and retail, fashion and real estate sectors—and enjoy outstanding relationships with the media that cover those categories, including social media, which have become an increasing focus over the past couple of years. The firm has been integrating digital elements into its work for a while, but in 2012 it formalized its LHA Digital division. 102 www.holmesreport.com The firm maintains its own meticulously updated database of thousands of print and electronic journalists, supplemented with personal contacts with top reporters and other thought leaders, all of whom have learned to rely on LH&A for quality information, delivered with precision and panache. More recently it has developed its own proprietary system to identify bloggers who are credible and influential enough to become part of the media mix. LH&A is extremely selective when it comes to new business, preferring to judge its success based on the satisfaction of existing clients—like Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, for which the firm handles more than 40 properties, and Hunter Douglas Window Fashions, a client that celebrated its 25th year with LH&A in 2012—rather than the volume of new accounts. Other longtime clients include American Express Travel Services, Bermuda Department of Tourism, Sandals Resorts, Sofitel Luxury Hotels, the Tourism Authority of Thailand, and the Charleston Area CVB (which led to the establishment of a full-service office in the city last year). New business in 2012 came from Champagne Pommery, Big Ass Fans, New Hampshire, Best Chefs America, Laucala Island Resort , Uncommon Journeys, as well as project work for the states of Kentucky and West Virginia and Norwegian Cruise Line, helping to drive a 6 percent increase in fees to more than $6 million. A major highlight was the launch of the American Queen Steamboat Company, using only public relations with no advertising. On the digital front, meanwhile, the work included spearheading a comprehensive program for American Express, creating a blogger retreat for the Island of Bermuda, hosting a wine blogger conference for the State of Virginia, and establishing a culinary blogger program for Certified Angus Beef. The PR World Network, a global association of agencies that LH&A founded in 2010, now includes 19 firms serving 50 countries, and has been adopted by a number of key clients.—PH HATCH Tech PR SAN FRANCISCO LAUNCHED in January 2012 by OutCast alumni Reema Bahnasy and Amy Swanson, this next-generation Silicon Valley boutique has already driven three high-profile exits: Karma, acquired by Facebook; Snip.It by Yahoo; and Mailbox by Dropbox. Beyond this, the agency maintains a stellar portfolio of innovation players, especially considering this is only its second year of business. These clients include Dropbox, Highlight, Path, Quora and Beats by Dr. Dre. The 14-person shop takes the approach that influence still matters, defining this—not only by solid media relations—but also with experiential events and content creation. Part of the company’s appeal is the chemistry between founders Swanson and Bahnasy who have worked together for more than a decade on high-profile players like Amazon, Cisco, Dell, Facebook, Netflix, Nike and Salesforce, among others. While it has, so far, carved its niche as a media shop, Hatch’s full range of services include launches, crises, events, debuts, IPOs, acquisitions, hostile takeover, friendly mergers, exec changes stunts, user conferences, media trainings, product integrations, social media, awards and trend-jacking, among others. Their positioning also solidly maps PR back to moving the business, product and company forward. Hatch focuses primarily on the US market.— ASh HAVAS PR Multispecialist with consumer and business-to-business marketing expertise NEW YORK H CHICAGO H PITTSBURGH THE transformation of Euro RSCG’s public relations operation took another positive step last year, when the firm decided to ditch an unwieldy name in favour of the new Havas PR brand, a bid to give the agency a stronger global positioning. In North America, Havas continued its upward trajectory under the leadership of high-profile CEO Marian Salzman, who has brought a much needed dose of energy and savvy to an operation that could once have been described, charitably, as ailing. Salzman joined the firm in 2009 from Porter Novelli, and has since worked tirelessly to build a US public relations operation commensurate with the firm’s European corporate communications presence. Havas PR now punches well above its weight - testimony to the manner in which Salzman has been able to reinvigorate the firm. After spending a couple of years sharpening Havas’ thought leadership edge, Salzman used the repositioning to hone the firm’s processing and offering. Group agencies are now bound
  • 101. Specialists, boutiques, small & mid-size firms by a ‘red thread’ that attempts to help them share a way of working, common mindset and a strategic toolbox. Havas PR grew by around eight percent in 2012, boosted by a strong second half of the year, and has continued in similar fashion during 2013, taking it to almost $25m in fee income. Consumer, financial and corporate identity helped drive this improvement, illustrated best by the firm’s growing relationship with Coty. Since winning the business in early 2012, Havas has expanded the business considerably, and now works with the company across the UK, France and Germany. Other major account expansion came from Pernod Ricard and Transitions Optical, while key new business wins in the US included the UN Foundation’s climate change project; Five Point Snacks; Make Up for Ever; and Taste of France. Salzman’s background as a trend-spotter and futurist lends weight to Havas PR’s expertise in such areas as prosumer marketing, and cause marketing. A centrepiece of this approach is an annual trends report, which sighted more than 150 trends across 32 categories. That approach was furthered by two major initiatives: a digital publishing venture called 120M Books, and 12 Days of Havas, a charitable movement which sees Havas PR employees provide pro bono marketing services and hands on volunteering for a dozen organizations. In addition the Havas PR office in Pittsburgh spearheaded a winning bid to host global youth leadership summit One Young World, bringing together an A-List roster of world leaders and youth, for which the agency handled all media relations. “Havas PR has an impeccable record of stepping up to the plate and getting the job done. They graciously offered their pro bono services to help us craft and copy edit our year-end successes, then provided a highly informative social media consultation. We always value their roll-up-the-sleeves approach,” said Anne Marie Dougherty, executive director of the Bob Woodruff Foundation The new Havas PR brand reflects an attempt to build a more cohesive global network, without sacrificing the federated approach that is so appealing to strong local market players in other countries. The network includes leading financial communications firms such as Abernathy MacGregor in the US, Maitland in the UK and C&O in France, along with consumer PR powerhouses like the UK’s Cake and Australia’s Red Agency.—ASu HENNES PAYNTER COMMUNICATIONS Crisis communications specialist CLEVELAND THE advice that Hennes Paynter gives its crisis-stricken clients—“tell the truth, tell it first, tell it all”—sounds simple. But it requires a real commitment from the C-suite to implement effectively, and securing that commitment requires that the people giving the advice come to the table with the kind of credibility that comes from decades of crisis management experience and a singular focus on that very specialized area of public relations. That’s what the two principals of this Ohiobased boutique can deliver. Bruce Hennes, who founded the firm in 1989, has more than 30 years of experience in politics as a senior campaign consultant and fundraiser and also worked government and public relations in the automotive industry. He averages 60 speaking engagements on crisis topics each year. Barbara Paynter, who joined the firm from Edward Howard in 2006, specializes in crisis and environmental communications, issues management, media relations and media training. Vice president Nora Jacobs, another Edward Howard veteran, joined in 2010 and has experience handling accidents, environmental concerns, product failures, criminal matters and activist attacks to reorganizations, management transitions and downsizings. Leading a team of veteran reporters, producers and communicators, they help clients respond to crises, assess risks and develop crisis plans, test crisis preparedness using functional drills and table-top exercises. The firm also conducts customized media training sessions, provides litigation communications support, and helps clients communicate effectively during times of organizational change. It was an impressive year in terms of new business, with three new clients in the maritime business (a high-risk sector with very specific communications requirements) and other additions in the education arena (public and private schools and colleges dealing with issues such as sexual misconduct). Among new names on the Hennes Paynter roster: Carpenter Technology, APM Terminals, ThyssenKrupp, Interlake Steamship, SeaStreak, Reinauer Transportation and Materion. As often happens in the crisis realm, much of the firm’s work was subject to confidentiality clauses, but perhaps the single most interesting project involved the crash of a major passenger vessel, which sent more than 50 people to the hospital. The subsequent response earned plaudits from industry observers and media outlets. “If you say the right thing in the wrong way, a crisis can be created,” Ron Fountain, chairman of the board of MetroHealth System told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “A crisis of communications... a crisis of confidence. When they (Hennes Paynter) do their job best, there is no crisis.” The firm works closely with Washington, DC, public affairs and crisis management consultancy Levick Strategic Communications, with Bruce Hennes serving in a counsel capacity to Levick clients.—PH HIGHWIRE PR Technology and lifestyle public relations SAN FRANCISCO H CHICAGO IN 2013, Borders + Gratehouse rebranded as Highwire PR to avoid being defined by the names of its founders, Emily Call Borders and Kathleen Gratehouse, and to reflect its remarkable positioning as a next-generation Silicon Valley PR powerhouse. What started as a home-based business in 2008 is now a 30-person shop with three principals and a new office in Chicago headed by two vice presidents. Highwire is known as one of the fastest growing PR firms in Silicon Valley after growing 66 percent in 2011 and almost doubling in 2010. Last year was no exception with 37.2 percent growth, closing the year slightly over $4 million. The agency added nine people, plucking talent from Microsoft and FleishmanHilliard. Most notably, Highwire hired Samantha Zee, a 20-year veteran of Bloomberg, to support its content bureau, as well as lead teams. The firm also grew its base beyond Silicon Valley with new clients in San Diego, Los Angeles, Colorado, Ohio and Texas. Eight new clients: YouSendIt (now HighTail), Prezi, Norwest Venture Partners, RepairPal, Guavus, Pertino, FuelQuest and Roambi were added to a list that includes Rocket Lawyer, SoftLayer and J2 Global. The agency has molded its specializations around market and investment trends, with its strongest practice areas revolving around enterprise technology, from cloud infrastructure to apps. Also, last year its consumer tech and www.holmesreport.com 103
  • 102. Agency Report Card 2013 North America healthcare practices inched upwards, while gaming cooled. High-profile assignments included creating buzz to bounce HighTail and its new CEO Brad Garlinghouse back into relevant conversations; going on the offensive when longtime client Rocket Lawyer’s rival sued; and a thoughtleadership campaign for cybersecurity client CloudFlare on the spike in DDoS attacks following the Israel and Hamas cease-fire. “I’m quite critical when it comes to PR firms given my experience managing multiple PR relationships over the years—both in-house and being on the agency side myself. [Highwire] hasn’t disappointed us once and the team continues to exceed our expectations,” says Katie Belding, vice president of marketing, Norwest Venture Partners. In the past year, Highwire also made investments in a range of content services from contributed articles and blog posts to social media campaigns and infographics, as well as formalizing its training program to include a rotation of outside trainers and a full-time writing coach. Highwire supports about half its clients globally through projects or ongoing work via a network of global partners that include Axicom (pan-European), C8 (UK), Text 100 (Singapore) and EMG (China). — ASh earned and owned media to recruit tech companies to the Bay Area community and Newell Rubbermaid’s division for online shipping logistics. The former involved a level of sophistication not often found in tech PR assignments, tasking Hoffman to audit the City of Freemont’s assets to form the basis for its communications campaign. This resulted in architecting a digital property from ground zero, in addition to traditional communications activations. Ultimately, Hoffman’s remit calls for training city employees to be self-sufficient in managing its social channels. “[Hoffman’s team] provided everything we needed and continue to treat us like we are your only client,” John Freed, the CMO at Nautilus, conveyed to Hoffman following a New York media event. In the last 12 months, Hoffman also secured an exclusive partnership with HYSTA, the primary advocacy organization for bridging China with Chinese professionals in Silicon Valley. Hoffman relies on its wholly-owned offices in London, Tokyo, Seoul, Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong and Singapore to service international accounts.—ASh THE HOFFMAN AGENCY Digital communications with specialties in tech, startups and media Technology PR specialist SAN FRANCISCO H NEW YORK SILICON VALLEY H PORTLAND H INTERNATIONAL OPERATIONS UNLIKE so many tech agencies content with mastering the Silicon Valley scene, the Hoffman Agency made a concerted effort to develop international expertise. This foresight paid off when the firm hit some rocky patches in the US, while continuing to represent top tech names abroad, including PayPal, Sony, Symantec and Google. Today, international business still accounts for than 50 percent of revenues. The US operation regained traction on the back of hiring Steve Burkhart as GM in North America with wins beyond the traditional tech sector like home fitness maker Nautilus for branding, digital presence and thoughtleadership. The firm also hired Kymra Knuth to run the business in Portland and establish Hoffman’s first Northwest office, Steve Jursa as VP in Silicon Valley and Sarah Sherman as EMEA MD. So far, the investment is paying off – in 2013, Q1 growth in North America was 30 percent higher than the same time in 2012. Other new wins include the City of Freemont on a campaign that combines 104 www.holmesreport.com HORN HORN’S shift away from being a tech PR firm has been underway for several years as the firm introduced a portfolio of services – including PR, social media, interactive and advertising – under the banner of digital communications. Its focus in 2012 was ensuring these services were offered as an integrated program, as well as rebranding from the Horn Group to simply Horn. On revenues, the agency held steady with fees just over $8 million. The firm’s expertise remains in tech, in particular enterprise software and the digital media sectors, but it also saw growth in security, mobile and enterprise cloud. Horn’s New York office excelled in big media brand and the ad tech space. Recent notable work included carrying the successful ServiceNow IPO and prepping Savings.com and Pervasive for acquisition. Forbes Magazine hired Horn as its first AOR in its 95-year-old history to communicate its reinvented ad platform and its expansion into new markets. The firm also won its first government-related client in the Alliance for Downtown New York to help bring more tech companies and influencers back to lower Manhattan. Other new wins included Dyle Mobile TV, ChaCha, Absolute Software, Sony’s Gracenote, Telogis, Vitals.com, Local.com, AdBrite, Appsense and StrongMail. “We are continually impressed by the team’s efforts and successes achieved on behalf of our big data and analytics products group. Our CTO recently stated how pleased he is with the amount and quality of the coverage we are receiving for the team,” said Lacy LaBorde, corporate communications manager at Pervasive Software. Sabrina Horn launched the firm more than 20 years ago and continues to run the agency with partner Ben Billingsley. Todd Cadley is managing director in New York and Tim O’Keeffe has the role in San Francisco. The interactive team has gone through a change in leadership, moving towards integrated marketing and hiring Eric Kim as art director in New York and Brooke Murphy as creative director from Edelman Digital. While Horn focuses on the US market, it offers international capabilities through the Oriella Network, an alliance of 17 communications agencies in 24 countries around the world that Horn cofounded with partner Brands2Life in the UK. Currently 50 percent of its clients in the San Francisco office have international support from their partners in Brazil, Spain, Germany, UK and more recently India. In 2012, International work accounted for $400k of revenue, exceeding any prior year.—ASh HOTWIRE Tech PR NEW YORK H SAN FRANCISCO H INTERNATIONAL OPERATIONS SINCE launching in the UK in 2000, Hotwire has emerged as one of the fastest growing international communications consultancies. While opening new offices in both New York and San Francisco in a short span of time can be challenging, Hotwire has stayed true to its positioning as an agile and innovative challenger to the established order. Its 2012 US launch was positioned as an alternative for those burned by global giants or exhausted by the best-of-breed approach. With its 11 wholly-owned offices across Europe, Australia and the US, Hotwire offers a blend of boutique and global capabilities with a particular focus on tech expertise across geographies. Knowing the industry is awash in agency branding promises, Hotwire tries to ensures its pillars hold up. For instance, through various
  • 103. Specialists, boutiques, small & mid-size firms programs, in 2012 Hotwire invested $1,660 per employee in team building and career development. It also invested in an analytics platform, Listening Post, that allows real-time tracking and targeting of influencers. Hotwire also works on a model that reduces fees if deliverables aren’t met, as well as a global measurement framework, launched in October 2012, to ensure PR rolls into specific business goals. In 2012, 12-year Hotwire veteran Brendon Craigie embarked on his second year as global CEO. Meanwhile, Leslie Campisi joined as US MD, along with director Rebecca Honeyman in New York and associate director Annette Leach in San Francisco. In the US, revenues for calendar year 2012 were $1.3 million. The US team serves global accounts across the UK, Europe, and Australia, as well as many US-only clients. Globally, fee income grew 23.4 percent to $24.6 million from $19.9 million in 2011. The firm’s US portfolio includes technology companies at different stages in their business trajectory, from startups to mid-size challengers, and a mix of B2B and consumer brands in the mobile, ecommerce, enterprise software and hardware spaces. Major global clients include: Citrix, Microsoft, SAS and Nikon, along with new client wins Telefonica, Pegasystems, GoPro, Steria, McAfee, Toshiba and Pearson. “Hotwire’s measured approach to campaigns and focus on delivering results that meet business objectives has helped to put Expertmaker on the map in the US market,” said Expertmaker, founder and CTO, Lars Hård. Hotwire works with affiliates in regions where it does not have a wholly-owned office.—ASh HUNTER PR Brand-building PR NEW YORK TALK to Hunter PR’s clients—a distinguished group including many blue-chip brands—and you will hear about three things that set the firm apart: a senior management team that is involved in every account and committed to delivering exceptional service; employees at all levels who are adept at creative problem solving and idea generation, whose ability to plan and facilitate brainstorming earns them a role in solving major marketing challenges, including many outside the traditional scope of public relations; and a constant focus on delivering the “ink and airtime” that remain fundamental to public relations success. The firm has built on those capabilities in recent years, expanding its in-house services to formalize a research and insights function, leveraging proprietary and syndicated tools focused on “the Seven Cs”: the consumer, client, competition, climate, conversation, coverage, and compliance. That capability is proving to be increasingly important differentiator for Hunter, helping it land several major clients in 2012, and resulting in an expanded Food Study that looked at the top food stories of the year and their impact on consumer behavior. Hunter has also expanded its social and digital media capabilities, helping clients such as Arby’s, Hasbro and Kraft Foods engage in the blogosphere and on social media channels and expanding its art department to offer dynamic press materials, website and microsite design, and social media app development. It has launched a five-person strong Hispanic strategies and solutions department focused on one of the fastest-growing demographic groups in the US, securing new assignments from Diageo, porternovelli.com influence When you pioneer your craft, you have more latitude than the average agency. Porter Novelli prides itself on a unique group of people who have more than 40 years of experience in creating change through our clients’ brands. Category and culture transformations that people not only notice, they feel and remember. The effect is greater than just influencing people, we make them believe. www.holmesreport.com 105
  • 104. Agency Report Card 2013 North America 3M, Hasbro, Gallo and McIlhenny. And it has enhanced its capabilities in the entertainment arena, tapping the worlds of pop-culture, lifestyle, fashion and entertainment to add value to a variety of client campaigns, including Zyrtec, Maxwell House and Diageo. The firm is led by managing partner Grace Leong, who has been with the firm since Barbara Hunter founded it 24 years ago, and purchased it (along with three other partners) 10 years later. The partnership team now includes five partners: Jon Lyon, Jason Winocour, Mark Newman and Erin Brenan, who rejoined the firm from MSLGroup, while partner Claire Burke departed the agency to be closer to her family in Washington DC. The firm has a team of around 85 and fee income of around $14 million after 17 percent growth in 2012, thanks to growth in the core food and beverage practice, supported by the health and beauty practice. The firm maintained or grew its work with major clients such as 3M, Arby’s Restaurant Group, Church & Dwight, Diageo North America, E&J Gallo Winery, Hasbro, Johnson & Johnson, Kraft Foodsand McIlhenny Company (Tabasco), and added business from the Can Manufacturers Institute, McNeil CHC, Mondelez International (Halls), Post Cereals, Smithfield Packing Company, O.C. Tanner, and Pompeiian . Campaign highlights included the launch of a new mobile streaming projector for 3M in conjunction with Roku, for which Hunter devised a smart experiential drive that spurred impressive results. For Zyrtec, meanwhile, Hunter’s ‘Allergy Face’ programme tied in with the emotional side of allergy suffering by tying up with TV actress Kate Walsh. And, for Jell-O, Hunter supported the new ‘Fun Things Up’ marketing platform, by depicting the offering of a Jell-O pudding in the hope of avoiding the Mayan apocalypse. Hunter PR primarily serves domestic markets, but has developed a network of affiliate agencies in markets essential to its clients’ businesses including Canada, Central and South America, Europe and Asia.—ASu Since its launch, Crabill estimates the firm has declined 60 percent of its leads and its account retention is about 95 percent. Senior leadership includes founder Crabill, previously of SHIFT Communications, Edelman and Weber Shandwick; co-founder and COO Jonathan Neri who manages the day-to-day operations, finance, technology and HR; and VP Audrey Craipain, previously of SHIFT and Christie Communications. Through the end of 2012, the firm’s average year-over-year revenue growth was close to 100 percent. The boutique does not specialize in any one industry, but tends to take on business in the mobile lifestyle, consumer electronics, fashion, music, robotics, social, travel and food and beverage sectors, especially those with a startup mentality. Clients include Zite (acquired by CNN) and Zappos’ labs and mobile divisions. Over the last year, Inner Circle brought on five new clients: Fashion Tech Accelerator, Combat Gent, AGOGO and InstaWeather. “With Inner Circle Labs, I don’t just have a PR firm, I have a partner that helps me to tell the story of Zite to the rest of the world,” said Mark Johnson, CEO of Zite. In 2012, Inner Circle produced the sold-out Glimpse: Social Discovery Conference in San Francisco, followed by a second sold-out event in New York. Other high-profile work includes helping Zite and CNN unveil a joint product, CNN Trends. In August, the boutique launched Zite on Google Glass. Inner Circle also launched EasilyDo a smart assistant app in December of 2012, as well as conducted an executive visibility campaign for CEO Mikael Berner. For the second year, firm worked on BlogHer’s Annual conference in Chicago and surpassed its metrics to drive ticket sales. Inner Circle takes on international clients looking to gather momentum in the US market, but its primary audience is domestic. It works with a network of partners outside of the US on a need basis.—ASh INNER CIRCLE LABS Financial services specialist with international reach Consumer, lifestyle, technology, startups INTERMARKET COMMUNICATIONS NEW YORK SAN FRANCISCO INNER Circle Labs was launched in 2010 with the notion that teams do their best work when they’re passionate. Founder Julie Crabill implements this by letting teams pick the accounts they work on – and turning away business that doesn’t generate enough enthusiasm. 106 www.holmesreport.com THE financial services sector has come in for some pretty sharp criticism over the past few years. For institutions that prize confidentiality and are uncomfortable with heightened transparency, it’s difficult to know when to engage and when to keep a low profile, what to say and who to say it to. In such an environment, those institutions need to work with public relations counsel that understands their industry, their business model, and their media environment intimately. That’s where a firm like Intermarket comes in. One of the top financial services specialists in the country, Intermarket has a 25-year track record working with clients whose products and services are used by the global trading and investment community, with a special focus on firms that draw on leading-edge technology to deliver competitive advantage. (Although its expertise in the financial realm has led to Intermarket’s recent selection by a number of non-financially focused organizations, most notably Nestle, to support corporate visibility programs.) Chief executive Martin Mosbacher was director of public relations at Commodity Exchange, the world’s leading metals futures exchange, prior to founding Intermarket (originally known as Trimedia). Mosbacher and chairman Matt Zachowski have built their management team with an average tenure of more than a decade with the firm, and even longer in their sectors: managing partner Andy Yemma joined in 1998 from the New York Stock Exchange; managing partner Neil Shapiro joined in 2000 and leads the corporate practice; and managing director William Ferri is a 15-year veteran of the firm. Two more longtime employees, Eric Hazard and Stephanie DiIorio, stepped up to senior management roles last year. After impressive growth in 2011, last year was about consolidation and Intermarket again ended the year with fees just under $5 million. The major highlight was signing on as NASDAQ’s US agency partner, but otherwise the firm’s roster was stable, with ongoing clients including Deutsche Bank. Charles Schwab, Swift, Newedge, ICAP, Swift, the Russell Investments division of Northwestern Mutual, the Eagle Asset Management division of Raymond James and Nestle.  “The team at Intermarket does a wonderful job connecting with reporters and managing our goals with realistic advice, strategic implementation of tactics and great attention to detail,” says Steve Claiborne, director of investment public relations at Russell Investments. “Intermarket effectively managed our plans to launch global indexes so well that the resulting media coverage, all positive, was the most ever for any announcement in Russell Investments’ history.” Adds Howard Edelstein, chairman of BondDesk Group: “I have worked with Intermarket for three-quarters of my professional life, and as far as I’m concerned,
  • 105. Specialists, boutiques, small & mid-size firms there is no other specialist PR firm out there worth talking to.” As the financial services sector grows increasingly global, Intermarket has access to international markets through membership in GFC/Net, a network of firms dedicated to serving the financial markets that includes some of Europe’s best independent PR firms, including Fishburn Hedges in London and Interel in Brussels along with Hong Kong-based Ryan Communications.—PH JPA HEALTH COMMUNICATIONS Healthcare public relations and public affairs WASHINGTON DC H BOSTON OGILVY Public Relations and Edelman veteran Carrie Jones founded her own Washington, DC-based public relations firm (then known as Jones Public Affairs) back in 2007, committing to an influencer relations approach that helps clients connect with key stakeholder groups—media, advocacy groups, policymakers, thought leaders, and social media—to drive change. It’s an approach that has helped Jones build one of the fastest-growing firms in its market—up 26 percent last year to $5.3 million, ranking among the world’s top 200 PR firms. In addition to its influencer relations model, JPA offers several distinctive products: JPA Profiler is a customized, searchable database that gives clients the ability to identify advocacy groups that most closely align with their project objectives; its Social Network Analysis tool reveals how health conversations develop online and who has the greatest influencer; its Coalition Quad is a four-step process for creating persuasive, credible messages that will resonate with audiences; and its newest offer, the JPA Audience Tracker, follows conversations on a specific topic within targeted audiences and tracks the impact of outreach efforts. “JPA is a strong communications partner for NCCAM,” says Alyssa Cotler of NIH’s National Center for Complementary & Alternative Medicine. “They have brought innovative, ‘evidence-based’ techniques for identifying key stakeholders, sharpening our messages, and supported us in successful outreach to audiences through media, digital and third-party efforts. Our communications goal has benefitted from JPA’s commitment and strategic approach.” Jones, who serves as principal and management director, is joined at the helm of the 25-person firm by senior vice president of health policy Valerie Carter, former vice president of public affairs at Ricochet PR; head of the Boston office Ken Deutsch, former director of strategic services and partnerships at Morningside Analytics; and senior vice president and media relations head Berna Diehl, another Edelman veteran. New additions include Hampton Shaddock, who joined as a senior vice president in the Washington, DC, office from Burson-Marsteller; Catherine Brady as vice president in Boston; and senior vice president Valerie Carter, who is leading the firm’s new London office which hands UK and EU public affairs work. They serve a client list that includes Sanofi, BMS, National Pharmaceutical Council, the Melanoma Research Foundation, Lamaze International, American College of Nurse Midwives, National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and Coalition for Patients’ Rights. New business included Vree Health, the US Army Medical Materiel Development Activity, the College of American Pathologists, Association of Community Cancer Centers, Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network, Biogen Idec, ViiV Healthcare and American Association of Nurse Anesthetists. For Lamaze International, JPA developed the Push for Your Baby campaign, a program created to help expecting parents push for the safest, healthiest birth possible. For the American College of Nurse-Midwives, Our Moment of Truth is a consumer awareness campaign to motivate women to gain a better understanding of their healthcare options. The firm also designed and launched the Melanoma Research Foundation’s new website.—PH JSH&A COMMUNICATIONS Creative brand-building and lifestyle marketing firm CHICAGO JONNI Hegenderfer’s suburban Chicagobased consumer lifestyle firm was launched as a two-person shop 20 years ago, and has thrived in a competitive market over the past two decades by providing a refuge for talented public relations execu- tives anxious to escape the bureaucracy and grind of Chicago’s largest agencies, and for clients—most of them big consumer brands— who value principal-level involvement and a philosophy that makes the agency an extension of the client’s in-house team. The firm looks at public relations as the basis for positioning a company for long-term success in the marketplace. Says Hegenderfer, “No matter how ingenious the product or service, a company must communicate effectively with all of its critical audiences: customers, employees, suppliers, shareholders and the public in general.” That philosophy hasn’t changed over the past 12 months, but its positioning has, evidenced by a new name, with the addition of “Communications” designed to underscore the fact that the firm has strength in digital as well as traditional media, in word-of-mouth and special events, in storytelling and content creation. The firm has also refocused on three key areas: food and beverage, marketing to women, and lifestyle communications. Its proprietary LIFstyle (Lifestyle Influence Factors) approach underpins all of that, delving deeply into the client’s target audience, developing an understanding of consumers’ psyche and the kind of communications likely to trigger action. In addition, senior vice president Cheryl Georgas, a six-year JSH&A veteran, became an equity partner in the firm, joining Hegenderfer and president Jim Kokoris, who has now been with the firm for 18 years. Vice president Kristin McCormick transitioned to a new role, overseeing new business, working out of the agency’s East Coast office in Connecticut. And the JSH&A PR University program was re-introduced to employees, offering a series of training seminars on topics such as digital and new media, business writing for professionals, and management skills. Amid the brand transformation, JSH&A was able to grow existing accounts such as Casa Sauza Tequila (from Beam), Reddi-wip and Manwich (ConAgra), and Chef Michael’s (Nestlé Purina Pet Care), and pick up new business from Staples. It continued to serve longtime clients such as The Robert Bosch Tool Corporation, The Hershey Company and Beam. Overall fee income was up only modestly, but the work was impressive: the firm handled the grand opening of the new Jim Beam American Stillhouse visitors’ center in Kentucky, bridging the past and present for the first family of Bourbon; celebrated Easter with the Hershey’s portfolio of brands via the first virtual Hershey’s Bunny Trail; and worked with Bosch in 2012 to design and execute a memorable media event that brought in more www.holmesreport.com 107
  • 106. Agency Report Card 2013 North America than 30 key editors to Bosch headquarters. Says Steve Wilcox, group marketing manager, communications, accessories, for Bosch: “The JSH&A team has proven to be a true communications partner over a short period of time. Our business moves fast and it’s important for a partner to not only keep up, but drive new ideas and new programs.” Adds Paula Erickson, vice president global communications and public relations for Beam: “JSH&A has worked with Beam in a wide range of capacities and brands for more than a decade. The JSH&A team is top-notch and highly service oriented in every regard. They know how to orchestrate exceptional events, are highly creative and have strong media relationships. I highly recommend JSH&A as a full-service public relations agency that knows how to ideate, execute and get results.” As a member of the IPREX network of independent public relations firms, JSH&A has partners in almost every major market in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia/ Pacific.—PH JACKSON SPALDING Multispecialist with strong consumer and real estate capabilities ATLANTA H DALLAS JACKSON Spalding has established itself not only as one of the leading independent public relations firms in the southeast but also as one of the few firms headquartered in that part of the world capable of handling full-service marketing communications assignments on a national scale. Jackson Spalding defines its business in terms of Image Creation, Cultivation & Communication (IC3), an approach that looks at public relations as a component of the overall branding process, and the firm has been widely recognized for its creative work but also offers broad strategic marketing capabilities for clients in a wide range of industry sectors, including consumer products and services; real estate; professional services; healthcare; and not-for-profit. It now offers integrated capabilities with a focus on message creation and message delivery using a comprehensive suite of services, including the ability to create and produce television advertising and digital animation and a new leadership coaching offer. Founders Glen Jackson and Bo Spalding continue to emphasize the distinctive work 108 www.holmesreport.com environment at JS, listed among the leaders in our Best Agencies to Work For research over the past several years. They start with a hiring process that considers what the firm calls the 5Cs—character, competency, class, confidence and chemistry—and allows employees a vote on the candidate in question. Those who make it through that process find a collaborative culture that provides extensive professional development programming and a number of leadership opportunities through “advancement teams” focused on areas such as marketing, career development, new employee orientation, work/life balance, sustainability and wellness. Last year saw Jackson Spalding hit the 100-employee milestone (key additions included business development and marketing manager Colin Owens and creative director Brett Player), ending 2012 with fees up by about 16 percent to slightly more than $12 million. There was new business, most notably from Toyota but also from KwikBoost, the Atlanta Falcons, The College Football Hall of Fame, Fortis Property Group, Central Atlanta Progress, and Comfort Keepers, while the firm expanded key relationships with Delta Air Lines, Orkin and Georgia Transmission Corporation. Through the firm’s relationship with Delta Air Lines, it helped one of the carrier’s partners, a regional airline, rebrand as Endeavor Air, complete with a new logo, style guide and brand name. A healthcare client with national reach, meanwhile, approached JS for help with its internal communications processes. And leaders in the Georgia Department of Economic Development came to JS to develop a campaign that could speak to multiple audiences via a wide range trade publications and conferences. “The JS Excavation process was uplifting and brought our organization’s message into focus for each member of the team,” says Liz Taussig, development and marketing director for Amos Art Academy. “What terrific experience, talent and understanding… Jackson Spalding brings it all together and packages the information into concise and meaningful statements that can be taken out into the community with enthusiasm.” The firm is a member of PROI Worldwide, a group of more than 60 independent public relations firms throughout the world.—PH JEFFREYGROUP Marketing to Latin America and to US Hispanic audiences MIAMI H NEW YORK H BUENOS AIRES H MEXICO CITY H SÃO PAULO FOUNDED in Miami in 1993 and as a boutique firm working for US companies looking to reach Latin American markets, JeffreyGroup is now in its 20th year, and continues to offer unparalleled expertise and insight into the key markets of the southern hemisphere, while expanding more recently to manage campaigns targeting the US Hispanic communities. It has been a clear beneficiary of the convergence of the two markets based on shared cultural heritage and enabled by the growing influence of electronic communications, and so the firm now runs coordinated programs engaging Latin consumers—and other stakeholders—in both North and South America for several of its largest clients. The past couple of years have seen a further evolution of the firm’s offer, with the introduction of broader, integrated services including digital and design capabilities. In 2011, the firm launched a proprietary database of US multicultural and Latin American online influencers, Webfluentials, which includes key bloggers, celebrities and online media across multiple industry sectors, and focuses on those digital personalities who impact business success. The firm also provides an impressive Latin American media monitoring service, and has been able to expand beyond its traditional media relations focus through an in-house creative services team, which draws on the resources of the Latin American offices to provide cost-effective production of hard copy and electronic materials, and through an experiential marketing offer. The Latin American operation remains a unique resource— São Paulo is now their largest office with Mexico City close behind— while TJG continues to benefit from a network of non-exclusive contracted professionals in markets where it doesn’t operate its own offices. It has also expanded beyond its consumer roots to provide a depth of expertise in healthcare and technology. The firm’s client roster includes Airbus, American Airlines, Bayer, Ciba Vision, Diageo, Fox Networks, Johnson & Johnson, and Xerox, while there was new business from Amazon Web Services, Facebook, Hilton Hotels and Resorts, Mozilla Firefox, Nikon, Pfizer, Salesforce. com. As a result, revenue climbed by close to 10 percent in 2012, and The Jeffrey Group ended the year at around $8.4 million. Founder and CEO Jeffrey Sharlach continues to split his time between the firm’s Miami
  • 107. Specialists, boutiques, small & mid-size firms and New York offices counseling clients on corporate social responsibility programs and also serving associate professor of management communication at NYU’s Stern School of Business. Day-to-day leadership responsibilities now fall to chief operating officer Brian Burlingame, a 13-year veteran and president Mike Valdes-Fauli, who joined in 2004 and leads US operations. JeffreyGroup has wholly-owned offices in Miami and New York, Buenos Aires, Mexico City and São Paulo and local service partners in all major US Hispanic markets and throughout Latin America.—PH K/F COMMUNICATIONS Technology PR SAN FRANCISCO WITH more than a decade of tech experience under its belt, K/F Communications has operated largely under the radar, positioning its clients for rapid growth. Principals Julie Karbo and David Fonkalsrud each lead their accounts on a day-to-day basis, People drawing upon decades of tech sector experience between them. Karbo has worked in strategic marketing communications for 30 years, advising companies in a variety of sectors including enterprise software, big data, storage, networking, virtualization/cloud, security, social networking/media, mobile, Internet infrastructure, Internet television, eCommerce, and consumer electronics. Fonkalsrud has spent two decades working in PR, public affairs and corporate communications with companies in networking, consumer Internet, wireless, Internet infrastructure, enterprise software, security, content mobility and managed services.  In 2012, fee income was up 37 percent from 2011 with six new clients: BuyVia, FairCom, Recurly, Tagwhat, HipGeo and SohoOS. K/F added two new staff members. High-profile assignments included helping client Chomp get acquired by Apple, launching deal website BuyVia in a very crowded – and fatigued —market, while still gaining the attention of consumer, business and tech pubs. K/F also developed a PR and branding program for Intel’s newly launched Data Center Manager and thought-leadership for the director of the division. Other clients include Covia Labs, Edgewater Networks and Alacritech. ”K/F helped lay the groundwork for how we positioned Digg, and over a four year period, took us from a little-known startup to a wellrecognized global brand,” said Kevin Rose, founder of former clients Digg and Revision 3. “They did the same thing over two years at Revision3.” The majority of K/F’s programs are focused within the US and Canada. In 2012, however, K/F conducted several international outreach initiatives. In the past, K/F has led extensive public relations efforts for clients abroad through strategic relationships with boutique technology agencies in EMEA and AsiaPacific.—ASh KAPLOW Lifestyle-focused brand-building PR with strong digital capabilities NEW YORK WHEN the social media revolution began, it was easy to predict that public relations firms would be well placed to take the lead in helping clients manage the conversation with & Passion www.dix-eaton.com At Dix & Eaton, we all have at least one thing in common – a strong desire to be the spark that moves our clients forward. By shaping the appropriate strategy and navigating the right course, we help them realize the full power of communication to drive results. public relations ❙ investor relations ❙ crisis communications ❙ marketing communications www.holmesreport.com 109
  • 108. Agency Report Card 2013 North America consumers. It was far less clear whether PR would be able to challenge ad agencies for a leadership role in content creation—the other major opportunity presented by new channels. But New York’s Kaplow is one of a handful of midsize firms demonstrating that digitallysavvy PR people can help clients with “brand journalism,” producing a wide range of content (from traditional print to the cutting-edge of social and mobile) in the service of broader storytelling. Kaplow picked up the first SABRE Award for Branded Journalism early in 2013, for its work with longtime client Skype, using the Skype blog network to move away from stories about the technology to a narrative that featured user experiences. It was a campaign that showcased many of Kaplow’s other strengths: the firm has a carefully thought out process that consists of a series of questions: What change do we want to create? How will we be able to measure this? Who are the target audiences? Why does each audience do what it does today? What will convince each audience to change its behavior? What is the communications idea? How will we convey that idea to each audience (and in this regard, Kaplow is open to using a blend of earned, owned and paid media)? And how will we know if the program is working (the winning Skype campaign was focused on real business metrics)? To translate its guiding philosophy into a real deliverable, Kaplow has done three equally important things. First, it has invested in talent, so that the senior leadership team includes executive vice president and chief consumer strategist Theresa McDonnell (who returned to the firm from Edelman in 2012); senior VP and head of digital Nadina Guglielmetti; and Amanda Prinzo, who joined as director of analytics; and Emily Listfield as editorial director. Second, it has worked to develop a culture designed to attract and retain that kind of talent, helping people balance work and family, and live their values via a real commitment to CSR, with “Ksquads” focused on wellness, beauty, pop culture and technology. And third, it has launched new products and services, like its Kdrive social media division; Kstudio, which develops content and branded journalism; and Knext, focusing on more entrepreneurial clients. The result was a return to growth in 2012, with fee income up by 8 percent to around $11 million. The firm continues to work with clients such as Unilever, Microsoft (Skype), Target, CVS, Gurwitch Brands, Avon and Shiseido. High-profile work included the launch of Skype in the Classroom, a free online global community for educators that reinforces 110 www.holmesreport.com the brand’s core strength: connecting the world. The fast-growing CSR practice also helped luxury beauty brand Laura Mercier launch the Laura Mercier Ovarian Cancer Fund, which surpassed its fundraising goals in just two months, and worked with the Avon Foundation to change the national conversation about breast cancer and the racial disparity in mortality. Says Claudia Poccia, president and CEO of Gurwitch Products, the global luxury beauty conglomerate, “In 2012, Laura Mercier established the Laura Mercier Ovarian Cancer Fund, as the disease has touched my life and our founder, Laura Mercier through the experiences of loved ones. We partnered with Kaplow to determine every facet of the Fund – from its mission and charitable partners to raising awareness and visibility. The brand, in collaboration with Kaplow, has turned a tribute to a sister and friend, into our fast-growing corporate social responsibility program.”—PH KARWOSKI & COURAGE Consumer marketing MINNEAPOLIS KARWOSKI (Glenn) is the leader of this Minneapolis firm, a subsidiary of well-regarded local advertising agency Martin|Williams (an Omnicom subsidiary). Courage is its philosophy, one that has led to a nice collection of awards, both local and national, since its foundation 20 years ago. Karwoski & Courage works across multiple industries—encouraging employees to work in cross-industry teams in the belief that specialization can lead to a narrow perspective-but offers clients particular expertise in healthcare, manufacturing, hospitality, and retailing. Last year saw strong 15 percent growth, with new business from PF Chang’s and Pei Wei restaurants, Beautyrest, Verde Environmental Technologies, and The Basilica Block Party—although the majority of the new fees came from existing clients such as 3M (K&C works for several divisions) and Walmart (the firm is its regional agency). Highlights include a number of new product introductions for 3M and are handling a number of assignments for Walmart in the region.—PH KEARNS & WEST Strategic public affairs and issues management consulting SAN FRANCISCO H DENVER H PORTLAND OR H SACRAMENTO H WASHINGTON DC KEARNS & West remains (as it was at its founding, almost 30 years ago) a unique business, blending skills in communications, community engagement, conflict resolution and consensus building to help companies engage and negotiate with key stakeholders around controversial issues such as water use, renewable energy supply, marine resources, and infrastructure improvements. Co-founder Kenneth Kearns stepped down from a day-to-day leadership role in 2011, to become a senior counselor (the firm recognized his contribution by establishing a scholarship in his name at North Carolina State University) while the firm is now in the highly capable hands of co-founder Anna West in San Francisco; and principals Anne Gunning (who leads the Washington, DC, operation), Sharif Ebrahim, Abby Arnold and Debra Nudelman. They work with a team of individuals with diverse backgrounds in markets including Boston, Denver, Salt Lake City, Boise, and Portland, Ore., where Marci DuPraw joined the team as a senior director/senior mediator, enhancing the firm’s training, coaching, and neutral facilitation public engagement experience. The past year or so has seen the firm handling marine and water issues (working with the California Department of Water Resources to develop an innovative stakeholder process to engage agricultural communities, nonprofit groups, state and federal agencies, and flood control interests in making long-term, region-wide investments in conservation land); energy and renewables (supporting the American Wind Wildlife Institute, an innovative collaboration between wind industry, state wildlife agencies, environmentalists and conservationists seeking to facilitate wind energy development, while protecting wildlife and its habitat); academia (working with Stanford University on issues related to the 120-year-old Searsville Dam & Reservoir, which has filled with sediment and lost more than 90 percent of its original water storage capacity); and environmental issues (helping the Bay Area Air Quality Management District as it seeks to identify and address community needs and concerns, and to engage the public in its decisionmaking). In addition, the firm continues its work with a broad range of clients including AT&T, American Consumer Satisfaction Index, ForeSee, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and Waste Management. While the core principles underpinning the firm’s efforts to secure “license to operate” for
  • 109. Specialists, boutiques, small & mid-size firms its clients remain unchanged, there is clearly greater emphasis on digital and social media, fueled by the public’s expectations of greater transparency, instant access to information, fast response, and genuine engagement. The firm has developed community-focused microsites for AT&T, and is supporting Foresee’s e-government transparency index. The firm has also seen increased awareness of the need to reach out to and engage diverse audiences, particularly in situations where environmental justice is an issue. As a result, K&W has developed its expertise in cross-cultural communications, and engaging disabled communities.—PH KEKST AND COMPANY Strategic corporate and financial communications, crisis communications, mergers and acquisitions NEW YORK H SAN FRANCISCO STRATEGIC communications advisory firms like Kekst and Company are no longer defined exclusively by the financial transaction business that for so long set them apart from other public relations agencies, but they are still defined by the characteristics that enabled them to hold their own in rooms filled with investment bankers, lawyers, management consultants (and the CEOs and CFOs they served), qualities such as experience, wisdom, judgment, and integrity. Those qualities have allowed Kekst to continue to thrive despite a lean mergers and acquisitions market in recent years, handling a host of high-stakes issues from complex financial disclosures to bankruptcies and restructurings, from senior management succession to corporate governance and shareholder activism, from litigation support to SEC investigations. The firm provided counsel on the most highprofile bankruptcies of the past 12 months, advising AMF Bowling, American Airlines parent AMR, Eastman Kodak, Hostess Brands (representing three separate investor groups), and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing. It worked on special situations ranging from the successful IPO of Annie’s to ConocoPhillips’ spinoff of Phillips 66 to company shareholders. And in the crisis management arena, it worked with the Special Investigations Task Force of the Board of Penn State University on the aftermath of high-profile sexual abuse allegations. There was an uptick in M&A business too, which saw the firm working on 115 US deals in 2012 (the second highest volume among communications advisors, according to mergermarket data, and a 10 percent increase over 2011 volume). Clients included the Los Angeles Dodgers (for their $2.1 billion sale to a group of investors that included Magic Johnson); Yahoo! (for the $7 billion sale of part of its stake in Alibaba Group back to that company); Eaton (for its $11.8 billion acquisition of Cooper Industries); SAP (for its $4.3 billion acquisition of Ariba); and Vivendi (for its $1.9 billion acquisition of EMI Group’s Recorded Music). The trend continued into the first half of 2013, which saw Kekst advising Dell on a bid by founder Michael Dell and Silver Lake Partners, and Smithfield Foods on its potential sale to Shuanghui International Holdings. The firm also continues to work with some of the world’s leading companies, with more than 300 retainer relationships, including CocaCola, Hess, The Travelers Companies, EMC, Lowe’s Companies, LVMH, JC Penney, Starbucks, and The Estée Lauder Companies. And Kekst has built a strong franchise representing some of the world’s leading alternative asset managers: nearly three dozen private equity firms and two dozen hedge funds. Management strength in depth continues to be a core differentiator, underscored in 2012 when longtime senior counselor Jim Fingeroth took on additional responsibilities as president and CEO, working alongside Larry Rand, who became executive chairman. They lead a team of more than 50 professionals from diverse backgrounds with unparalleled experience in building “trusted advisor” relationships with their clients. Kekst’s acquisition by Publicis in 2008, expanded its international reach considerably and the firm is partnering with MSLGroup— which has extensive corporate and financial communications capabilities in Europe and Asia—and other public relations firms on a growing number of global assignments.—PH KEL & PARTNERS Consumer, technology, mobile BOSTON KEL Kelly launched Kel & Partners as the “anti-agency” for PR and social media in 2002, drawing upon her experience on the client-side. To do this, Kelly eliminated billable hours tied to retainers; the “pitch and switch” routine; and she conducts strategic planning on all accounts. The firm calls this its “client-Side DNA” because its leadership and staff largely come from in-house positions. So far, it’s worked: more than 90 percent of its business comes through existing or previous client referrals and the firm has experienced consistent growth in both the social and PR ends of its business. Notably, Kel & Partners has worked as the AOR for Zappos since 2008. Other clients include Coastal.com, Catalog Spree, Spreadshirt, LightInTheBox.com, VacationHomeRentals.com, MyMove. com and Cumberland Farms. In the past 12 months, Kel & Partners added several new clients among them, UNREAL. Clients tend to be “low-to-no awareness consumer brands” that rely heavily on media coverage that reaches above industry noise. Similar to its marquee client, Zappos – Kel & Partners has taken the approach that culture matters above all, including terminating six clients over 10 years for mistreating its staff. Along with founder Kelly, co-founder Ginny Pitcher and partner Michelle DeLuties hire only entry-level employees and promote within.—ASh KOHNSTAMM COMMUNICATIONS Creative boutique with strong media relations capabilities and food and beverage expertise MINNEAPOLIS IT would be nice to think the myth that clients need a big agency with a New York presence to consistently secure top-tier media placements has long been laid to rest, but just in case it still persists there’s Kohnstamm Communications, which provides conclusive proof that a boutique firm in the Midwest can deliver first-class traditional and digital media results. The firm also regularly demonstrates that a small Twin Cities firm can beat out big agencies from larger markets in the competition for Fortune 500 clients. And now, following the addition in 2012 of former General Mills brand PR director Greg Zimprich as senior VP of strategic insight and agency operations, Kohnstamm has demonstrated its ability to add top talent and offer a suite of strategic, integrated services. Agency founder Josh Kohnstamm cut his teeth at Hill & Knowlton, where his clients included Mall of America, Eastman Kodak and Mazda, before launching his own firm in 1991. Growth has been steady since then, but accelerated in 2012 so that the firm ended the year up by almost 30 percent, with 25 percent of revenues now coming from social media work. Best known for its work in the food sector, which continues to drive much of the firm’s www.holmesreport.com 111
  • 110. Agency Report Card 2013 North America growth, Kohnstamm has expanded to include clients in real estate and professional services and other areas. New business in 2012 came from Boulder-based Noosa Yoghurt and Way Better Snacks and Dr. Praeger’s Sensible Foods, both of New York; from London-based Global Integration and Fay Ranches, a large-track real estate franchiser based in Montana. They join a roster that includes 3M Food Safety, MOM Brands, and the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business, Cascades Tissue Group (a leading recycled material manufacturer), McCormick’s Thai Kitchen brand, and the Soyfood Association of North America. For challenger brand MOM Brands, in a pitched battle with Post and Quaker in the cereal category, Kohnstamm created two notable campaigns: the clever “Choice of a New Generation” reboot, which saw the old Pepsi tagline was heisted (legally) and helped position the once-stodgy Malt-O-Meal brand as a social media renegade; and the “12 Layers of Happiness” partnership with Oprah contributor Dan Baker for the client’s wheat product. For Cascades, the firm introduced Moka, the nation’s first beige, 100 percent recycled bathroom tissue, with a Wall Street Journal exclusive, and for 3M’s food safety division the firm launched a campaign that was celebrated at the company’s shareholder meeting for industry leadership and dynamic growth. “We needed a dedicated team of strategic PR pros who could adeptly handle product launches of complex technologies within a sprawling Fortune 500 corporate structure, and my team at Kohnstamm is able to reliably deliver exceptional PR no matter what the situation, timing or context,” says Mary Kokkinen, PR manager for 3M Healthcare Clients have increasingly requested Kohnstamm to book media tours and interviews in Europe, Asia and Latin America. In response, Kohnstamm stepped up its global reach, with real-time online databases and worldwide PR partners.—PH KONNECT PR Consumer lifestyle boutique LOS ANGELES KONNECT has built its model focusing on two underrepresented sectors among PR agencies: baby and children and franchises. These, along with food and beverage, make up the firm’s core areas of expertise. Focusing on these niche sectors 112 www.holmesreport.com has resulted in 95 percent year-on-year growth in 2012, combined with a client retention rate of more than 90 percent and an employee turnover rate of less than 10 percent. In 2012, the firm more than doubled its staff size and developed a stringent process for reducing hiring risks by inviting candidates for a trial workday during the interview process. Clients include Nestlé Waters North America, Rhythm Superfoods, Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop, Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park and Lakeshore Learning Materials. The firm added a number of new clients over the past year including Fatburger, Pure Fix Cycles, Cellairis and Nuna. High-profile assignments include an executive visibility campaign for Fatburger CEO Andy Wiederhorn that included being featured on an episode of the CBS show Undercover Boss and resulted in a 17 percent increase in sales across all Fatburger stores; a celebrity seeding campaign for Babiators, aviator-style sunglasses for kids; and event media relations for the Nautica Malibu Triathlon; and the US launch for the European brand Mastrad, a maker of innovative culinary accessories. Konnect is also assisting with Fatburger’s expansion into EMEA and Asia. Other international clients include Lucinda Ellery Salon (London), Mastrad (France), Zolmo (London) and Snapper Rock (New Zealand). “The Konnect PR team goes above and beyond to come up with inventive ways to garner millions of media impressions within our meager PR budget,” said Sarah Linden, formerly of Nestlé Waters North America. Scott Jensen, of Rhythm Superfoods, said, “Konnect has been my PR firm at three different companies I’m involved with over the past five years.” CEO and founder Sabina Gault oversees all of the firm’s accounts and participates in the day-to-day management, as well as strategyplanning sessions and brainstorms. COO and PR director Monica Guzman creates and manages customized campaigns. Konnect works with clients in both US and aboard, tapping into its team that speaks a collective of eight languages.—ASh KWITTKEN + COMPANY WORLDWIDE Multispecialist firm NEW YORK FOUNDED in 2005, kwittken + company had already established itself as one of the most innovative and distinctive public relations firms in the hypercompetitive New York marketplace before the acquisition of a majority stake by kirshenbaum bond senecal + partners, an integrated marketing services agency known for its creativity and irreverence, in September 2010. That deal brought Kwittken into the MDC family of companies (which also includes well-regarded public relations firms Allison & Partners and Sloane & Company) and presented the firm with an opportunity work closely with experts in advertising, digital, experiential and direct marketing. The early signs have been good, with Kwittken winning a string of key awards. In 2011, the firm focused in particular on global business, making its own acquisition in the UK (Epoch PR), and launching a new corporate strategy group to provide higher-level counsel to blue-chip clients on such matters as issues and crisis management; content and editorial services; investor relations; transaction communications; cross-border issues; executive coaching; and, media/analyst skills training. The only problem with being a generalist is that it is sometimes difficult for such a firm to differentiate itself, to stand for anything specific. That’s not a problem for founder Aaron Kwittken, who has been steadfast in his determination to create a “modern communications agency”. To deliver against such a distinctive approach, Kwittken has also built a strong, experienced leadership team that includes president, partner and creative director Jason Schlossberg, formerly a senior VP at Middleberg and its successor firm Euro RSCG Magnet, as well as managing directors Gabrielle Zucker Acevedo (who led the corporate and financial practice at Magnet) and former journalist Ellie Rossi. Caleb Hulme-Moir, the former head of corporate communications for Cass Business School, is managing director of the firm’s new London office, and Karen Marotta is senior director of financial public relations. Epoch has brought further senior-level talent, along with an in-house trend forecasting process called Hothouse, which attempts to develop proprietary research and forecasting around the major themes shaping the global environment, tapping into an expert panel of thinkers drawn from a wide variety of fields. That type of intelligent thinking signals Kwittken’s aspirations for the future. fuelled by a recognition that today’s ‘idea-based marketing programs’ are born of multiple influences. In 2012, the firm launched Kwittken Content Labs, led by Schlossberg, staffed with social strategists, trend forecasters, writers, videographers, and designers, who work with Kwittken’s clients to develop “social by design” programming that directly engages a
  • 111. Specialists, boutiques, small & mid-size firms brand’s target audiences. The integration with kbs+, meanwhile, has brought many benefits, one of which is a strong relationship with the agency’s strategy and analytics team, which consequently led Kwittken to redesign its media analysis platform, into something which it believes is a key business intelligence tool for companies. Since 2010, Kwittken has tripled in size, proof that acquisition need not sound the death knell for an agency’s growth prospects. Over the past 12 months, Kwittken significantly grew its American Express business, winning AOR status for the following business units: Global Merchant Services, Global Business Travel, and Global Corporate Payments. The firm also consolidated its hold on Sharp Electronics, after being named PR AOR for all of Sharp’s consumer products. That helped spur 44 percent growth, taking Kwittken to around $6.5m in fee income. Major U.S. clients continue to include Amadeus, American Express, Beanstalk, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, Constellation Energy, CourseSmart, DJO Global, DSM Biomedical, Guardian Life, HomeGoods, ideeli, Intralinks, Said Business School, University of Oxford, Sharp Electronics, Towers Watson and Vanguard. New business included Ammunition, Datto Inco, Morehouse College, MyCityWay, Nasdaq OMX Group, Pave, Plum Organics, RelayRides, Shangpin and Strativity Group. Among the highlights of the past 12 months, Kwittken helped the launch the GM Relay Ride to promote RelayRides peer-to-peer car sharing platform’s new partnership with the automotive giant. By positioning the announcement as a new car launch, the campaign saw impressive results and considerable coverage. For Shangpin, meanwhile, Kwittken developed a media event that launched the Chinese company during New York Fashion Week, positioning the company’s senior executives in a tough media environment and spurring an increase in brand partnerships. In addition to its New York and London offices, Kwittken uses a global network of agency partners in continental Europe, Asia, Latin America and Canada, which it uses to help it handle a growing roster of cross-border clients.—ASu with Howard Rubenstein’s eponymous media relations powerhouse before striking out on his own almost 40 years ago, and about half of the staff at LVM have backgrounds in journalism, so you know the firm won’t ever lose sight of the fact that most clients hire a public relations agency to deliver stellar media results in top tier publications such as The Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Business Week—supplemented in recent years by similar successes in digital and social media outlets. But at LVM it’s never just publicity for publicity’s sake. Agency principal Jeannette Boccini worked in-house for a leading international real estate investment banking firm and understands that clients are looking for more than just coverage. So the firm prides itself on delivering on-strategy media placements that drive business, and its senior people also have experience in crisis media relations and are happy to partner with solo practitioners in related areas. Historically, the firm has done much of its best work in the real estate sector, including not only developers, but also construction companies, design and architectural firms. For more than 25 years, for example, it has provided PR counsel to the Malkin family, which controls numerous New York real estate properties, including the Empire State Building and Malkin Securities, and is currently planning its IPO. But LVM’s business is now broader than that, with expertise in professional service firm marketing, including giant Insperity (a provider of an array of human resources and business solutions), and financial services. New clients last year included a worldwide entertainment and resort concept designer; an elevator maintenance, repairs, and inspection company; a company that designs and manufactures uniforms; an association representing contractors; and a coalition of New Jersey landlords. It’s quite a diverse client list for a boutique with 6 people and fees of around $1.3 million (up by about 10 percent following the firm’s best year since the crash). LVM has developed international relationships over many decades and can partner overseas as necessary.—PH African-American and Hispanic audiences. Its founding campaigns revolved around behavioral change and social marketing for issues like HIV/AIDS, infant mortality, teenage pregnancy and tobacco cessation. Yet, growth for the last 12 months has been sluggish, in part because of consolidation and the scaling back of minority-focused programs. As a result, in 2012 LaGrant closed its Princeton, New Jersey office, laying off two mid-level employees. But the firm is using this as an opportunity to redefine itself. LaGrant has shifted its new business approach to focus more heavily on Latino consumers. The agency has also expanded to its outreach to the US Brazilian population by developing and executing programs in English and Portuguese. The firm takes the approach that understanding minority markets goes beyond staffing, to actually doing the research to grasp the complex and fluid dynamics of these populations, including their various sub-groups. Founder and CEO Kim L. Hunter has extended his mission at LaGrant to the nonprofit LaGrant Foundation that provides scholarships and mentorship to minority students pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees in advertising, marketing and PR. In 2011, he also launched multicultural executive search firm KLH & Associates. Major clients are Harley-Davidson Motor Company, H&R Block, Northwestern Mutual (new), Southern California Edison, the California Wellness Foundation and PNM Resources (new), an electric utility company based in New Mexico. High-profile assignments include partnering with the American Cancer Society to generate awareness among the African-African community in favor of the California Cancer Research Act (Proposition 29). LaGrant works exclusively in domestic markets, but has executed a communications programs in Guatemala, as well as having worked with journalists in the Bahamas and Brazil.—ASh LAGRANT COMMUNICATIONS Consumer, lifestyle, nonprofit PR and marketing LVM GROUP Multispecialist with strong multicultural capabilities Media relations boutique with professional services, real estate expertise LOS ANGELES H DALLAS NEW YORK FOR 23 years, LaGrant Communications has carved its niche developing and executing on integrated communications programs for LVM founder David Grant honed his skills LANDIS COMMUNICATIONS SAN FRANCISCO FOR the past two decades, Landis Communications has put a stake in the ground as one of San Francisco’s go-to agencies for local education, nonprofits, renovation projects, the arts and hospitality/tourism with increasing clout in sectors like technology, B2B, entertainwww.holmesreport.com 113
  • 112. Agency Report Card 2013 North America ment, environment, fashion, food and health, among others. While 2012 revenues dipped 21 percent to $1.1 million, the loss was cushioned by some notable wins including Walmart, California Society of Anesthesiologists, Northstar Cemetery Group, DDG Partners, City CarShare and continued expansion with California Bank & Trust. Founder David Landis was also elected president of the Public Relations Global Network, spearheading collaboration initiatives with other agencies to become more competitive in digital communications. The firm also invested in several senior hires to strengthen its marketing expertise, including: Sean Dowdall, formerly CMO of Rabobank, joined as GM and CMO; David Cumpston, formerly of Allison + Partners, joined in the newly-created post of director of client services; Eric Steckel, as digital media strategist from Bars + Tone; and Camille Priselac, formerly of Cooper + Katz, as senior counselor. For Walmart, Landis was hired to handle its community engagement, store events and reputation management in San Francisco with its scope extending from Bakersfield, California through to the state’s Oregon border. Other high-profile assignments include working with VPC Partners in New York on a program sponsored by Benjamin Moore to paint 50 homeless shelters in 50 states. ”Landis Communications exceeded our expectations in terms of the execution of their communications campaign for our first-ever city store in Bethesda, Maryland,” said Doug Tomlinson, CEO, Vino Volo. “From securing an advance story in the Washington Post to arranging for important local media and influencers to attend our preview event and everything in-between, they were ‘on it’ each step of the way.” Landis is focused on the US market, but works with affiliate partners around the world through its membership in Public Relations Global Network.—ASh LANE PR Multispecialist with strong food and financial PR capabilities PORTLAND OR H NEW YORK PERHAPS the best way to explain the difference between Lane PR and dozens of other firms with a track record in the food and beverage category is to look at its PR Week Award-winning public affairs campaign for client Redhook Brewery, a Craft Brew Alliance brand. Lane engaged with legislators, trade 114 www.holmesreport.com groups, other local brewers and a wide range of stakeholders, and ultimately helped its client expand the legal definition of beer in New Hampshire, creating an opportunity to sell more beer in the state. That’s an illustration of the value of Lane’s holistic approach, which means not only a 360-degree view that helps clients reach consumers through all available channels—in print, online, on shelf, on premise and at events—but also an understanding of the broader stakeholder environment. The firm has long delivered integrated public and investor relations campaigns for clients, and the inclusion of public affairs in that mix is a natural evolution. Founded in 1990, Lane PR has more than to two decades of experience helping clients build credibility, loyalty and brands, expanding beyond its heritage in food to work with clients in the financial services, consumer lifestyle, and technology categories—and deploying a strategic approach that produces measurable business results. Revenues held steady at around $4 million, but there was new business in the consumer and lifestyle segment, from Orchard Supply Hardware and Respect Your Universe; in financial services, from Sterling Bank; and in the food and beverage category, One Degree Organics and The Wine Group joined the client roster. Other major clients include Agribeef/Snake River Farms/Double R Ranch, Consumer Cellular, Davidson Companies, Moonstruck Chocolate Co., The Heathman Hotels, Thoma Bravo, and ZAGG. In addition to the Redhook work, the firm supported client Wines from Spain at the Food & Wine Classic, America’s premier culinary event, where the firm kicked off the event with a “Celebrate Spain” barbecue featuring Chef José Andrés, and secured the attendance of more than 450 chefs, media, bloggers and other influencers. Lane also worked with The Heathman Hotel, a setting for some of the scenes in Fifty Shades of Grey to create themed drinks at the bar and special room packages to entice overnight guests, while overhauling the brand’s Facebook presence. “Lane consistently demonstrates an ability to tell a factual story of Sterling while showcasing the authentic and engaged substance behind the organization,” says Marty Dickinson, EVP of marketing and communications at Sterling Bank. “They have immediately identified areas where Sterling can enhance and strengthen our message and have assisted us in establishing meaningful relations with the various media outlets. Lane’s approach to being our business ally and becoming an extension of our internal team has been seamless, collaborative and welcoming.”Agency founder and president Wendy Lane Stevens boasts 30 years of experience in marketing communications, professional services marketing, public relations, crisis communications, new product introductions and merchandising. The senior team also includes New York managing director Amber Roberts, formerly with Waggener Edstrom, who was promoted to vice president last year; and VPs Amy Moore Paterson, who leads the agency’s ongoing staff education and training program; Kristin Siefkin, former public relations and marketing manager for McMenamins Hotels, Pubs & Breweries; and Angie Galimanis, former PR manager for Moonstruck, who runs several food accounts. Although Lane’s work is concentrated in domestic markets, it has experience working internationally with like-minded local partners, from individuals to agencies.—PH LAUNCHSQUAD Technology, Consumer SAN FRANCISCO H NEW YORK H BOSTON FOUNDED in 2000 on the cusp of the social revolution, LaunchSquad has grown into a 90+-person shop with offices across the country experiencing substantial growth. In 2009, the shop was billing around $4 million, but that number has skyrocketed in 2012 to more than $10 million. While still a popular go-to for growth stage tech companies, over the last 12 months, LaunchSquad has significantly expanded its play in the content marketing and consumer realms. It has grown its consumer lifestyle division with fashion brands such as Kurt Geiger and American Giant. Sector expertise also includes software and clean tech, gaming, media & entertainment, education, finance, consumer technology, robotics and quantum physics. LaunchSquad’s 9-person content production shop Original9 Media, first launched in 2011, has helped numerous companies develop compelling content programs, including Visage Mobile, ServiceMax and Responsys. While overall revenue grew by 22 percent, the most significant gains occurred on the East Coast, in addition to the firm’s content marketing services. LaunchSquad’s Boston office – opened in 2010 – now has more than 11 full-time professionals. In the 16-person New York office, Lindsey Scott and Mike Schroeder were promoted to VP. Overall,
  • 113. Specialists, boutiques, small & mid-size firms headcount grew more than 20 percent. Thirty-eight new clients were added in 2012, including AOL, Clear Channel/iHeart Radio, Convercent, Joyent and Kurt Geiger. Other top clients include Aereo, Asana, Coursera, Exploratorium, J. Hilburn, Marketo, TIBCO, ZeptoLab and LevelUp. High-profile work includes launching online education darling Coursera; the high-profile launch of ZeptoLab’s Cut the Rope mobile game franchise and Aereo’s disruptive new service that enables consumers to bypass cable TV providers. “Whatever [LaunchSquad is] doing to attract the highest caliber people, it is really paying off,” says Michele Perry, VP of brand communications at Gazelle. “The quality of media and the volume of interviews and coverage is just the beginning. We feel like [LaunchSquad] are truly our partners and an extension of our team and we couldn’t be happier.” LaunchSquad focuses primarily on the domestic market, but also has four European based clients, including Russian gaming company ZeptoLab. The firm occasionally handles one-off international projects, especially in English-speaking areas and also taps into a loose partner network in various global regions. – ASh LEVICK STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS Public affairs, litigation and crisis communications, and financial communications WASHINGTON DC H NEW YORK OVER a dozen years, Levick Strategic Communications has evolved from a specialist in law firm marketing into one of the nation’s premier public affairs, corporate communications and crisis and issues management consultancies, with a particular expertise in litigation commu- nications but the depth and breadth to counsel clients on a wide range of mission-critical issues. That evolution reached something of a watershed in 2012, as the firm experienced the second-best revenue year in its history, thanks to a business development initiative that fully capitalised on Levick’s expanded breadth — which now includes a full suite of digital and social media services to a growing financial communications practice that handled four $1 billion-plus transactions last year—a success that led to the opening of an office in New York. The result is that Levick now has practice areas that offer senior level expertise in anti-corruption and compliance; crisis communications; financial communications; government and nonprofit; investor relations; litigation communications; public affairs and issues management; reputation management; social and digital media; and transaction communications. To deliver on all of that, president and CEO Richard Levick has built out a senior management team consisting of Washington veterans such as executive vice presidents Gene Grabowski, who expanded his remit to include business development member services; and Michael Robinson, a veteran of communications positions at the SEC and Mobil as well as The White House and Department of Justice. There were promotions to SVP level for Melissa Arnoff, Daniel Rene and Philip Elwood. The firm’s financial communications practice led returns in 2012, growing by 14 percent, while Levick’s industry-leading crisis and litigation practice continued to improve. Much of the new business, meanwhile came in the corporate and public affairs areas. This included such clients as the National Pork Producers Council, the Government of Antigua & Barbuda, Mortgage Masters, Mosaic Company, Freedom Group, and Witt O’Brien’s. They join an existing roster that includes CITGO Petroleum Corporation, National Association of Corporate Directors, Syngenta International AG, Stericycle, Lender Processing Services, Powdr, Think Finance, NAFSA and Kia Motors America, Inc. The usual mix of high-profile assignments included work for the Supreme Group, one of the world’s largest military and industrial logistical support companies, which suffered a serious reputational blow when Pentagon auditors determined that the organization had possibly overcharged the federal government by nearly $1 billion for services provided to US troops in Afghanistan over the past decade. Levick worked helped piece together the company’s story, helping to eventually exonerate Supreme and curb damaging news stories around the world. In addition, Supreme successfully fought the incorrect ruling by the auditors and substantially reduced its payment to the US government. “The Levick team proved to be extraordinarily creative and hard-working in helping protect our brand when activists attacked us and included us in an environmental lawsuit against chicken farmers living near the Chesapeake Bay,” said Perdue Farms president and CEO Jim Perdue. “Thanks to Levick’s assistance, our reputation as an unwavering steward of the environment has become better known to consumers, lawmakers and regulators.” Levick has substantial international expertise, often sending its own personnel to overseas markets to coordinate crisis and issues work, occasionally relying on local firms.—ASu LEWIS PR Technology public relations with strong digital capabilities SAN FRANCISCO H BOSTON H LOS ANGELES H NEW YORK H SAN JOSE H SEATTLE H WASHINGTON DC FOUNDED in the UK in 1995 by former journalist Chris Lewis, Lewis PR quickly established itself as a leader in its domestic market and then made its global ambitions clear. The firm opened its first US office, in San Diego, a decade ago, added a Boston office in 2000, a San Francisco operation in 2003 and has added an office each year since then (in order, Washington, D.C., New York, Los Angeles and in 2007 Seattle and San Jose), establishing itself as a significant force in technology PR on both sides or the Atlantic and in Asia. The firm has maintained its focus on the technology sector, but the past couple of years have seen an increased emphasis on developing digital and social media capabilities, and the firm’s pioneering work in that space have helped to attract a broader range of clients. After acquiring social media specialist Page One PR (now fully integrated under the Lewis Pulse brand and expanded to six markets around the world) in 2010, the firm developed a suite of services including social media audits, social media monitoring, search engine optimization, blogger relations, and community engagement. It has also launched LScore, a proprietary reporting, evaluation and measurement application. The past 12 months have seen a further restructuring so that in addition to Lewis Pulse, led by vice president and new hire Stephen Corsi—previously managing director at iCrossing—it now has groups focused on “breakthrough brands” (late-stage private companies, IPOs and public companies) headed by executive VP Lucy Allen, and on “emerging brands” (private companies, round A-C funding), led by senior VP Craig Oda. The US operations, meanwhile, continue to be led by Morgan McLintic, who joined in 1996 from www.holmesreport.com 115
  • 114. Agency Report Card 2013 North America pharma giant Glaxo. Globally, Lewis saw revenues increase by about 2.5 percent to around $36 million. Much of the growth has come in digital, where the firm now provides counsel to brands including Cisco, McAfee, Microsoft Silicon Valley, SAP and VMware. Additional new business came Akamai, the BBC, Bluewolf, Brother International, Nintendo, Porsche, Regus, Spotify, Texas Instruments, Unisys, and Vocus, among others. Splunk, the leading provider of operational intelligence software used to monitor, report and analyze real-time machine data, appointed Lewis last year to establish its technical leadership and prepare for an IPO, and the firm sought to rebrand Splunk as a leader in big data, updating the company’s corporate narrative and building brand awareness. Fast Company listed Splunk as number four on the World’s Most Innovative Companies list and the company doubled in valuation since IPO. Finally, Lewis has launched an initiative it calls Kupambana, a not-for-profit foundation that champions the appreciation of visual and creative arts, seeking to identify new artists, concepts and ideas in graphics, video, photography, illustration, music and fine art, and bringing together students and creative professionals to produce insightful research into applied creativity in communications. The launch was followed by a new Kupambana e-magazine.—PH LIPPE TAYLOR BRAND COMMUNICATIONS Consumer brand-building with a focus on women NEW YORK LIKE a number of firms, Lippe Taylor recognizes the increased purchasing power of women, as well as the empowerment of women consumers as a result of social media and “mommy blogging.” But Lippe Taylor differentiates itself by talking about marketing “with” women rather than “to” them, a distinction that has its roots in a suite of proprietary tools that allow the firm to understand the female consumer; its experience across multiple categories including fashion, beauty, food, lifestyle, and healthcare; and a holistic view of the marketing mix that houses public relations within a full suite of marketing services that includes positioning, advertising, trade and consumer promotion, digital platforms, and social marketing. All of which means that the firm’s tagline “Speak With Us About Speaking With Her,” is much more than an idle boast. 116 www.holmesreport.com Over the past 12 months, the firm as expanded its research and analytics offering by partnering with SheSpeaks, one of the largest communities powered by women to discuss trends, to create the “Women’s Buying Behavior Index.” Lippe Taylor also broadened its social media division, and grew its branding capabilities and integrated marketing work, creating advertising campaigns for a number of clients. Agency founder and CEO Maureen Lippe, a former fashion editor at Vogue and health and beauty editor at Harper’s Bazaar, continues to play a pivotal role at the agency, supported by a leadership team that includes executive vice presidents and group leaders Jessica DiPietro (beauty); Craig Alperowitz (consumer); and David Binkowski (digital marketing). Lippe Taylor achieved its best-ever billings year in 2012, growing revenues by 18 percent, thanks to growth from its beauty division, which added SensatioNail, Moroccanoil and Freeman Beauty. The fashion and health divisions also performed well, adding Keds, Genie Bra and Playtex. And the consumer practice hardly missed out, winning George Foreman Grills, Black & Decker, BUILT and Litter Genie. The firm’s existing include several that have been with the agency for numerous years — Energizer Personal Care, Reckitt Benckiser, Galderma, Nestlé, Paul Mitchell, Elizabeth Arden and Coty. 2013, meanwhile, included new busines from Allergan, ZeptoLab and L’Oreal Vichy. However, long-term client Ikea departed during the year, with Lippe Taylor choosing not to defend its assignment with the company. Interesting work ranged from CSR work for Ikea, to digital activity to Keds and and entertainment programme for Reckitt Benckiser’s Veet. The firm’s cause marketing campaign for Cetaphil also stood out. Lippe Taylor serves as global lead agency for a number of its clients, including Keds and Elizabeth Arden. It has affiliate relationships with several agencies around the world.—ASu offers partner-level account leadership, a wealth of Wall Street experience and opinion leader relationships, and financial media expertise to clients in the US and Latin America. Morgen was a credit and equity analyst before founding Morgen-Walke in 1982, and after its sale she served as group vice president and member of the strategic planning group at STMicroelectronics, one of Europe’s largest semiconductor companies, listed on the NYSE, Euronext and the Borsa Italiana. The rest of the MBS leadership team includes partners Betsy Brod, a 10-year Morgen-Walke veteran; Fabiane Goldstein, former investor relations manager at Unibanco; and Monique Skruzny, who led corporate finance and strategic communications, including investor relations, at AOL’s NASDAQ-traded subsidiary. The past 12 months have been eventful, with the acquisition of Farrell Kramer Communications, which added media relations and social media expertise to the firm’s US operations, and the opening of an office in São Paulo, Brazil. Under the leadership of Goldstein, the Brazilian office will build on the firm’s work with Latin American companies retail and consumer, energy, infrastructure and real estate industries. As a result, MBA has grown by about 25 percent over the past 18 months, thanks to engagements with US clients such as ICF International, Atlantic Tele-Network, nd NCI Building Systems, and Latin American companies Arcos Dorados, Oi, QG Group, and Brookfield Asset Management. MBS Value Partners has been involved in high-stakes client engagements both in the US and internationally including guidance resets, management transitions, proxy fights, M&A transactions, financings, IPOs, restructurings, turnarounds, major product launches, branding campaigns and crisis communications.—PH MCS HEALTHCARE PUBLIC RELATIONS Healthcare communications SUMMIT NJ MBS VALUE PARTNERS Financial communications NEW YORK LYNNE Morgen, who previously built Morgen-Walke Associates into one of the top independent firms in the US before selling to a private equity firm in 2000 and eventually seeing it absorbed into what is now FTI, has returned to the investor relations business in recent years with MBS Value Partners, which OVER 25 years, MCS has implemented award-winning programs for more than 100 of the nation’s largest and best-known pharmaceutical and biotech companies and brands, accumulating expertise in almost every therapeutic category. The majority of the firm’s work is focused on pharmaceutical product communications—from pre-clinical data announcements to outreach programs aimed at extending a product’s marketing life—but with an experienced senior leadership team, MCS
  • 115. Specialists, boutiques, small & mid-size firms can also provide crisis and issues management support, advice on advocacy group relationships, corporate reputation counsel, patient education programs, media training and internal communications support, and has increasingly been called upon to provide those broader services as the dynamics of the pharmaceutical industry have changed. In recent years, the firm also added expertise in digital and social media, and a media monitoring services, which works on both desktop and mobile platforms, and instantly filters stories for key messages and spokesperson quotes, providing clients with the most accurate and up-to-date picture of the media’s coverage of breaking news, events and regulatory milestones. The firm also introduced a new survey offer that allows MCS to poll consumers and professionals on the topics that matter to its clients. What hasn’t changed is a commitment to client service—each account is led by a member of the agency’s executive committee, a seasoned veteran with at least 15 or more years of experience—that has helped MCS maintain unusually long client relationships. For the past 19 years, the firm has been PR agency of record for Genentech’s Activase, educating the public about stroke. For more than a decade, it has partnered with the Head & Neck Cancer Alliance to provide PR support for its annual Oral, Head & Neck Cancer Awareness Week. For 10 years, it has worked to advance global understanding of several auto-immune diseases for Merck’s biologic Remicade. And since 2006, MCS has worked with CSL Behring to heighten awareness of two little-known but serious disorders: von Willebrand disease and hereditary angioedema. Founder Joe Boyd, who has client side experience as director of communications for Ciba-Geigy (now Novartis) Pharmaceuticals, specializes in issues management and crisis communications. He is supported by president Jeff Hoyak, who was senior director of communications at Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories and Lederle Laboratories before joining MCS, and brings expertise in media training, association-relations building and broadcast communications; executive VP Todd Forte, who previously worked at Novartis Pharmaceuticals and specializes in crisis communications, professional relations and internal communications; and vice president Brian Thompson. Revenues were down slightly in 2012, amid continuing tough times for the pharmaceutical sector, with ongoing work for Merck, Genentech (Roche), CSL Behring, MannKind, Qforma and PDR Network, and new assignments from Becton Dickinson and Reckitt Benckiser. The Partnership for Maternal Child Health of Northern New Jersey and the New Jersey Department of Health, meanwhile, collaborated with MCS to launch a statewide video contest focused on the importance of youth vaccinations, following a meningitis outbreak and pertussis epidemic that turned the media spotlight on the issue and created a teachable moment. “MCS Healthcare Public Relations has been the PR agency of record for Qforma since 2006,” says Al Reicheg, corporate development officer, Qforma. “Throughout those seven years, the MCS team has exposed our advanced analytics solutions to healthcare industry decision makers by securing high profile coverage in media outlets ranging from The Wall Street Journal and USA Today to the top pharma, biotech and medical device trade publications. MCS knows and keeps on top of the evolving healthcare business. Whether the topic is physician social networking or improving sales and marketing efficiency, MCS’ communications efforts have generated significant customer awareness of our capabilities, fueled business growth and brought value to our company. MCS operates in Canada, most Western and Eastern European countries, and Asia through a well-established network of independent public relations agencies.—PH MGA COMMUNICATIONS Full-service public relations, with issues management expertise DENVER OVER three decades in business, MGA founder Michael Gaughan and his team have never forgotten—unlike many of their peers—just what the words “public relations” mean. MGA is a firm that builds relationships between clients and their key stakeholders. It recognize that the purpose of PR—whether the tool is a press release or a community consultation—is to create meaningful human interaction, and it understands that those interactions must be built on a foundation integrity and mutual trust. The firm’s senior management team— chairman Gaughan is joined by president Jeff Julin and executive VP Cricket Smith—has worked ogether for more than 30 years, and its work over the course of 28 years around the Rocky Mountain Arsenal—once called “the most polluted site on earth,” exemplifies its approach and stands as an example of best practice in restoring credibility and repairing corporate reputation. Working with its client Shell Oil Company and officials from the US Army and US Fish and Wildlife Service, it has helped turn the chemical munitions and manufacturing site into one of the country’s largest urban wildlife refuges. “Turning the Refuge vision into reality was paramount for the Service and was largely made possible through the numerous financial and in-kind contributions made by Shell and MGA,” says Sherry James, visitor services manager at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal NWR. “The outcome of these contributions were extremely successful due to the strategic and creative planning performed by MGA  working side by side with the Service to ensure the mission goals were achieved…. The end result of many years of hard work and quality has paid off and now visitors can enjoy one of the largest urban national wildlife refuges in the country.  These partners have truly made the Refuge a better place for people and wildlife through their efforts and standards of excellence.” But MGA is equally comfortable handling more traditional projects, like helping Finnish company Vaisala introduce a revolutionary new product for the road weather maintenance industry. MGA used the launch to position Vaisala as an industry leader, grow its customer base, build closer relationships with its customers, increase internal teamwork and coordination, and, ultimately, drive sales. A cross-country tour, Vaisala Across America, brought the product to 45 cities over 16 weeks and generated extensive media coverage. Projects like that, along with continuing work for Noble Energy, Shell Frontier Oil and Gas, and QEP Resources, as well as new assignments for Colorado Department of Insurance, Ruben Brown, and the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, helped drive very healthy double-digit growth.—PH MRB Technology media relations specialist FREEHOLD NJ MICHAEL Becce’s firm has carved out a unique niche for itself in the crowded New York media relations scene (the firm is headquartered in Freehold, NJ), bringing together technology companies and business journalists to help craft create compelling technology feature stories. The approach is an outgrowth of the firm’s origins as a media research company, providing research www.holmesreport.com 11 7
  • 116. Agency Report Card 2013 North America packages that anticipated the needs of many media outlets. MRB still uses many of the same tools and tactics to develop story ideas for clients, making it one of the most successful media relations boutiques in the New York metropolitan area, generating client coverage in publications such as Business Week, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Fortune, and Time, and on CNBC, CNN, PBS, and The Today Show. An indication of just how embedded MRB is in that ecosystem, and just how seriously it takes it dual mandate of serving both its clients and the reporters who cover them, is its role in creating TechJournalists. com, which seeks to ensure technology writers have a consistent flow of projects to work on in light of staff reductions by many publishers. TechJournalists.com negotiates with publishers who have agreed to accept content from specific writers. News stories pitched and prepared by MRB, but assigned by the publishers to a writer in the firm’s group so that the content fits the media outlet’s existing style and tone. Becce, who founded the firm 20 years ago, serves as president and continues to take a hands-on approach with each of MRB’s clients, a list that includes Alteva, Cabinet Paperless, Camber, dinCloud, En Pointe Technologies, En Pointe Collaboration Solutions, Intellitar, KOM Networks, Protecode, and ToonUps. With new business from BluIP, CURE International, IPsmarx, Oxford Princeton Programme, and StrikeForce Technologies, revenue was up by about 20 percent. One focus is getting high-profile coverage for companies that are not exactly household names: like developing a segment on “avatars” for CBS News that saw Katie Couric sit down with a client for one-on-one interview, or helping a large Microsoft reseller make the cover of USA Today with a story about the software giant becoming more platform agnostic. Elsewhere, the firm raised the profile of Alteva, helping the company to its acquisition by WVT Communications Group (which subsequently took the Alteva name as a result of the company’s dominant mindshare). MRB also began working with StrikeForce Technologies, helping the company land major customers (a few banks, a manufacturer and healthcare provider) with a results-oriented campaign. MRB does some international PR through its US office, and occasionally uses small firms, individual practitioners, and freelancers in other regions on a project basis.—PH 118 www.holmesreport.com MARINA MAHER COMMUNICATIONS Consumer and healthcare brand-building firm NEW YORK WHEN Omnicom—parent company of global public relations brands Fleishman-Hillard, Ketchum and Porter Novelli—added Marina Maher Communications to its public relations holdings two years ago, chairman and chief executive John Wren was clear about his motivation: “They understand the importance of integration, and are equal partners with advertising, relationship marketing and all of the disciplines. MMC’s experience crafting brand strategy and positioning from the earliest stages of product introduction and deep understanding of consumers make them an integral part of the process.” Over its 28-year history, Marina Maher’s agency has established itself as one of the smartest and most strategic consumer public relations firms in the US, at building brand relationships for its clients by establishing an emotional connection between brands and their key audiences—and female consumers in particular. “MMC has continued to push the boundaries and think outside of the box,” says Walter Geiger, vice president and general manager North America hair care at Procter & Gamble. “On a business like Head & Shoulders, their creative thinking has led to ‘never seen before’ ideas and execution that surprises and delights our consumers on a daily basis.” That creativity comes from three decades of work with brands seeking to build deep and lasting relationships with consumers, from Wonderbra (MMC handled the original US launch, a landmark consumer campaign) to Procter & Gamble brands such as Venus, Clairol, Herbal Essences and CoverGirl (MMC has been cited by P&G CMO Marc Pritchard as an example of PR-led marketing) to Kimberly-Clark’s Depend (the winner of this year’s Platinum SABRE award for the best campaign in the US) to Novo Nordisk and the Merck Women’s Health franchise—the latter efforts helping to earn a firm once known exclusively for its consumer work our Healthcare Agency of the Year designation a couple of years ago. Along with the growth of the health and wellness business—now about half of the firm’s revenues—there has been considerable growth within MMC’s Creative Catalyst Group, which creates narratives and strategies designed to reach consumers at the moments that most influence their decisions and which now includes an onsite video studio. Jane Brody Koenke joined as chief creative and inspiration officer and head of a new “shopper marketing” offer. Other key additions included Alyssa Garnick as managing director, consumer and Danielle Damiano, as group SVP, health and well-being. They join a leadership team that includes founder and CEO Marina Maher; chief operating officer Carolyn Berke; consumer practice leader Nancy Lowman Labadie; head of health and well-being Diana Littman Paige; and chief brand reputation officer Debra Gaynor. The firm enjoyed another year of doubledigit growth in 2012, ending the year with fee income well in excess of $30 million. There was new business from Bayer Consumer Care and Merck Consumer Healthcare in the health and wellness space, and from Stainmaster (for shopper marketing and other communications services) and Target Brands (for consumer electronics). They join a roster that includes mainstays such as Procter & Gamble, Novo Nordisk, Merck and Kimberly-Clark. Standout campaigns included a Head &Shoulders viral video campaign, part of the brand’s partnership with the NFL; P&G’s Thank You Mom Olympics campaign; Depend and the Great American Try On, which tackled the sensitive subject of adult incontinence with maturity; and the expanded year two program for Secret Mean Stinks, an anti-bullying initiative. The firm added international capabilities with the creation of MMK (powered by MMC and Ketchum), a new partnership with Ketchum Public Relations to service P&G business globally.—PH MAKOVSKY + COMPANY Business-to-business marketing with technology, healthcare, financial services and investor relations expertise NEW YORK KEN Makovsky launched Makovsky + Company 34 years ago, into an already crowded New York marketplace. It’s hard to say which is more impressive: the things that haven’t changed in the three decades since
  • 117. Specialists, boutiques, small & mid-size firms that launch, or the things that have. In the latter category, you could count the decency and integrity that have been the hallmarks of his management style since the early days of his firm. Makovsky has spoken of his conviction that “public relations is a scared trust,” that the practice, employed correctly, has the potential to benefit both business and society. You could add the focus on client service that led Makovsky to introduce one of the PR industry’s first “total quality management” programs back in the 1980s, and that continues today through an internal client review committee and quarterly calls to clients by an independent auditor. You could also cite his commitment to internationalism, as a founder of IPREX, the international network of independent PR firms that has grown to include partners in 37 US markets and 26 countries. Most significantly, you could discuss the firm’s commitment to “the power of specialized thinking,” an approach that underpins his firm’s ability to help clients communicate complex and often highly technical information to a broad audience across specialized practice areas such as financial and professional services, health sciences, and technology (the latter including a new focus on the energy sector). But Makovsky has also adapted his thinking and his firm’s positioning to reflect recent developments in the field, recasting a 30-year-old firm as a serious player in the digital and social media age. Makovsky was one of the first PR agency chief executives to launch his own blog, providing insightful and incisive commentary on an array of issues and being named one of the country’s top 10 CEO bloggers by Chief Executive magazine. At the same time, he has been relentlessly modernizing Makovsky + Company’s approach, a process that has included the launch of a new digital branding group, incorporating digital and social expertise, and Makovsky Corporate Advisors, a new practice that counsels corporations on everything from internal communications to labor disputes to mergers and acquisitions. The firm also opened a Washington, DC, office last year, hiring Andy Beck, former head of MWW’s Energy practice and before that director of public affairs for the US Department of Energy. He joins an unusually strong management team for a midsized firm, including Tim Wallace, head of corporate strategy, who provides counsel on crisis management and branding assignments; veteran healthcare executive Gil Bashe; former Burson-Marsteller corporate practice chair Andrew Goldberg, who leads the corporate advisory practice; and executive VPs Scott Tangney (leader of the financial and professional services practice) and Timothy Kane (branding and visual communications); and head of technology and energy Matt Wolfrom, former head of Edelman’s corporate and financial practice. The firm grew by 8.3 percent in 2012 to $13.5 million, with the healthcare practice now at around $5 million and digital branding growing the fastest. New business came from Mercedes-Benz (a major social media campaign), Fidelity Institutional Wealth, Kirkland & Ellis, Western Union, JG Wentworth, Cracker Barrel, Mahindra Satyam, Cisco, WebMd, and Boehringer Ingelheim, while Makovsky continued to work with Kowa Pharmaceuticals (a specialty pharmaceuticals company), risk advisory firm Crystal & Company, Actavis, Russell Reynolds Associates, Korean asset management company Mirae Assets, and Stroz Friedberg. Working with Kowa and Eli Lilly, Makovsky created the Understanding Statin use in America & Gaps in Education (USAGE), a cholesterol survey of more than 10,100 patients that sought to understand why patients stop taking statins and led to improved patientphysician dialogue. To showcase the strengths of Russell Reynolds, meanwhile, the firm tapped into RRA’s understanding of changing talent needs within the C-Suite and boardroom to generate media-ready articles, white papers, studies and presentations and drive media coverage. The firm also reinforced its thought leadership with its Wall Street Reputation Study, looking at the troubled image of financial services firms in the wake of the global financial crisis; an examination of the way in which CMOs and CCOs Battle Over the Web; and an Online Healthcare Information survey that examined how consumers access health information digitally. Many of Makovsky’s communications programs are international in scope. In 2012, the firm worked with IPREX partners in the Europe, Asia, South America and the Middle East to direct assignments for clients.—PH MARCH PR Technology & B2B BOSTON BY now, the impact of the digital world on public relations is well-documented. Beyond the obvious media implications, however, is the power of new technologies to help PR practitioners bring real insight into client programmes and strategies. Boston tech PR firm March PR is one of many to be making strides in this regard, thanks in part to a new positioning that aims to ‘take the guesswork out of PR’. That ability to understand a client’s business issues rests on some specific factors, which March believes sets it apart from other firms in its weight class. The first is its international heritage, thanks to founder Martin Jones and Cheryl Gale, both Band & Brown veterans who launched the latter firm in the US after deparing London. The second is March’s digital capabilities, which has seen the firm build social media platforms for numerous clients. March has also invested in developing a stronger content marketing unit, that aims to translate website traffic into tangible new business opportunities. All of this is underpinned by the March Insight platform that combines monitoring tools with predictive analytics. The agency employs analysts to organize the data into easy-to-understand information, and then uses the findings to monitor competitors, market forces, emerging trends and key influencers. In this way, March PR hopes to map comms plans against competitive forces and emerging media cycles. Since its inception in 2005, March has grown steadily amid Boston’s fertile technology sector. Most recently, the firm’s revenue grew 37 percent to $2.3m, employee 24 full time employees. The firm remains committed to a lower fee per head of $120k (versus an industry average of $175k), believing that it balances healthy profitability without overstretching staff and affecting quality. The firm has also launched a networking program that helps it generate buzz across the media and tech industry in the city, and rolled out a new website and refreshed logo earlier this year, tying in with a significant office move. Overall, March’s employee culture is worth noting — the firm has put in place various incentives and bonuses to help ensure the agency is focused on lifestyle rather than profits, a critical differentiator for an agency of it size. In 2012 and 2013, won a number of new accounts, largely through word-of-mouth referrals and via its international network. These included Acronis, Avecto, CDN.net, CSR, Curata, GlassHouse Technologies, IPSoft, Lavastorm Analytics, OnApp, Open Xchange, Peer1 Hosting, Pitney Bowes, Roamz and Riverbed. Major existing clients include CloudSigma, ExtraHop, Interxion, NCP, TuneUp Utilities and Workshare. Campaign highlights included a fast paced media relations campaign during Hurricane Sandy for Peer 1 Hosting, following damage to the client’s Manhattan datacenter facility. www.holmesreport.com 119
  • 118. Agency Report Card 2013 North America March successfully raised awareness of the company’s efforts to get fuel to generators, resulting in significant media coverage. “I’ve worked with several agencies and my experience with March has exceeded all my expectations,” says Lucy Millington, senior director of global corporate communications at Acronis. “The team is made up of professionals who are proactive, results-driven and easy to work with. It’s important that my agency is able to help me on both a strategic and tactical level.” March is an active member of ION, a global PR organization founded by Octopus in the UK. Around 50 percent of its clients are headquartered in Europe.—ASu MCNEELY PIGOTT & FOX PUBLIC RELATIONS Regional public affairs specialist NASHVILLE MCNEELY Pigott & Fox is Tennessee’s largest public relations firm. Based in Nashville with a satellite office in Washington, DC, it has earned over the 25 years since its inception a national reputation for crisis and issues management as well as regional and national public affairs and advocacy work. MPF’s staff of 65 works under the leadership of senior partner Mark McNeely, founding partner Mike Pigott, and partners David Fox, Katy Varney, and Keith Miles—joined in 2012 by two longtime employees, Alice Chapman and Andrew Maraniss—for a wide range of corporate, institutional and government clients, who appreciate the value of senior-level involvement in their business and a strong client service ethos. The “campaign management” approach to public affairs—and the broader PR business— in recent years, with PR firms offering corporate clients an approach that draws on the techniques of political campaigns—a heavy research component, integration of communications strategies, and above all else a relentless focus on winning—rather than traditional public relations. None of this is news to MP&F, which has been using precisely that approach for two decades, drawing on in-house capabilities in every area of campaign management, including in-house research, design and video expertise and growing digital and social media experience. Revenues were flat last year, but the firm benefits from impressive loyalty from longtime clients such as the US Department of Labor (Job Corps) and Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority, while there was new 120 www.holmesreport.com business in 2012 from BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee and Kirkland’s, among others. One highlight last year was helping to plan and manage a series of events and promotions celebrating the 75th anniversary of Nashville International Airport, a campaign that included a series of vendor, civic leader, employee and customer events, production of a commemorative table book, and a contest in partnership with the Nashville Convention &Visitors Bureau. “The entire company, starting with the partners, long ago internalized the truism that ‘people don’t care about how much you know until they know about how much you care,’” says George Largay of client Manheim Auctions. “They take the time to learn our business; they are the best active listeners I’ve ever worked with. Total trust and candor, no cookie cutter solutions to our needs, it’s all ‘what are you trying to accomplish’ and then go from there, warp speed responsive. Open in everything they do—open to new ideas, open door policy with employees, open minded.”—PH MIDDLEBERG COMMUNICATIONS Digital and social media specialist NEW YORK DON Middleberg built his previous agency, Middleberg & Associates, into the largest and most prestigious of the dot-com public relations specialists before selling to Havas in 2000. He left that firm (by then it had become part of Euro RSCG Magnet) in 2004 and after a year of enforced absence as a result of a non-compete began building a new business, which not surprisingly offers strong digital capabilities, this time as part of a “converged media” model that brings together earned, owned, and paid media solutions for clients. To do this, Middleberg has integrated the offer of his own firm—which had acquired boutique firms in the financial and professional services and consumer spaces—with social media agency Laundry Service, headed by president and founder Jason Stein. The two now operate seamlessly under a single P&L. Revenues are now around $3.5 million, up 15 percent, with social media work accounting for the vast majority of the growth. The firm has picked up a mix of consumer and businessto-business accounts including, Rachel Roy, Casnova, Lendkey, SkyCityApartments, Citrix, Ryan Partnership, Bidkind, and Adolfo Carrion (an independent candidate for Mayor of New York). Interesting work included the US introduction of Essence cosmetics for Cosnova and social media work involving Justin Bieber. To provide international reach, Middleberg has formed a relationship with Nigel Kennedy (formerly head of Grayling in the UK) and his new firm, Commucan.—PH WILLIAM MILLS AGENCY Financial services specialist with growing technology capabilities ATLANTA FOR most of its 35-year history, Atlanta-based William Mills Agency has focused on providing a full range of public relations services to clients in the financial services industry, developing a deep understanding of products, services, issues and trends impacting the sector; nurturing close relationships with media and opinion leaders; and building up a roster of clients that include financial institutions and companies that provide technology solutions and services to banks, payment providers, mortgage lenders and other financial services. Founder Bill Mills Jr., a recognized leader in financial marketing, passed away early in 2012, but the family business is in good hands, under the leadership of chairman of the board and chief financial officer Eloise Mills, a 35-year veteran; chief executive officer William Mills III, who serves as lead consultant for the agency’s clients; and president Scott Mills, who is responsible for guiding account teams and for day-to-day management. The experience of that leadership team is paramount, but the firm has also developed a process designed to ensure quality control and consistency. Intelligent Information Integration, or I3, provides a PR action plan or “roadmap” that identifies and leverages a company’s strategic objectives, unique content, expertise, value proposition and media opportunities. “William Mills Agency has a very good relationship with the financial industry publications,” says Chuck Klein, chief executive of Integrated Media Management, which specializes in output management and document automation technology for financial institutions. “In a short period of time, we were able to get a number of substantial articles included in various publications. Our presence in the marketplace has been substantially increased. We’ve had articles published as case studies of customers we’ve installed or as ideas and thoughts that are of interest to the financial industry.” William Mills Agency added 32 new clients in 2012, helping the firm to 20 percent growth, and continued its work with companies such
  • 119. Specialists, boutiques, small & mid-size firms as Equifax, Cardlytics and Jack Henry & Associates. Highlights included a major program for MoneyDesktop, a personal financial management platform, and ongoing work with Equifax to promote the value of its monthly credit trends report. The firm has opened an office in Mumbai to provide specialized public relations communications programs for companies in India and the Asia-Pacific region.—PH MITCHELL COMMUNICATIONS GROUP Consumer and corporate PR with strong digital and social capabilities FAYETTEVILLE AR TWENTY years ago, chief executive John Graham turned a well-regarded St Louis-based PR agency into a major global force. It may be a little early to anoint Elise Mitchell’s firm the next FleishmanHillard, but its transformation over the course of the past three years, from an obscure Arkansas agency into the potential leader of a new international public network, makes it the most interesting new PR brand to emerge from the American heartland in a long time. It’s worth taking a moment to review the history. Founded in 1995, Mitchell Communications Group is no one’s idea of an overnight success, steadily building a strong regional client list without attracting much national attention until it was named PR Week’s Small Agency of the Year in 2011 and The Holmes Report’s Small Agency of the Year 12 months later. But it has new featured on the Inc list of the country’s fastest-growing companies for two consecutive years, and after better than 40 percent growth in 2012, ranked among the world’s top 100 agencies with a staff of 76 and fee income just shy of $15 million. That was enough to attract the attention of Dentsu Network, a worldwide group of marketing agencies (82 offices in 29 countries around the world) operated by the Japanese advertising agency, which acquired Mitchell in January of 2013 and named Elise Mitchell as chief executive of the new Dentsu Public Relations Network. Since then, she has been traveling the globe, meeting her new partners, assessing acquisition opportunities, and relishing the opportunity to build a new global network of public relations firms that will—if it comes to fruition—offer an entrepreneurial, collaborative alternative to the existing international agencies. Meanwhile, the core US business continues to flourish, under a leadership team that includes president Sarah Clark, a former Walmart corporate communications executive who also serves as chief strategy officer; chief operating officer Michael Clark; and Blake Woolsey, who serves as senior vice president and head of the firm’s center for training and leadership. The firm has a good balance of consumer business (led by vice president Susan Morgenstern) spanning consumer media relations and special events; corporate work (led by VP Shea Davis) including crisis and issues management, corporate reputation, employee engagement, and corporate social responsibility; and formidable creative services and digital and social media capabilities, underpinned by a research and insights group that is a differentiator among other midsize firms. The client list is hugely impressive, featuring national and international brand names such as Walmart and Sam’s Club, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Tyson, Procter & Gamble, Southwestern Enery, and JB Hunt. Highprofile work last year ranged from Tyson’s KNOW Hunger cause-related marketing campaign, which provided food donations and other support in the wake of natural disasters to Walmart store openings, from a holiday season blogger tour for P&G’s Febreze brand to an effort to showcase compressed natural gas as “a fuel of the future” for Southwestern Energy. “Mitchell Communications has won the respect and the business of many decisionmakers throughout Walmart because of their relentless pursuit and delivery of results,” says Mona Williams, the retail giant’s vice president of corporate communications. Adds Tim Marrin, associate director of external relations for P&G, “In a very short period of time, Mitchell has established itself as an important partner to our team. Their ability to be strategic and creative has made them an asset that clearly differentiates our initiatives.”—PH NATIONAL PUBLIC RELATIONS Multi-specialist best known for corporate, issues management and public affairs work MONTREAL H CALGARY H TORONTO H VANCOUVER H NEW YORK THE death earlier this year of National Public Relations founder and chairman Luc Beauregard robbed the Canadian public relations business of its most successful business leader and its most passionate advocate. Over 35 years, Beauregard had built National into Canada’s largest public relations firm by a considerable distance and a top 30 agency globally, with 300 employees in 10 Canadian offices (St John was a new addition in 2012) and operations in New York and London, generating fee income in excess of $52 million. But it is not just the firm’s size that impresses. National can offer expertise in six major practices—corporate communications, investor relations, public affairs, marketing, technology and healthcare communications— with strong specialist capabilities in corporate social responsibility, employee engagement, media strategy, and digital and social media through its fast-growing Sonic Boom unit. And it has formidable depth of experience in the healthcare, energy and natural resources sectors, which together represent about half of its business. In those sectors, National has the ability to handle complex, often mission-critical business issues, from product recalls to corporate malfeasance to corporate restructurings to regulatory and public policy challenges, supplemented by unrivaled expertise in aboriginal affairs, an increasingly important component of public consultation north of the border. That kind of work puts a premium of senior talent, and National has more than its share. The leadership team includes president JeanPierre Vasseur, and managing partner John Crean, who also heads the flagship Toronto office. Beyond that trio, National’s management team is impressively diverse, drawing on a broad range of experts: MBAs, CFAs, and CAs lead the marketing and financial practices; PhDs lead the clinical research and medical education efforts; engineers provide counsel to clients in the resources sector; and LLBs help manage litigation assignments. New additions last year include Joanna Wilson to lead the healthcare practice in Toronto; former Wall Street Joural reporter Joel Baglole; Edelman veteran Jennifer Meehan, inVentiv Health’s Darcy Kelley, and Ujwal Arkulgud, formerly with Peppers and Rogers Group, who joined Sonic Boom in Toronto; and Tara Wickwire, former senior manager of public relations for The Gap, who joined the Halifax office. The digital operation grew dramatically, the healthcare practice benefited from a new focus on clinical trial recruitment, and the financial communications practice added special situations and transactions work (including Maple Group’s successful acquisition of the TMX Group, the deal of the year in Canada). www.holmesreport.com 121
  • 120. Agency Report Card 2013 North America The result was a 22 percent increase in fees to around $52.5 million, with new business from Purolator, Xstrata, Target (Quebec), Cliffs Natural Resources and Health Canada supplementing existing relationships with Ford of Canada, Hoffmann-La Roche, Alcon Laboratories, Enbridge, Progress Energy Resources, Merck Serono, Janssen, Accenture, TransAlta Corporation, Novo Nordisk, Teck, Bristol Myers Squibb, and McDonald’s. The firm’s work with Malaysia’s national oil and gas company, Petronas, continued throughout 2012, and National provided counsel during all phases of its joint venture and its eventual, much scrutinized acquisition of Progress Energy Resources, another client of the firm. National organized key events for Rio Tinto in 2012, including regional tours by its global CEO and the CEO of Rio Tinto Alcan, and supported a major modernization initiative with an innovative recruiting event, the Rio Tinto Café. For Ford of Canada, meanwhile, the firm expanded its digital and social media mandate while continuing to provide consumer and lifestyle media relations, employee communications, speakers’ bureau and issues management. “National is more than an agency partner, we see them as an integrated part of the in-house team,” says Lauren More, vice-president of communications at Ford of Canada. “National has been able to amplify our media coverage by getting Ford included in high-profile broadcast opportunities and unexpected consumer and lifestyle features. Their ability to seamlessly work with multiple teams under Ford’s WPP family of agencies has ensured that public relations remains at the forefront of our strategic communications efforts.” The firm has its own offices in New York and London UK, and a satellite operation in Copenhagen, and partners with WPP sister agency Burson-Marsteller in other markets as necessary. It also became a member this year of AMO, a network of specialist financial and corporate communications firms with offices in key capital markets.—PH OLSON ENGAGE Multispecialist with strong brand-building, social media capabilities CHICAGO H MINNEAPOLIS H NEW YORK H SAN FRANCISCO CHICAGO-BASED Dig Communications, founded by Peter Marino in 2004, was well on its way to being one of the hottest young PR firms in the country when it was acquired by 122 www.holmesreport.com Twin Cities ad agency Olson in December of 2010. That acquisition recognized the opportunity for public relations to play an increasingly central role in the brand-building process and the fact that Dig was one of the few firms with the talent and creative verve to capitalize on that opportunity. Since then—and despite the departure of Marino for a role with longtime client MillerCoors—the firm has continued its impressive upward trajectory, and now has more than 75 people in four offices generating fee income for 2012 of around $15 million, enough to rank among the top 100 PR firms in the world. Olson’s philosophy is that “connection is all that counts,” and while that sounds like a view uniquely suited to public relations, it permeates the company’s other businesses: creative, digital, mobile and loyalty marketing. The firm starts every assignment with an approach it calls “brand anthropology,” designed to provide deeper insight into the relationships between its clients and the communities they serve, and then to forge even deeper connections. Often that means blending traditional consumer work with social media engagement, corporate social responsibility and community outreach—a philosophy underscored by the decision to rebrand the PR operation as Olson Engage earlier this year. With the departure of Marino, Bryan Specht—a five-year Dig veteran, formerly chief operating officer and head of corporate affairs—took the helm, bringing experience from Weber Shandwick, where he led several American Airlines assignments. He has support from executive creative director Josh Lohrius, formerly of Burson-Marsteller, and senior VP Steve Peckham, who formerly managed holistic services across Olson and now leads the Minneapolis PR operation. New additions included former Waggener Edstrom corporate practice leader Michele Clarke and Alyssa Sperber, most recently of Dentsu, as vice presidents in the growing New York office. New business came from Mars’ Royal Canin brand (as social agency of record) and TiVo and the Minneapolis Airport Commission (PR agency of record) as well as the Belize Tourism Board, Cars. com, and MillerCoors brands Crispin Cider Co., Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Co. and Redd’s Apple Ale. Those wins join existing clients MillerCoors, Wrigley, Kraft Foods, General Mills, PepsiCo, Johnson Controls, Reynolds Consumer Products, GoPro and FitBit to make up an impressive list of blue-chip brands. Highlights of the work, meanwhile, included Oscar Mayer’s “Wienermobile Run,” which was  featured in the New York Times for refashioning the six iconic 27-foot franks on wheels as social-engagement vehicles via a cross-country road rally, and a crowd-sourced Super Bowl ad for Quill.com’s Dunder Mifflin that scored national media coverage despite running only in Scranton, Pa., as an impetus for the change.—PH O’MALLEY HANSEN COMMUNICATIONS Consumer and corporate communications ST. LOUIS H CHICAGO KELLY O’Malley and Todd Hansen worked together on the McDonald’s account at international public relations giant Fleishman-Hillard, the former focusing on consumer marketing and food and nutrition communications, the latter on corporate positioning and issues management. They launched their own firm in 2006 with an approach that recognized the growing influence of consumer conversations on corporate messaging and the growing convergence of corporate and consumer PR as once distinct stakeholder groups increasingly interact, and sought to help clients address three disruptive trends: the fragmentation of media channels; the growing ability and willingness of audiences to participate in conversations with media and brands themselves; and the increasing need to make communications less formal and more authentic. The firm’s blended approach can be seen in its work for Hanesbrands, one of its largest and longest-standing clients. O’Malley Hansen started out handling corporate and issues management work, but then pitched for and won several brand-building projects, and more recently has been handling mainstream and multicultural marketing assignments. It has also demonstrated its ability to deliver international campaigns. The firm is now working with Hanes in Latin America, managing a host of social responsibility issues— health and wellness, environmental protection and responsible marketing—in Costa Rica and conducting media outreach in Dominican Republic, Honduras and El Salvador. The firm continues to focus on five core expertise areas: consumer marketing, corporate reputation, social media, influencer communications and employee engagement. But in the past year, it has handled more business-to-business communications work, much of it incorporating social media channels. The result is that O’Malley Hansen has diversified its client roster beyond longstanding anchor client HanesBrands to include the
  • 121. Specialists, boutiques, small & mid-size firms American Soybean Association, the Art Institute of St. Louis, Naterra’s Baby Magic brand, Bimbo Bakeries, Brown Shoe, Center for Food Integrity, Charter Communications, Fortune Brands, Monsanto, Reliv International, Revell, Royal Canin, and Tim Smith’s Climax Moonshine. All of that new business helped to replace the revenue lost when longtime client Hillshire Brands sold its Sara Lee Bakery to BBU and its foodservice beverage business to JM Smuckers. Other interesting work included unveiling a revamped product line and a new marketing campaign designed to make Playtex bras more relevant to Millenials, using social media to draft a “Braclaration of Independence that generated an exclusive in USA Today, and coverage on BuzzFeed, Gawker, AdAge and elsewhere. For the Center for Food Integrity, O’Malley Hansen created a five-part video series to educate consumers, primarily moms, about the benefits, safety, nutrition and labeling of genetically modified foods. The firm also handled the regional launch of reality stars Tim Smith’s Climax Moonshine in two southern states.—PH THE OUTCAST AGENCY Tech PR SAN FRANCISCO H NEW YORK MORE than two years after its founders Margit Wennmachers and Caryn Marooney departed the firm, OutCast remains among the most respected—and sought after—tech agencies. Under the leadership of new CEO Alex Constantinople, the agency has retained a high-profile client portfolio that includes Facebook, Amazon, Box, Zynga, Andreesen Horowitz, JawBone, Spotify, Nest, Dolby, and Pinterest. It continues to assemble an all-star roster that is diversified beyond pure tech players with additions, such as, L’Oreal, GE and Sephora. Revenues were slightly up from 2011 at $18.7 million, generated by 90 employees primarily in San Francisco and New York. The firm’s next big challenge is expanding beyond its known sweet spot: killer media relations. Already, it has made heavy investments in creative services, digital, as well as brand and integrated marketing. Among the key hires to support this transition has been Jenny Dearing as SVP and integrated services lead. Now nearly threefourths of the agency delivers hybrid services. While OutCast is known for its consumer tech chops, in 2012 50% of its clients were pure consumer; 30% were enterprise – and about 17% straddled both. Client losses included Yahoo, Autodesk and VMware. When possible, OutCast manages international projects for clients – or assists in finding relevant support.—ASh PAN COMMUNICATIONS Technology PR firm with growing healthcare and consumer capabilities BOSTON AT the end of 2010, when many other firms were hunkered down and hoping to weather the recession, Boston-based PAN Communications celebrated its 15th anniversary by embarking on an ambitious growth strategy. It moved its offices from suburban Andover to new downtown space, expanded its digital and content creation capabilities, and reaffirming its commitment to expanding beyond the technology sector—where it is still perhaps best known—into life sciences and broader consumer work. What ties clients from all three sectors together is PAN’s enthusiasm and experience serving emerging and innovative growth companies. The firm is known for its collaborative culture—brainstormings bring together people from the entire agency, regardless of whether they work on a specific account—and its ability to deliver outstanding media results in both traditional and digital channels. The firm is led by founder and president Phil Nardone, responsible for strategic direction, and executive vice president Mark Nardone, who heads client service, new business development and marketing. They are supported by senior vice president of client relations John Barbagallo, formerly of Porter Novelli, and vice presidents Jason Ouellette (technology), Gene Carozza, Elizabeth Famiglietti (human resources), and Gary Torpey (finance), a new addition Nicole Messier-Marino, a 15-year industry veteran. Revenues were flat last year, but the firm continues to demonstrate its ability to retain and grow its existing clients, a list that includes names such as Parexel, SDL, Responsys, Travelers, Ipswitch, CloudBees, Athenahealth, Pri-Med, Tiffany, and PicsArt. The firm’s work for clients such as Parexel and Travelers showcases one of its major strengths, identifying individuals and issues that establish the companies as thought leaders in various vertical markets. Among more recent additions, PAN was retained by Mercury Systems to develop thought leadership for the brand and its CEO after a company reorganization. “PAN brings a lot of energy and insight to our business and the guidance to help us build stories that resonate with both the local doctor and national beat writers covering health care policy.” Says Rick Watson, chief marketing officer of Pri-Med. “They bring a sizable team with diverse experience to our business and they are fun to sweat the details with. Also, when the unexpected story comes along, they are quick to help you frame the right approach.” PAN leads several international campaigns for clients, selecting international partners based on the service offerings and chemistry considerations.—PH PMK*BNC Entertainment public relations LOS ANGELES H NEW YORK H LONDON FOUR years since the highly-publicized merger of Interpublic-owned entertainment firm BNC (the former Bragman Nyman Cafarelli) and PMK, the combined entity has built a distinctive position of using science to understand pop culture. This layers on top of the firm’s impressive client list of celebrities, creative talent and corporate brands, and brand communications, event marketing and publicity, content development, influencer outreach and product placement offerings. As part of its positioning as the intersection of pop culture and science, PMK*BNC has amplified its use of data, insights and intelligence for measurement and analysis with services like FanDNA, influencer marketing, talent procurement and its conversation predictive model. This approach has yielded growth across all of its practice areas, including its new brand consultation area. Revenues in 2012 were up by about 31% with the agency top grossing verticals being entertainment, consumer lifestyle and telecommunications. Senior leadership includes Michael Nyman and co-chairman Cindi Berger, and Chris Robichaud, who share chief executive responsibilities; vice chairman and executive VP Brad Cafarelli; and EVPs Monica Chun (responsible for the marketing practice); Lewis Kay (entertainment) and Scott Floyd (business development). Over the past 12 months, PMK*BNC’s consulting assignments have grown with ongoing assignments with Diageo and Conde Nast. Other high-profile work includes the marketing and communications around Samsung Mobile’s “The Next Big Thing,” campaign. The firm’s Activision team played a role in the campaign for video game “Call of www.holmesreport.com 123
  • 122. Agency Report Card 2013 North America Duty: Black Ops 2,” which grossed $1 billion in 15 days. New wins included: Conde Nast, Diageo, American Music Awards, Fiji Water, All3Media, Real Networks, Competitor Group Inc., and Dick Clark Productions. Other clients include, Audi, Activision, JC Penney, Jenny Craig, Pepsi, T-Mobile, Beats by Dre, Jordan, Beiersdorf (Nivea), The Honest Company, Jimmy Kimmel Live, The CW and The Weinstein Co., in addition to the roughly 300 celebrity clients. “PMK*BNC’s thinking, level of responsiveness and attention to detail perfectly aligns with our real-time marketing approach, premium brand positioning and our ‘The Next Big Thing is Here’ product innovation stories, which have been key drivers to our brand/ business success,” said Todd Pendleton, CMO, Samsung Mobile USA. The agency has international capabilities with its London office, as well as via IPG’s network.—ASh PADILLA CRT Full service PR firm MINNEAPOLIS H NEW YORK H LOS ANGELES H VIRGINIA H WASHINGTON DC THE merger—announced earlier this year—of venerable Minneapolis firm Padilla Speer Beardsley and Richmond-based CRT/tanaka brought together two of the most respected midsize independents in the country to create Padilla CRT, a firm that ranks among the top 10 independents in the US and the 50 largest public relations firms in the world, according to The Holmes Report 250. With 2012 fee income in excess of $29 million in 2012, the merged firm will have 200 employee-owners spread across offices in Minneapolis, New York, Los Angeles, Virginia and Washington, DC. Padilla chief executive Lynn Casey will serve as chair and CEO of PadillaCRT, while her CRT/tanaka counterpart Mark Raper will be president. Other CRT executives, including president Mike Mulvihill, chief creative officers Patrice Tanaka and Kelley O’Keefe, and consumer practice chief Ellen LaNicca, will join with Padilla executives such as executive vice president and tech practice leader Matt Kucharski, senior vice president of the manufacturing practice Kathy Burnham, and senior VP of corporate and investor relations Marian Briggs to create one of the deepest 124 www.holmesreport.com management teams in any midsize agency. In addition, all of CRT’s employees will become part of Padilla’s employee ownership plan—a major factor in making the deal happen, according to Casey and Raper. (The two firms have worked together for several years as part of The Lumin Collaborative, an industry think tank, and are convinced that their cultures will be compatible and complementary.) The deal will provide Padilla with a significant presence in New York, where CRT/tanaka has a 25 person New York office, created through the acquisitions of Patrice Tanaka & Co. and food and beverage specialist Lewis & Neale. In addition, CRT brings extensive consumer and healthcare capabilities; a brand strategy group led by O’Keefe (of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Brandcenter); an account planning function; and digital, social and content creation capabilities clients are looking for as part of a more integrated approach. PSB, meanwhile, was probably best known for its business-to-business marketing and corporate reputation capabilities, a strong investor relations offer, and strength in crisis and litigation communications. It also has its own digital team and a research and insights division of unusual depth for a firm its size. Clients of the merged firm include BASF, Merck, UnitedHealth Group, Girl Scouts of the USA, 3M, Barnes & Noble College, US Highbush Blueberry Council, Wines from Rioja (Spain), Land O’Lakes, Cargill, Rockwell Automation, Ditch Witch, and RTI Surgical. Padilla picked up new business last year from the global retail division of SAP; multi-channel brand-building campaigns for Rec Boat Holdings, Midwest & Mountain Dental, Deluxe Corp. and Torax Medical; and investor relations for Patterson Companies. CRT added assignments from CarMax, Hass Avocado Board, and Valor Chocolate from Spain. PSB helped new client Deluxe enter new markets as North America’s largest check printer transforms itself into an online marketing-services growth engine for small business, and managed patient and third-party influencer communications for physicians and clinics in the Upper Midwest whose patients were or could have been exposed to a rare and potentially deadly infection through products obtained from an East Coast supplier. CRT’s most interesting work involved helping the Partnership at Drugfree.org with a new campaign focused on teen medicine abuse, generating conversation among influencers in social media and developing a series of virtual and bricks-and-mortar events, generating widespread coverage and thousands of pledges. “One of the talents most important for 3M is the ability to align with our businesses, which demand industry knowledge and subject matter expertise and above all superior value,” says Debra Harman, global business communications manager, 3M. “We define value as excellent product and service in addition to strong values and ethics. Padilla Speer Beardsley shines in every facet of that definition. Every Padilla employee exudes the highest level of integrity and trust. They are a true asset to our team and have earned the trust of our employees and our leadership.”—PH POLLACK PR MARKETING GROUP Consumer products and professional services firm LOS ANGELES H NEW YORK THE digital and social media revolution has clients questioning whether some wellestablished public relations firms have what it takes to adapt to a new marketing and media landscape. Pollack PR Marketing, founded almost 30 years ago, is about as established as they come, but it has pre-empted any questions about its own adaptability in resounding fashion, with the publication of “Disrupted – from Gen Y to iGen,” authored by agency president Stefan Pollack with founder Noemi Pollack and account manager Mark Havenner. The book examines the generation born during and after the great communications disruption of the past couple of decades and delivers insights about how companies and brands can connect with them. “Disrupted” reinforces what has set the firm apart in recent years. As the communications channel between an organization and its various stakeholders is cluttered with messages—some of them controlled by the organization, some of them generated by third parties, helpful and hostile—Pollack PR sets out to create clear, consistent messages that cut across channels and rise above the din, helping organizations achieve objectives as diverse as increased sales or improved awareness of their social responsibility initiatives. A multi-specialist, Pollack is best-known as a creative boutique capable working
  • 123. Specialists, boutiques, small & mid-size firms PEPPERCOMM Corporate communications and strong business-to-business expertise and digital capabilities Photo by Michael Mazzeo equally well across multiple sectors although from a dot-com specialist to full-service measurement service blending quantitative strategic communications consultancy, the bulk of its work (about 85 percent of data, qualitative research and deep analysis; embracing new ways of thinking and new revenues) is in the consumer marketing and a whole suite of digital and social media communications technologies, and developofferings. arena, which encompasses clients in the ing new products and services, evolving to Those changes led to new roles for several consumer electronics, toys and related kid meet—or in some cases to anticipate—new key executives. While founders Steve Cody products, interactive media and lifestyle reals. client needs. In 2012, it made another change: and Ed Moed and their senior team—Deb The remainder of Pollack’s income derives there are two Ms at the end of its name now, Brown, a media relations and crisis from the professional services arena, which after a rebranded designed reflect a broader, counseling specialist; Ann Barlow, an expert encompasses legal, executive recruiting and integrated set of marketing and communicain internal communications; and crisis and accounting firms; consumer; and technology. tions solutions and a repositioning that puts media training maven Ted Birkhahn—remain The firm can deliver both marketing (its the firm’s front traditional strength) and increasingly broad 121917 “Listen.Engage.Repeat” mantra 17:50 in place, the firm promoted Sam Ford to H913AR1 4 2/16/01 AB 110 DOLEV director of audience engagement, Richard and center. external affairs counsel, including corporate and Ouyang to director of digital, and Matt The other big change was the acquisition in employee communications, crisis and issues Purdue to director of content strategy. New 2013 of Janine Gordon Associates, a boutique management. to the team is Rob Duda, who joined as a agency with more than 20 years of extensive Overall, fees were up by about 15 percent, director to bring automotive experience. experience in the consumer lifestyle, luxury with long-term clients such as Rain Bird, That was necessary because Peppercomm and non-profit sectors that will become a Bel Air Investment Advisors, US Digital was named agency of record for MINI USA, specialty group within Peppercomm alongside Gaming, Luxe Hotels, Fiesta Parade Floats, the most impressive of several new business other intriguing service offers, including and National Public Gardens Day joined by successes, including Del Mar Development, CrisisRx, a crisis management solution; Brand Crucial.com; RKF, a leading independent real Earth-Kind, Holland & Holland (a division Squared, a licensing division; experiential unit estate firm; DataPop, an online advertisement of Chanel), Kiehl’s Since 1851, Lincoln Peppercommotions; Audience Experience, optimization company; Dynamite Data, a Financial Group, Saint Gobain, Sharp, which helps companies join line conversations big data company that provides retail channel 4.625" Sunrise-Soya Foods and Texas de Brazil. by understanding the concerns and interests intelligence; City of Hope; and USO. After The firm also continues its work with EY, of consumers and other stakeholders; moving into New York last year, the firm saw Pershing, Steelcase, TGI Fridays, Tyco, Business Outcomes, a proprietary its east coast presence expand in 2012, with the addition of a specialized book practice, used as a vehicle for thought leadership. In addition to Guidon Performance Solutions and Inclusion, INC, the office added new The to-do list in Beth Hoyme’s purse work from The Americas Incentive Business will never get done because a drunk driver Travel & Meetings Exhibition and The Keller convinced his friends he’d be fine. Fay Group, a leading market research and consulting firm. Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk. The firm’s work for Crucial.com, part of Micron Consumer Products, involved taking a product that upgrades computer memory and putting it in the consumers’ consideration set. The firm used a survey to provide greater insight into the frustration experienced by Americans when it comes to the overall performance of their computers, generating nationwide coverage. For client Luxe Hotels, meanwhile, Pollack moved beyond the usual hotel, travel and tourism trades to generate local and national attention. In addition to its domestic work, Pollack can support international clients through its partners in the Worldcom Public Relations Group. –PH NEW YORK H SAN FRANCISCO H LONDON PEPPERCOMM has been in constant motion since its foundation 18 years ago, evolving NOTE TO PUB: DO NOT PRINT INFO BELOW, FOR ID ONLY. 125 www.holmesreport.com NO ALTERING OF AD COUNCIL PSAs. Drunk Driving Prevention - Magazine - B&W - DDDDP-M-09093-B
  • 124. Agency Report Card 2013 North America Honeywell, Wells Fargo and Wilbur Ellis. The result was a year of 23 percent growth and fee income in excess of $15 million. Major work included managing internal and external communications for Tyco as the company split into three separate companies and launched a new company. The effort drew of Peppercomm’s expertise in creative, event management, social and digital media, and traditional media, across multiple audiences, including employees, investors, media, customers, and in multiple countries. For TGI Friday’s, meanwhile, the firm identified a unique opportunity to own the conversation around the much-buzzed-about Last Friday of the Mayan calendar and the predicted “end of the world.” The firm created 14 signature events as the core focus of an integrated campaign. In addition to having a wholly-owned office in London, Peppercom operates an international partner network of 65 firms in more than 50 countries to extend its reach internationally.— PH PROSEK PARTNERS Financial services PR and investor relations/mergers and acquisitions STAMFORD CT H NEW YORK H INTERNATIONAL OPERATIONS IT was a busy year for our 2012 Corporate Agency of the Year Prosek Partners, which changed its name (from CJP Communications), opened a wholly-owned London office, made an impression in the hypercompetitive mergers and acquisition arena (ranked 11th in the US by volume of deals and by value of deals, according to mergermarket) and grew by 20 percent to end the year with fees of $15 million and a place among the top 25 independent in the US. The firm, which is best known for its work in the financial and professional services arena, works for big corporate names such as GE Capital, RBS, Lloyd’s, Edward Jones, OppenheimerFunds, Franklin Templeton and ING. Prosek has distinguished itself from the mass of New York area firms by its uncommon intellectual firepower. Under the leadership of founder Jen Prosek, the firm places a heavy emphasis on smarts, hiring similarly qualified individuals (40 percent of the firm’s staff have an MBA, including Prosek herself) or sponsoring some who already have a graduate degree (about 60 percent) through business school with a view to transforming PR people into savvy renaissance marketers. It’s a differentiator that has fueled the firm’s “Army of Entrepreneurs” model of agency management, 126 www.holmesreport.com detailed in Prosek’s book of the same name. Revenue grew by about 20 percent, with the financial transaction business leading the way. There there was new business from the likes of RBC, Genworth (an agency of record assignment), Guy Carpenter, AllianceBernstein, and TE Connectivity. Highlights included work with Dow Jones on a high-profile crisis communications project that tested the firm’s new international capabilities, including the London office headed by Andrew Waterworth, formerly a managing director at FTI Consulting and head of its financial services practice. (Prosek also maintains an affiliate network in countries including Australia, China, Japan, Korea and Singapore.) In addition to Waterworth, other key people moves included the promotions of Thomas Rozycki to managing director and Brian Schaffer to practice leader, transaction services.—PH PUBLIC COMMUNICATIONS, INC. Regional generalist with healthcare expertise CHICAGO PUBLIC Communications, Inc., turned 50 earlier last year, marking the occasion with a series of events that underscored its deep roots in the Chicago business community and civic institutions. Said chief executive Dorothy Oliver Pirovano, a 30-year veteran of the firm: “Our founders set the tone in their many years of serving on boards and providing pro bono services to nonprofits with worthwhile causes and limited budgets. We live our beliefs at PCI.” It’s an approach that has helped PCI cultivate unusually long-lasting client relationships with some of Chicago’s most prominent companies, associations, nonprofits and healthcare organizations. About 60 percent of its business is in the healthcare arena, with a client base of hospitals and health systems, medical associations, advocacy groups and service providers; clients in the conservation and environmental arenas account for another 15 percent of the firm’s business; there is a significant business serving cultural organizations and museums; and an ”everything Chicago” practice that includes local and regional manufacturers, banks and financial services firms, professional service providers, hospitals and schools, and a diverse group of nonprofits. In all of these areas, PCI has become a trusted advisor to its clients, building strong, deep and long-lasting relationships, as demonstrated by its new board and executive counsel service, a natural outgrowth of the kind of work it has been doing for years. The newly-formalized practice provides coaching to senior executives, personal brand-building, succession planning, and crisis and issues audits. It is able to do all this because of a strong and stable senior leadership team that includes Pirovano, president Jill Alread, and 26-year veteran Ruth Mugalian, executive vice president. Last year saw the addition of a formal DigiTeam, a dozen professionals focused on helping clients stay ahead of the curve when it comes to online trends, platforms, and opportunities, and growth came across all practices, with fee income of more than $6.5 million, up by a very impressive 36 percent. Client retention was key: the firm’s largest accounts include Walgreen’s Complex Therapies three business units: specialty pharmacy, infusion and health systems; ProCure Treatment Centers, a developer of proton treatment centers for cancer; American Health Information Management Association; National Lung Cancer Partnership; American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology; and Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium. The firm worked with the National Lung Cancer Partnership to promote 31 “Free to Breathe” events across the country to raise critical research funding to defeat lung cancer. It handled the opening of The National Elephant Center in Fellsmere, Fla., leveraging its extensive animal care experience. And it managed a number of projects for the Shedd Aquarium, including issues management strategies as the City of Chicago hosted a NATO Summit at a neighboring facility, ensuring that protestors did not interfere with animal care and feeding. PCI has international capabilities not only through their partners in the Worldcom Group but also though work for clients from overseas, including this year the German Federal Ministry for Education & Research at the Radiological Society of North America.— PH
  • 125. Specialists, boutiques, small & mid-size firms RBB PUBLIC RELATIONS Regional generalist with national capabilities MIAMI H NEW YORK IN 2012 Florida-based rbb Public Relations unveiled a proprietary strategy that appears to be a perfect fit for a firm that has been an over-achiever since its inception. It focuses on what the firm calls ”breakout brands,” a group that including established brands seeking to maintain their leadership through constant innovation and communication, challenger companies that distinguish themselves by growing their category with original products and thinking, and emerging organizations seeking to create a whole new market. The firm unveiled its thinking on this topic with a white paper, sparked discussion and debate with panels at the Global Public Relations Summit and SXSW, and followed up with an in-depth consumer insights survey focused on the emotional connections between consumers and the companies they buy from. But “breakout brands” is more than just a marketing strategy; it has driven a real change in the way the firm solves its clients’ challenges. Revenue growth was modest last year, but the firm continues to work for a host of bluechip brands, including Homewood Suites by Hilton, Duncan Hines, AMResorts, DHL Express, Mrs. Butterworth Syrup, Kaplan University and the American Council of Exercise and major regional businesses such as Florida Power & Light and Florida Blue (a subsidiary of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida). New clients in 2012 included Kaplan University College of Business & Technology, Miami Cocktail Co., Procurian, Engage PEO and FirstService Residential. A notable assignment involved supporting the introduction of Duncan Hines’ new Frosting Creations product, a flavor customizable frosting. Key program elements included a special baking experience for ViB (very important bakers) members, nationwide Duncan Hines house parties, a baker recipe challenge, and media outreach featuring the company’s own chef, and the campaign drove trial, raised awareness, and spurred consumer and expert advocacy, increasing sales at participating grocers by 6 percent. Other clients continue to rave about the firm’s impact. “The exposure rbb has generated for AMResorts’ six brands among travelers and influencers through trade, consumer and business outlets has been very valuable,” says director of marketing Erica Doyne. “We see the results of their efforts every day to increase the web traffic and booking inquiries, travel agency backing and industry kudos.” Adds Melinda Hartline of Feld Entertainment: “rbb is my ‘go to’ agency for results and value for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, Disney On Ice and Monster Jam.  We share a philosophy that says smart brands break out of the pack and set the bar high in terms of creative and strategic innovation. Every step of the way, rbb proves its commitment to our partnership by driving for maximum return on our investment.” Just as distinctive as the work is rbb’s management philosophy. Managing partner Christine Barney explains: “We say, give people the freedom to create their own work plans and environments and clients will stay, more clients will come and everyone will make money.” If that sounds too simple to be true, consider the fact that the average tenure for both staff and clients is more than eight years. Every staff member, down to the bookkeeper, can determine his or her own work schedule, and choose the location where work will be done.—PH RF|BINDER Full-service firm with consumer, corporate, financial and healthcare expertise NEW YORK RF|BINDER was initially hired by Dunkin Brands parent Allied Domecq in 2005 and survived a change to private equity ownership in 2008, providing public relations support in advance of the company’s IPO last year—after which it was rewarded with an agency of record assignment for the company’s Baskin Robbins business. McGraw Hill, meanwhile, has been a client since the firm’s launch in 2001, supported the spin-off of the education business, and now works with the new management team of that unit, while continuing its corporate work for the parent company and its Standard & Poor’s business. And Cargill has worked with RF|Binder since 2008, when the firm worked on the launch of sweetener brand Truvia; in that case, its efforts were rewarded in 2012 with a leadership role in the product’s launch in Europe and its global marketing effort. Those three examples provide an illustration of the formula that has made RF|Binder successful over the 12 years since Amy Binder spun the firm out of its own parent company, Ruder Finn. Binder ensures that every account is led by a senior consultant, that every engagement comes with clear objectives, and that every relationship is transparent. The result is that clients come to trust RF|Binder not only as a PR agency but as a marketing partner, and the payoff is long-lasting relationships (McGraw-Hill since 2001, Johnson & Johnson and Eli Lilly since 2002, Dunkin and the German Wine Institute since 2005) that provide plenty of organic growth. “Dukin Donuts’ communications truly runs on RF|Binder,” says Karen Raskopf, senior vp of corporate communications. “They continue to take a fresh, enthusiastic approach to our brand and get better with each passing year at creating news-generating, brand-building media campaigns for us.” Adds Deirdre Davey, executive VP at Ameriprise Financial, “We began working with RF|Binder seven years ago…. They provide terrific strategic counsel and execution… and bring a great understanding of our strategy, capabilities, culture and values—they are a true partner.” Outstanding creativity is the other part of the formula, and RF|Binder enjoyed the best year in its history in that regard in 2012, picking up 24 award wins and another 26 honorable mentions for work that ranged from thought leadership (Tupperware’s SABRE-winning efforts focused on women’s economic empowerment) to repositioning McGraw Hill, a 100-year-old company, as a high-tech leader, from colorful content creation on behalf of Malaysian Kitchem to Johnson & Johnson’s multicultural outreach, The Healthy Project, designed to demonstrate how anyone, anywhere can make a change for better health. Binder continues to lead an impressive senior team that includes vice chairman Joe Fisher; executive managing director Della Burns, whose focus is health and wellness; senior managing director Edwige Buteau; capital markets and corporate relations veteran Robert Ferris; and Boston office head Josh Gitelson. The most significant addition of the past year—as the firm seeks to incorporate digital and social media elements into every campaign—was Linda Perry-Lube, who joined as chief digital officer from the American Museum of Natural History, where she led the development and implementation of interactive learning, gaming, and social media strategies. There was new business from the aforementioned Baskin Robbins, Abine, Boardbooks, Loews Corporation, Tupperware, and Wines of Sicily, all contributing to very respectable 5 percent growth and fee income for the year of around $13 million.—PH www.holmesreport.com 127
  • 126. Agency Report Card 2013 North America RACEPOINT GROUP Technology, digital, public affairs BOSTON H SAN FRANCISCO H WASHINGTON DC H INTERNATIONAL OPERATIONS RACEPOINT Group has remarkable pedigree in its founder, Larry Weber, whose name is still carried by the world’s second-largest PR firm Weber Shandwick. Weber departed the firm he helped found in 2004 and set his sights on building his next venture the W2 Group, a holding company that consolidated its brands in 2013 leaving just Racepoint and A2A Media, a firm that works on outdoor LED displays. After consolidating Racepoint with sister agency Digital Influence Group (DIG) Weber created a $34 million firm that combines influencer relations with analytics and paid influence. Even before this, Racepoint has worked to differentiate itself as being more than a broad coverage shop. It relies on niche tools and processes, like FieldFacts and Racepoint Labs, to identify targets precisely and measure the reach and impact of these influencers. Keeping on par with this approach, the firm also maintains a Social Media Formula intended to conjure the right mix of social media tools across multiple channels that are aligned with client business objectives. Proprietary tools also include PulseStudios, a cross-disciplinary team of media experts that curate, create and transmit stories. All employees must also undergo a social media certification. Before merging Racepoint with DIG, the firm’s revenues were about $20 million with 140 employees --- about 8% growth over 2011. In 2013, the DIG merger brought in another 40 employees and $14 million in revenues. Weber leads as chairman and is supported by president Peter Prodromou; Dan Carter, MD of North America; Cathy Pittham, MD of Europe; and Andrew Laxton, MD of Asia. The DIG consolidation also brought in Kevin Green as SVP global digital strategy and marketing; and Brian Babineau to SVP of global digital services. Racepoint’s San Francisco EVP Bill Orr departed in December 2012. Major clients include ARM, Avery Dennison, Bank of the West, Catalina Marketing Kronos Incorporated, Thermo Fisher Scientific and Warrior Football. Racepoint’s areas of expertise are tech, digital consumer, and healthcare, in addition to corporate and public affairs. High-profile work includes developing traditional and social media strategy for The Conversation Project (TCP), a national social movement focused on getting people to talk about end-of-life care. The work resulted in a four-minute feature on ABC’s 128 www.holmesreport.com World News, in addition to a co-branded page on ABC.com. “Hiring Racepoint Group has allowed us to get traction with world-leading journalists and other influencers,” says Ian Drew, EVP of marketing and business development at ARM. “We’ve been able to get our message and brand into places we hadn’t thought possible before.” Racepoint maintains global offices in London, Hong Kong Shanghai and Beijing. The agency also has 36 affiliate partners around the world. – ASh RASKY BAERLEIN STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS Public affairs and corporate communications BOSTON LARRY Rasky and Joe Baerlein—two imposing figures from the Boston political world—joined forces to create Rasky Baerlein Strategic Communications, pooling 30 years of experience and setting out to create a firm that would help companies and other institutions handle high-stakes issues at the intersection of business, politics and media. Over the past decade, they have—along with a third partner, Ann Carter—built Rasky Baerlein into one of the strongest and most sophisticated firms in the New England market and, with fees of around $10 million and a presence in Washington, DC, one of the top corporate and public affairs specialists in the country. Baerlein, a member of the Massachusetts bar, contributes experience in government, political communications—he has a 100 percent success rate in managing 12 local and statewide ballot campaigns for corporate interests during the past 17 years—trade associations and the private sector. Rasky, a veteran of national politics, is best known for his management of highly visible, complicated communications matters and his broad political experience—he took a leave of absence during 2007 to serve as communications director in the Biden for President campaign. Carter, who has an MBA in finance, is responsible for overseeing the daily operations of the firm and setting the course for its strategic development and growth. They are supported by additional principals—George Cronin (public affairs) and Justine Griffin (integrated communications)— and practice leaders Jim Cabot (energy and environment), Melissa Monahan (nonprofit, healthcare and education), and David Tamasi (who manages the DC office). Kellyanne Dignan whose career includes broadcast and print news experience, joined to lead a new media and presentation training capability at the end of 2011. New in 2012 is vice president Nu Wexler, who most recently served as communications director for US Sen. Richard Blumenthal (CT) and earlier was communications director for the House Budget Committee and the House Education & Labor Committee. Drawing on that wealth of experience, Rasky Baerlein works at the intersection of business, politics and the media and specializes in developing and executing strategic public relations and public affairs programs, from providing executive-level communications counsel to managing a crisis to winning a referendum. Capabilities include corporate communications counsel; media, government, investor and employee relations, crisis and reputation management, community affairs, grassroots initiatives and lobbying, and growing expertise in digital influence and social media. The firm also has sector expertise in education, energy and the environment, financial services, healthcare, non-profit, real estate, retail, and sports. Revenues were up by close to 10 percent in 2012, with new business from The Massachusetts Port Authority, KPMG, Rush Street Gaming, Raytheon, Global Advanced Metals, and Argo Medical Technologies. The firm continues to work with The Boston Red Sox, Steward Health Care System, Dell, First Wind, Boston Medical Center, Toyota, MasterCard, Eli Lilly & Co., GDF Suez NA, UGL-Unicco, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, The Museum of Science Boston, Citizens Financial Group, Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare, Veolia, and Cambridge Consultants. The biggest campaign of 2012, however, was the “No on Question 2” Massachusetts state ballot initiative on physician assisted suicide, overcoming a deep deficit on the issue (almost 50 points on Labor Day) to eke out a narrow victory that made national headlines. The firm also developed and executed a communications campaign for a large casino company trying to enter into the Massachusetts market, helped a medical device and technology company based in Israel establish
  • 127. NOTE TO PUB: DO NOT PRINT INFO BELOW, FOR ID ONLY. NO ALTERING OF AD COUNCIL PSAs. Fatherhood Initiative - Magazine - 4/C - FI203-N-02195-D “Baby, Caucasian” 7 x 10 120 line screen
  • 128. Agency Report Card 2013 North America a US headquarters and launch a major new product, and developed and executed online digital organizing and communications public affairs advocacy platform for a Fortune 500 pharmaceutical company on several national health care issues. RBSC has international capabilities and helps international clients forge global strategic alliances, develop and implement market entry strategies, and secure foreign direct investment.—PH REVIVEHEALTH Healthcare specialist LOS ANGELES H NASHVILLE HOW do you build a start-up into one of the top dozen or so firms in the competitive healthcare PR marketplace in just four years? The formula employed by Brandon Edwards, founder and chief executive of ReviveHealth (previously Revive) could serve as a template. First, focus on those areas where your experience and expertise differentiate you from the competition: health services, health technology, and healthy living. Second, attract and retain the best people, with a culture that has earned Best Boutique Agency to Work For recognition from this publication on three separate occasions. Third, underscore your expertise with thought leadership, with a Health Care Leaders Summit providing the platform for a yearlong content initiative, and an annnual National Payor Survey generating coverage by Bloomberg, the Wall Street Journal, and more. And finally, deliver outstanding results for clients. On that front, ReviveHealth won the Gold SABRE for Issues Management for its work with Mercy Regional Medical Center, helping the company with its internal and external communications as it negotiated with its nurses’ union to preempt a potential strike. The firm also worked with Care Innovations on an integrated change management campaign that included disposing of CI’s assistive technology product and an exclusive focus on disease management and independent living. And it supported Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge and it worked through a major expansion of its campus, fundraising for a new standalone children’s hospital, a new trauma 130 www.holmesreport.com center, and a new branding campaign. According to Catherine Harrell, vice president of corporate communications, Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center: ”ReviveHealth has been an invaluable strategic communication counselor to our hospital and health system leadership. They are candid and creative, matching the right tactics to the situation as they help us with challenging issues. They ably complement our in-house team for effective collaboration that blends the best of broad national experience and local knowledge.” Adds Shannon McIntyre, director of PR for Intel-GE Care Innovations: “We selected ReviveHealth as our agency of record because of their deep understanding of the market and creative ideas, but they have also demonstrated the ability to cleanly manage big projects, complex problems, and ever-changing market demands.  Their healthy mix of professionalism, personality, and hard-hitting questions, keeps me on my toes and paves the way to great success.” The result was another year of growth, with fees up by about 6 percent, to around $5 million. The health technology sector led the way, up from almost zero to around 15 percent of firm revenue in the last 18 months. The firm continues to work with Care Innovations, Health To You, BayCare Health System, Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System, Hartford Healthcare Corporation, Hawaii Pacific Health, Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, and Catholic Health Initiatives, while picking up new work from Baptist Health System, Bethesda Memorial Hospital, Dignity Health, Georgia Health Sciences University, Mount Sinai Medical Center, North Carolina Hospital Association, Piedmont Healthcare, Vanderbilt University Medical Center and more. The firm also strengthened its executive leadership team in 2012, adding the firm’s first chief strategy officer Bob Berra, who joins with 25 years of experience managing marketing communication and business development strategies for health services and health technology companies, and its first chief operating officer, Phil Stone, former CFO at the Cancer Center of Santa Barbara and executive vice president of operations for Davies Public Affairs. They joins Edwards and chief marketing officer Kriste Goad to create a formidable senior lineup.—PH ROGERS & COWAN Entertainment PR & Marketing LOS ANGELES H NEW YORK H MIAMI H LONDON FOUNDED more than 60 years ago, the IPG-owned Rogers & Cowan is among the most established entertainment firms in the industry. CEO Tom Tardio has led the firm for more than 20 years with an eye towards the converging space of entertainment, technology and consumer marketing. He established an emerging tech and startup focused division nearly 15 years ago. The leadership team also includes one of the agency’s original founders Paul Bloch as vice chairman. New hires include Eric Jacks, who joined in 2013 as VP of entertainment and intellectual property from CAA and Shannon Barr as VP overseeing emerging talent and corporate publicity for film production and distribution companies, as well as African-American marketing. Forty-percent of the firm’s business is in the core entertainment sectors of talent, music, sports, television and movies. This expertise drives the remaining 60% of business that ranges from consumer to tech brands that seek out Rogers & Cowan’s access and alliances within the entertainment industry. The agency also maintains its own specialized fashion brand, Film Fashion, that focuses on creating customized solutions to match designers and with trendsetters. Clients include Jenny Packham, Nicole Miller, John Hardy and Tadashi Shoji. Other offerings include an integrated, entertainment marketing approach that blends traditional and social media relations, influential seeding, brand integration, intellectual property, sponsorship activation, strategic alliances, cause marketing, promotional tie-ins, celebrity spokespersons, and special event strategies. This year Rogers & Cowan partnered with WhoSay to white-label its social offering as EchoCircle, which provides talent with the tools to maintain ownership of their content through copyright protection and the ability to publish directly to fans and the media. Rogers & Cowan posted record revenue in 2012 growing and adding new clients that include Sonos, Target, Billboard, Logo TV, Fergie, AXS.com, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Fox Consumer Goods, Amazon Studios, Prima Cinema and more. Major clients include the Coca-Cola Company, Scripps Networks (Food Network, Cooking Channel, HGTV, DIY), Myspace, Rdio and Coldwell Banker. “Rogers & Cowan always delivers hard core results with a soft touch. They are a
  • 129. Specialists, boutiques, small & mid-size firms great compliment to our in-house publicity team which is a testament to their versatility, adaptability and value,” said Susie Fogelson of the Food Network. High-profile assignments over the past year included the relaunch of Myspace, Target’s exclusive album launches for Taylor Swift’s RED and Justin Timberlake’s 20/20, the launch of The Simpsons 25TH Greatest Guest Stars Merchandise Program for Fox Consumer Goods and Coca-Cola’s Perfect Harmony campaign. The majority of its work is conducted in the US, but Rogers & Cowan does have an international film team in its Los Angeles and London offices and brings in resources from Weber Shandwick for international campaigns, when necessary.—ASh SARD VERBINNEN & CO Corporate and financial, crisis management, mergers and acquisitions NEW YORK H CHICAGO H LOS ANGELES H SAN FRANCISCO OVER more than two decades, Sard Verbinnen & Co. has become one of the top mergers and acquisitions, financial, crisis and corporate communications firms in the country. In 2012, Sard Verbinnen was recognized as the number one M&A PR advisor in terms of both value and volume of deals in the United States by both mergermarket and Corporate Control Alert. Led by George Sard and Paul Verbinnen and the 22 other partners, SVC has a deep team of mostly home-grown talent, including former investment bankers, lawyers, analysts and public affairs advisors, with impressive longevity – more than 20 senior team members have been with the firm over a decade. Operations span coast to coast, with offices in Chicago, San Francisco, and, most recently, Los Angeles. Debbie Miller, an eighteen-year veteran of the firm, was recently appointed to head the Chicago office, and long-time partner Paul Kranhold, based out of San Francisco, manages the west coast operations. Charlie Sipkins heads the Los Angeles group. The firm maintains a healthy balance of transactional and retainer clients, ranging from Fortune 100 corporations to smaller companies, investment firms and private individuals, and a significant percentage of those retainer clients have now been with the firm five to 10 years or more. In addition to its leadership position in M&A PR in 2012, SVC was once again a top advisor for crisis communications and litigation support, as well as for investor relations, corporate positioning work, and assorted other special situations. 2012 also saw the continued growth of the firm’s Digital Communications Group, a practice area that leverages online tools and communications channels to design, develop and distribute digital initiatives to further enhance the impact of a communications strategy on a project-specific basis. Representational highlights during 2012 included advising: Deutsche Telekom and T-Mobile on the contested pending acquisition of MetroPCS; McGraw-Hill on the DOJ lawsuit against Standard & Poors; NYSE Euronext on its pending acquisition by ICE; Forest Laboratories on its successful proxy defense against Carl Icahn; GlaxoSmithKline on its acquisition of Human Genome Sciences; CMC in a successful defense against Carl Icahn; Illumina in connection with an acquisition proposal by Roche; Vulcan Materials in a takeover defense against Martin Marietta; Alibaba Group on the privatization of Alibaba. com; Softbank on its acquisition of a 70% stake in Sprint; Richard Schulze on his proposal to take Best Buy private; Pentair on its acquisition of Tyco Flow; and Equity Residential on its acquisition of Archstone with AvalonBay Communities. The firm has had a very busy start to 2013, advising The Special Committee of the Dell Board on a contested take-private transaction; Hess on its proxy defense against Elliot Management; Pandora on its management change; Cole Credit Property Trust II on its merger with Spirit Realty Capital; and Elan on its defense against a takeover offer from RP Management.—PH SCHNEIDER & ASSOCIATES Creative brand-building boutique with expertise in product launches BOSTON IN a crowded, hyper-competitive marketplace—and particularly in an economic tsunami like the one that hit during the second half of 2008—it’s difficult for even a smart, talented agency to stand out, so at the turn of the century Joan Schneider decided she needed to do something to distinguish her Bostonbased firm from dozens of other creative, consumer-focused boutique agencies. She decided to focus her energies on becoming a thought leader in a single category. Schneider is convinced that PR builds brands and advertising sustains them and that companies need to think of product launches as a process rather than an event, creating sustaining programs that continue to engage consumers’ interest beyond the launch date. Her ideas on new product introductions, supplemented by eight years of data from the firm’s Most Memorable New Products research (which celebrated its 10th anniversary last year), have now been detailed in two books—the second, The New Launch Plan, was coauthored with Schneider executive VP Julie Hall—and even more impressively in a Harvard Business Review article, Why Most Product Launches Fail. But Schneider has strengths beyond its new product introduction expertise. The firm has restructured in recent years, creating practice areas focused on government affairs (under the leadership of former attorney Chris Meehan) and—with the launch last year of its InGroup creative services department, focused on content creation— digital and social media, and on the home products, food and retail, and corporate, education and nonprofit sectors. Revenues were down slightly in 2012, although Schneider retained most of its key clients—a list that includes the MIT Sloan School of Management, Hebrew SeniorLife, Dots, Rockland Trust, Cassidy Turley FHO, and Posternak Blankstein & Lund—while picking up new work from Upromise, Katz Graduate School of Business, New England College of Business, PennFoster, Cape Cod Polar Express Train Ride, EF Education First, AAA, and Dynatrap. ”The SA team is a pleasure to work with,” says Paul Denning, director of media relations, MIT Sloan. “They are responsive, fast-thinking and strategic in providing counsel for our content marketing program. What initially was to be a resource for journalists to connect with our faculty experts, has turned into a process that allows us to create traffic for our website as well as build quality, coverage-producing relationships with top tier media.” Adds Judy Willis, director of marketing , Education Corporation of America: “Whether it is shaping communications decisions, managing targeted media relations campaigns or keeping you informed of the latest innovations in social media marketing, Schneider Associates puts your business and thought leaders in front of the right audiences.” Highlights of the past year include working with UPromise by Sallie Mae to develop a celebrity event in New York City with actress and UN Ambassador Mira Sorvino, launching the company’s “Make the Pledge, Keep the Promise” initiative, encouraging families to start the college savings process early. The firm also planned and executed a fully www.holmesreport.com 131
  • 130. Agency Report Card 2013 North America integrated marketing campaign to launch a new ecommerce site for dots, a chain of 400 fashion forward retail stores; launched a new college rankings system for The Alumni Factor via traditional media relations and social media; and introduced the official Warner Brothers licensed Cape Cod Polar Express Train Ride event and created consumer awareness by securing 84 media placements for the ride, across print, online and broadcast outlets. For international support, Schneider calls upon the reach and expertise of its partners in WorldCom, an association of independent public relations firms with members in more than 100 cities worldwide.—PH SHIFT COMMUNICATIONS Technology and social media specialist BOSTON H SAN FRANCISCO H NEW YORK LAUNCHED in 2003, Shift Communications has established itself over the a little less than a decade as one of the leading independent technology-focused public relations firms in the nation with more than 100 people in offices in Boston, San Francisco and New York. The firm has also emerged as innovator in two key areas: first, in creating public relations programs that have a demonstrable impact on sales, using the firm’s proprietary LeadSensor methodology; and second in new and social media, where it was among the first to produce social media news releases and social media newsrooms, and where the firm’s pioneering capabilities have attracted clients from beyond the traditional tech space. The latter progression, in particular, has proved fruitful, helping Shift win recognition as the Holmes Report’s Digital/Social Agency of the Year in 2012. The award was partly recognition of Shift’s strong growth (14 percent in 2011, and 18 percent expected in 2012), but also of the substantial evolution of its digital service offering into such areas as content creation, owned and paid media. Shift consolidated that progress this year by announcing an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) that moved a significant percentage of ownership to staff. Agency principal Todd Defren became CEO and majority shareholder, and Shift also broadened its leadership team by hiring digital specialist Chris Penn as VP of marketing technologies. The moves helped 132 www.holmesreport.com Shift better realise its ambition of genuinely integrated paid, earned and owned content — solidified by the hire of a creative director, and two new VPs, Victoria Boed and Karl Scholz. That approach helped Shift grow revenues to $14.25m in 2012, with $16m forecast for 2013, impressive enough to net Small Agency of the Year at the Holmes Report’s 2013 SABRE Awards. New business included Toyota, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Rethink Robotics, Topo Athletics, Wayfair, Tyson Foods (projects), Honeywell, Yamaha, CreditKarma, Aquent, and Lionel Trains—adding to an existing client roster that features McDonald’s, Ad:Tech, AOL (TechCrunch and Engadget), Salesforce.com, HIMSS, Toyota, H&R Block, Zoosk, RSA Conference and Honeywell. Perhaps the highest profile assignment that Shift worked on during the year was the launch of Rethink Robotics. Other highlights included rolling out new vehicle models for Toyota, including the auto giant’s first blogger review program, and helping McDonalds celebrate the 50-year anniversary of the Filet-O-Fish. To extend its reach beyond the U.S., Shift has created an international network of independent agencies, with at least three agency partners in each major geography.—ASu Employees also include former journalists, press secretaries, marketing and advertising managers, and government relations specialists who have years of experience and the kind of been-there-done-that experience that gives them credibility as counselors and first-hand knowledge of the news media, elected leaders, regulatory agencies and community organizations that clients seek to influence. In addition to Singer, the leadership team includes Adam Alberti, EVP; and VPs Courtney Lodato and Jason Barnett. Also at Singer is Gina Antonini, deputy director of Governor Schwarzenegger’s regional office in San Francisco and the former governor’s liaison to local businesses, elected officials and community groups regarding state issues. Singer Associates is effectively at the center of every single major real estate, healthcare, environmental and public policy issue in California. In 2012, this was dominated by its ongoing work with the city of San Bruno following the 2010 disaster that involved— successfully—sharing stories of devastation to build political, emotional, social, and media support. The firm’s international efforts include work for Chevron on a lawsuit against the company in Ecuador, as well as work on Nigerian assignments for the oil company. —ASh SINGER ASSOCIATES SITRICK & COMPANY Strategic public affairs and crisis communications firm Crisis management experts with investor relations, media relations and public affairs expertise SAN FRANCISCO HAVING established itself as the go-to public affairs shop in Northern California, Singer Associates continued its high-profile streak of business in 2012 with clients that include the city of San Bruno as it fought to collect $70 million in damages from PG&E for a 2010 natural gas explosion. Last year, the agency grew 15%, pulling nearly $5 million in revenue with only 12 full-time staff. Among its new clients: the City of Los Angeles, AirBnB, Hilton Hotels and Safeway, adding to its existing base that includes Chevron, Calpine, Bay Area Rapid Transit and the City of Oakland. At the top, its efforts are spearheaded by Sam Singer—named “the Fixer” by the San Jose Mercury News, a “top gun for hire” by the San Francisco Chronicle and one of The 49 Most Influential People in San Francisco by the city’s 7x7 magazine, which wrote: “If your reputation, fortune or political future is at stake, he’s the man you call to convince the public, the politicians or the judge that you’re in the right.” LOS ANGELES H NEW YORK FOR some time now, this publication has argued that as public relations moves up the value chain and issues related to corporate reputation and public perception come to occupy more and more of the CEO’s attention, management consultants and other professional services firms will come to recognize the opportunity to provide high-stakes, high-value communications services. In recent years, some consulting firms have tried to break into the strategic end of the PR business, but most have found it more difficult than they anticipated, which is why the smartest of them have sought to form alliances with the best of the existing players in that category, including Resources Connection, a professional services firm best known for its work in the change management arena, which acquired Los Angeles-based strategic communications firm Sitrick & Company along with restructuring specialist Brincko Associates to form a corporate advisory and restructuring subsidiary
  • 131. The most dangerous animals in the forest don’t live there. ONLY YOU CAN PR E VE N T W I L D FIRE S. w w w. s m o k e y b e a r. c o m
  • 132. Agency Report Card 2013 North America to be known as Sitrick Brincko Group. Sitrick, with offices in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Miami, and now Denver, specializes in corporate, financial, transactional and crisis communications, with a particular expertise in bankruptcy and restructuring— the firm has managed the strategic communications for approximately 300 companies in Chapter 11—and burgeoning digital capabilities. The firm also has a strong portfolio of entertainment industry clients, with a specialty in helping celebrities negotiate career and reputation threatening crises. Beyond the restructuring arena, Sitrick has earned the gratitude of clients and the (sometimes grudging) respect of reporters by approaching public relations challenges in much the same way a lawyer approaches a trial: the firm does its due diligence, researches the client and the issue, develops a strategy and then presents its case to the target audience the way a lawyer presents his or her case to a judge or jury. That means providing as much concrete evidence as possible to support the client’s argument to convince the “jury” (in this case, either the media or a client’s key constituents). It’s an approach well-suited to Sitrick’s areas of expertise, which typically find the firm working with corporations or individuals who are “on trial” in the court of public opinion. The firm is also home to perhaps the most concentrated congregation of journalistic talent in the public relations business. The vast majority of its senior professionals are former editors, reporters, and correspondents at such publications as Newsweek, the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, CBS News, and NPR, with most of the others having spent time in senior corporate communications positions.—PH SLOANE & COMPANY Corporate and financial communications, public affairs, crisis communications NEW YORK H BOSTON H SAN FRANCISCO WITH a broad base of business in corporate and financial communications, public affairs and business-to-business marketing, crisis is certainly not all that Elliot Sloane’s firm does, but over the past couple of years it has become apparent that the agency’s roots in the financial communications arena, coupled with its growing expertise in public affairs, have made it one of the go-to firms in New York for 134 www.holmesreport.com high-profile issues work, especially the kind that goes beyond financial transaction arena to include a high-profile “special situations” impacting multiple stakeholders, including policymakers. So over the past couple of years, Sloane & Company has worked with a coalition of companies including AT&T, Cisco and Viacom to put together an alliance to help content providers protect their copyright interests; provided counsel to T. Boone Pickens on an award-winning initiative to ensure that natural gas was part of the national energy debate; helped Cablevision with the campaign against a new West Side sports’ stadium in Manhattan; was called in to provide PR support to several victims of the Bernie Madoff scandal, including the Shapiro family; and represented the bondholders of General Motors, helping to secure a better settlement than other company bondholders received in similar situation. Over the past year, the firm worked on a number of high-profile, contested proxy contests and takeover fights, representing Elliott Management during its proxy battle for Hess, supporting ACA Financial Guarantee in its litigation against Goldman Sachs and Paulson and Company, continuing to support Walgreens through its evolution into a leading healthcare organization, and supporting Starz on its spin-off from Liberty Media into a stand-alone publicly traded company. Sloane also continued to expand its public affairs practice, with ongoing programs for Chesapeake Energy, Exelon and the COMPETE coalition, while other retainer clients include Cablevision, AT&T, New York Life, Elliott Management, TiVo, Government of Bermuda, and Walgreens. “We have retained Elliot and his team to help us with media outreach on numerous tough, complex issues with excellent results in each case,” says Jamie Firth, senior vice president, communications, public advocacy and corporate relations, Exelon Corporation. “Elliot and his team are nimble, strategic, hardworking and timely. They dive right in – learning the subject matter, engaging with us on both strategy and tactics, and then moving quickly to execute whatever program we have jointly developed. I always know that our prospects for success are improved when we have Elliot and his team at the table.” Sloane & Company now has offices in New York, San Francisco and Boston, but can also handle international programs for clients like IMAX and Bermuda, working with hand-picked local independent firms in Asia and Europe.— PH SMITH & HARROFF Integrated public affairs shop ALEXANDRIA VA WHEN Jay Smith launched Smith & Harroff in the mid-1970s, the Washington, DC, scene was divided between a small number of consulting firms that specialized in managing communications for political campaigns, and a larger number of firms that offered a blend of public relations, public affairs and lobbying services to corporate and trade association clients. Smith & Harroff was one of the first to bridge the divide between the two, after it was retained by Westinghouse in 1975 to consult on energy issues and later the Glass Packaging Institute to dissuade Congress and the states from imposing mandatory deposits on beverage containers. It soon became clear that the campaign approach—an integrated strategy, drawing on elements from public relations, issues advertising, grassroots mobilization, and a heavy dose of research—could have a powerful impact on public policy discussions. Today, as a boutique public affairs shop, S&H continues to draw on that same approach—although more and more campaigns are incorporating digital and social media capabilities—along with more than three decades of Washington experience to compete for new business with agencies many times its size. It wins in part because of its exclusive focus on public affairs, in part because its senior staff—CEO Smith, and president Rick Morris—have years of experience working critical policy issues (and actually work on client business), and in part because it makes it a matter of policy that everyone who participates in a new business presentation also works on the client’s business—no bait and switch here. The firm has gained recognition—awards from the DC Ad Club, the Telly Awards, and the National Journal—for its long-running effort to establish the Nuclear Energy Institute as a top Washington, DC, brand, helping to boost public approval of nuclear power to near record high levels. Last year saw the agency’s television advertising campaign supplemented by a six-state tour, from Ohio to Arizona, featuring speakers from NEI’s Clean Energy America, conducting media interviews, debates and presentations before civic organizations and college campus audiences, explaining the environmental and job creating benefits of domestic nuclear energy. The firm also continued its work with Westinghouse and the Northern Virginia Gang Task Force. (”Smith & Harroff worked with the
  • 133. Specialists, boutiques, small & mid-size firms Northern Virginia Gang Task Force to provide the most effective messages possible,” says Raymond Colgan, the task force’s executive director. “There has been a steady decrease in gang activity in the Northern Virginia Region; an increase in the number of youth and families who are provided with help; and an increase in the number of adults who are becoming mentors.”) New business came from the National Board of Certification for Community Association Managers and Christmas Tree Promotion Now.—PH SOUTHARD COMMUNICATIONS Consumer marketing, with expertise in marketing to moms NEW YORK H CHICAGO H LOS ANGELES STILL best known for its work marketing to moms and kids, where its track record includes launching companies such as LeapFrog and representing The Ohio Art Company (the maker of Etch-a-Sketch), Toys R Us, Hooked on Phonics and more, Southard Communications is more broadly recognized for a strategic approach to consumer marketing that goes beyond traditional media relations to include digital and social media, grassroots marketing, and overall focus on real-time business solutions that help clients reach their strategic objectives. Founder Bill Southard cut his teeth at two of New York’s most prominent (though now defunct) midsize firms, Dorf & Stanton and Earle Palmer Brown before launching his own firm in 1994. He is supported by Esther Koo, who joined in 2006 and led the development of the firm’s digital capabilities, and newcomers Scott Goldberg, a veteran of campaigns for clients such as Wow Wee Toys and Zizzle, who opened a new Chicago office for the firm, and Kelly DeVincentis, who has managed accounts such as Fisher Price and Matchbox. Southard enjoyed a 40 percent fee increase in 2012—the second consecutive year of impressive growth—with outstanding client loyalty from the Ohio Art Company; TOTSY, one of the leading private sales sites for moms; Blue Box Toys, for which the company introduced a new line of products under the B Kids brand; and the Toronto Stock Exchange, which has been a client for the past 10 years. A strong new business flow included assignments from Green Toys, Famosa, Tykoon, Zuru, Remedy Health Media, Beatrix Girls, Sun Mate/ SMC Entertainment, SRM Entertainment, Bambinos Child, First Friends, Oxford University Press, Newlio, Silverlit Toys, and Workplace Systems. One obvious highlight was the opportunistic media coverage generated on behalf of Ohio Art after an aide to Mitt Romney suggested that the Republican nominee would discard the views he espoused during the primaries and adopt new views more palatable to the electorate as a whole, a process the aide compared to the company’s most famous product. The agency came up with a “Shake It Up, America,” campaign theme, and the resulting media coverage drove up both sales and stock price. “We have worked with Southard Communications exclusively over the past 19 years and with great success from one year to the next,” says Larry Killgallon, president of the Ohio Art Company. “The continued commitment of senior staff combined with 211215A01 creative, out-of-the-box thinking and a strategic approach to helping support our bottom line is what consistently makes Southard an outstanding firm. In particular, the work performed last year with our Shake It Up America campaign was incredibly wellplanned, flawlessly executed and generated incredible results for the Etch a Sketch brand.” While the majority of its work is focused within the domestic United States, the agency does have strong relationships with several firms, including Media Profile in Canada and Threepipe in the United Kingdom.—PH SPARKPR Technology, consumer PR SAN FRANCISCO H NEW YORK H INTERNATIONAL OPERATIONS SPARKPR’S legacy in the tech sector dates back to when browser pioneer Netscape was acquired by AOL in 1998 and corporate comm execs Donna Sokolsky and Chris Hempel a launched PR firm now synonymous with the Silicon Valley media machine. Nearly 15 years later, Sparkpr continues to hold its own in tech while expanding into the consumer sphere. The firm, however, encountered a few bumps in the last several months. Sparkpr closed its Los Angeles office after six months and scaled its London office to a network of consultants serving UK-based accountants like Moo, Vidyo and URTurn. WITH A STROKE, T I M E L O S T I S B R A I N L O S T. Le arn the warning signs at StrokeAssociation.org or 1-888-4-STROKE. ©2004 American Heart Association Made possible in part by a generous grant from The Bugher Foundation. NOTE TO PUB: DO NOT PRINT INFO BELOW, FOR ID ONLY. www.holmesreport.com 135 NO ALTERING OF AD COUNCIL PSAs. American Stroke Association - Magazine (4 5/8 x 4 7/8) 4/C - ASNYR2-N-01065-V “Brain Lost” 120 line screen
  • 134. Agency Report Card 2013 North America The firm opted to service the Los Angeles region from its San Francisco hub. But its New York and San Francisco operations continue to show solid 14% growth to about 50 employees in the first half of 2013. Revenues for 2012 grew nearly 9% to $11.2million. While Sokolsky continues to serve as managing partner, CEO Alan Saucy handles most of the operations. Saucy is a Silicon Valley veteran with more than 20 years of experience at companies including Philips Electronics, where he was responsible for establishing Philips’ Mobile Computing Group, and a former Spark client. Saucy is supported by Tim Turpin, an OutCast veteran who works with venture capital firms, as well as companies in clean and green tech, enterprise software and search; and managing directors Diane Schreiber, Carol Wentworth, and Jay Kolbe as senior director of the digital ad/marketing practice group. New hires over the last 12 months included Ruth Safarty as managing director in New York and Jim Dowd as head of global consumer. Notable departures included Rebecca Fuller who left to launch rival tech firm Mighty; Syreeta Mussante who joined Bateman PR; managing director Karen Blondell who became a consultant; and Los Angeles office lead Candice Yusim and London head Toby Walsh. Spark’s team continues to deliver deep expertise across 11 industry sectors, including several fast-growing units: digital media & advertising; media & entertainment; mobile & wireless; venture capital; financial services; and enterprise & IT. The agency has also built out its social media, graphic design and creative services practices. Clients include 140 Proof, NEA, Nebula, as well as new wins Bloomberg, the Huffington Post, Wal-Mart, Bain Capital Ventures, Wildfire (acquired by Google) and Bleacher Report (acquired by Turner). Spark also partnered with WCG to win the BMC Software business, combining its media expertise with the partnering firm’s analytics capabilities. “Sparkpr has truly become an extension of our team,” said Jordan Slabaugh, Director Social Media, Spredfast. “Spark is creative, innovative and always pushing the leading edge of communications, but at the end of the day, they always focus on - and deliver - results.” Sparkpr services international clients via consultants in the UK and its office Cape Town, South Africa. – ASh 136 www.holmesreport.com THE STANDING PARTNERSHIP Multispecialist with strong corporate capabilities ST. LOUIS THE Standing Partnership offers a researchbased approach to reputation management that helps differentiate it from the majority of midsize firms, and has helped it carve out a successful niche in a St. Louis market that continues to be dominated by the headquarters of one of the world’s largest global PR agencies. The firm is similarly well-served by a focus on life sciences (including agriculture, healthcare and nutrition issues) and sustainability, both growth areas, as well as education, and by its ability to deliver an integrated suite of services including corporate positioning, public affairs, issues and crisis management, corporate responsibility counsel, and employee relations. Chief executive Cathy Dunkin, a veteran of Hill & Knowlton and client-side positions at Ralston-Purina who founded the firm 20 years ago, is joined at the helm of the firm by Melissa Lackey, an 11-year veteran of TSP, who was promoted to president in 2010. Lackey previously held communications roles at Edward Jones and Mark Twain Bancshares, and has managed a number of the firm’s largest accounts. A key hire in 2012 was senior vice president Beth Rusert, who joined the firm after many years as a client. Strong double-digit revenue growth saw the firm surpass $4 million in fee income for the first time. There was new business from Belden, Goddard Systems, and the Missouri Foundation for Health, which joined existing clients such as Monsanto, Maritz, Covidien Pharmaceuticals, The Doe Run Company, Gateway EDI, Metro, and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Highlights included helping Gateway EDI, one of the largest medical claims clearinghouses, with change management, following its acquisition by Trizetto, a health care IT services company, and the subsequent acquisition of two additional companies. Standing Partnership has also been working with Covidien, managing internal communications to support the spinoff of Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, and has helped Maritz Travel, a leader in corporate meetings, develop a community of subject matter experts to deliver the company’s thought leadership initiatives. “They act like business partners,” says Jennifer Larsen of Maritz. “They work to understand our business objectives and make strategic recommendations to help us achieve them.” While Mary Kettlewell of the Healthcare Foundation of Greater Kansas City highlights the “the thoughtful way in which they approach the needs of their clients” and Kim Magin of Monsanto hails TSP’s “professionalism,” and says the firm “delivers high quality work.” Most of Standing Partnership’s work is within the United States, but when clients require international capabilities, the firm can call upon its partners in the Worldcom Public Relations Group.—PH STEVENS STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS Full-service agency with strong crisis and digital capabilities CLEVELAND FOR more than a decade since its foundation in 1999 as Stevens Baron, Ed Stevens’ Cleveland-based firm earned a reputation for delivering a strategic, integrated approach to marketing and corporate communications services. But in 2012, following the development of a strong digital and content-creation capability—its SWAY business unit delivers high-end video production—the firm rebranded as Stevens Strategic Communications. Recent years have also seen the development of a formidable crisis communications capability, with a focus over the past 12 months on working with school districts facing intense labor situations and the addition in 2012 of vice president, interactive, David Walker. He joins a leadership team that includes Dix & Eaton veteran Stevens and vice president Julie Osborne. Fee income was up by about 15 percent in 2012, driven by work with clients including Eriez, MMO, American Greetings, Globex, AmTrust, and various school districts. Stevens is an “outstanding firm, great to work with,” says Paula Grooms of Ingenuity Cleveland. To provide international reach, the firm is a member of the Public Relations Global Network.—PH STORY PARTNERS Public affairs and digital communications WASHINGTON DC H NEW ORLEANS H BIRMINGHAM AL GLORIA Dittus is, with no pun intended, one of Washington DC’s most storied public affairs names, with a 30-year track record that includes counseling corporate clients such as Shell Exploration & Production, Dell, SAP, Southern Company, British Telecom and
  • 135. Specialists, boutiques, small & mid-size firms GM, and work on campaigns including Americans for Computer Privacy, Pepco’s “DC is Electric” campaign, the High-Tech DTV Coalition’s campaign for DTV transition and the Campaign for Tire Safety. She has also founded and sold two game-changing firms in Direct Impact (now part of Burson-Marsteller) and Dittus Communications (which became the DC operation of what is now FTI). After completing the latter sale, Dittus launched her third firm, Story Partners, at the start of 2010. The firm’s objective—to be the best midsized public affairs firm focused on digital communications—recognizes the ways in which the public policy realm has been transformed by digital campaigning techniques. Last year saw the continued expansion of the firm’s content creation capabilities, with the addition of an in-house video capability. Dittus is joined by two other principals: digital specialist Amos Snead, who previously worked as press secretary to Republican whip Roy Blunt; and veteran public affairs and campaign executive Loran Aiken. The trio has since been joined by a wealth of senior talent, notably CEO Debra Cabral, a former Dittus Communications EVP; political veteran Anne Brady; grassroots expert Rick Heartsill; policy specialist Norma Jane Sabiston; former Dittus financial services director Shelton Jones; creative director Deborah Sauri; and PA veteran Mollie O’Dell. New in 2012 were Trudi Boyd, another Dittus veteran who joined as senior VP after serving as general manager of the DC office for Allison & Partners; and Kate Connors, former director of communications for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. “Story Partners is a valuable partner to SAP,” says Robert Cresanti, the software company’s vice president, government affairs. “Their strategic thinking and focus on the details enable them to deliver winning results for our company, clients and partners.” Adds Ron Phillips, vice president, legislative and public affairs for the Animal Health Institute: ”When the Animal Health Institute has a challenge that needs strategic guidance and support, our first call is to Story Partners. They have a team with decades of success winning the biggest public affairs challenges facing our industry.” Revenues increased again in 2012, with healthcare clients and digital and social media work leading the way. There was new business from the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy, AdvaMed, the Animal Health Institute, Halliburton, LIFT America Coalition, the National Association of Publicly Traded Partnerships, Noble Energy, and PhRMA. The firm’s work for AdvaMed focused on a narrative about what the medical technology industry means to millions of Americans, including those whose lives have been saved or enhanced because of medical devices. For the LIFT (Let’s Invest for Tomorrow) America Coalition, meanwhile, the firm embarked on a challenging assignment to generate support for reform of America’s international tax system. While the majority of the firm’s work is domestic, Story Partners serves several international clients, working directly with company affiliates as needed.—PH STUNTMAN PR Media relations and consumer PR specialist NEW YORK STUNTMAN likes to style itself as a viral marketing firm that combines the forgotten techniques of PR pioneers such as Ed Bernays, with today’s cutting-edge methodologies. The firm was founded in 2010 by Neil Alumkal, a former senior VP at 5W Public Relations and has already begun to demonstrate its impressive thinking for clients in the fashion and beauty, retail, food and beverage, entertainment and hospitality sectors—a roster that is “perfectly reflective of our lifestyle,” says Alumkal, not only in terms of the industries represented but the companies themselves: “We have consistently represented brands we believe in.” The agency’s core belief is that journalists are increasingly hard to reach, necessitating an approach that is bold and viral. The firm’s work in launching Taste Williamsburg—an outdoor celebration of the neighborhood’s food and culture—was one demonstration of that approach, leveraging buzz about the borough to establish a new event as a highlight of the foodie calendar. “Stuntman PR were excellent partners for us,” says Les Brown, event organizer. “They worked closely with us to develop a strong and original PR strategy, and provided the necessary resources to secure tremendous exposure for our festival. The Stuntman team is a fun and creative group to collaborate with.” The firm also handled the launch Alibi American Whiskey; the openings for Vegan Divas’ flagship patisserie in Manhattan and Roebling Sporting Club in Williamsburg, while its entertainment group worked on The History Channel’s “The Men Who Built America” and Weinstein Company’s “Escape From Planet Earth.” While revenues were flat, the management team—Alumkal is joined by lifestyle media veteran Michelle Aselta as VP and hospitality director Forrest Barnett—remained stable, and the client list expanded. It now includes Alex Elman Wines, Alibi American Whiskey, Taste Williamsburg, Riazul Premium Tequila, Roebling Sporting Club, Bryant Park Hotel, Vegan Divas, The Bedford, ReNapoli, My Prime Skincare, Cicciabella Apparel, Vint & York, Sel et Gras, Friedman Benda and Barry Friedman galleries.—PH SUNWEST COMMUNICATIONS Boutique offering crisis counsel and corporate PR DALLAS MOST clients come to Sunwest Communications when they’re at “a fork in the road,” and need a firm that understands the Texas business culture, enjoys strong relationships with Texas media and other opinion leaders, and can handle national assignments if necessary. Typically, those clients are referred by other clients, attorneys, or bankers with whom Sunwest has worked in the past, who know that the firm can develop a communications plan that will help navigate an unexpected bump in that road or avert a major crash and do so discreetly and with a minimum of fuss. While Sunwest is probably best known for its financial and crisis work, the firm has experience in public affairs and community relations, corporate social responsibility, and consumer marketing, and 2012 saw an expansion into the technology space with the addition of Stacey Gaswith and Katie Oliver—formerly with Shelton Group—who joined as managing directors. Chairman and chief executive Andy Stern founded Sunwest in 1982, after holding senior corporate communications positions involving investor relations, lobbying and international experience, and serving two stints in the Ford White House in the 1970s. He is regarded as one of the best-connected public relations executives in Dallas. President Fred Stern has a similar blend of corporate and political experience. He was the senior communications executive with two Fortune 500 companies and was a senior aide to Governor Pete du Pont of Delaware, also serving on his 1988 US presidential primary campaign. Working with clients such as ExxonMobil, Borden Dairy, Port-A-Cool, and KDC Development, revenues were stable in 2012, www.holmesreport.com 137
  • 136. Agency Report Card 2013 North America although it has already seen an uptick in technology work from its new hires, and added real estate clients such as the International MIPI Alliance and Rosewood Properties as part of a strong start to 2013. The firm has plenty of experience handling international work (last year saw Sunwest organizing, managing and executive a 10-day community and government relations tour of Africa for ExxonMobil) including current assignments in Dubai for Port-A-Cool and China for MIPI.—PH SUTHERLANDGOLD Technology PR with strong media relations focus Braintree, Qualtrics and Impermium. They join current clients such as Lookout, Brightcove, Chegg, Fab, Birchbox, creativeLIVE, Comcast Ventures and Braintree. Highlights included helping Lookout educate consumers about the importance of protecting their mobile devices. Armed with results from a national consumer survey, Lookout focused on the emotional connection between consumers and their devices, from quirky personal habits, to Baby Boomers’ sexting and the constant need to check phones in church, while driving, on toilets and at dinner, before focusing on the need to protect the information on these devices.—PH SAN FRANCISCO TAYLOR SUTHERLANDGOLD was founded by journalists from the AP and CNN, and has never lost sight of the fact that most public relations clients are looking for an agency that can help them craft and tell a compelling story—one that doesn’t only generate coverage, but also helps companies achieve real business results. That means going beyond traditional product or corporate news, creating stories as well as simply telling them, helping companies embrace new cultural trends and take a stand on controversial issues in order to establish themselves as leaders in their categories. In recent years, the firm has embraced digital and social media, producing a wide range of supporting content, from infographics to slideshows, surveys to social media platforms, and focusing on results, using Web analytics packages, monitoring traffic generated by news coverage, and tracking inbound sales leads and job applicants as a result of coverage. Lesley Gold, founder and CEO, was a vice president at Blanc & Otus and has worked with brands including Sony and Comcast Ventures and with media such as the New York Times, Time and USA Today. Scott Sutherland, founder and principal, comes from a political background (he was top communications strategist for Robert Reich during his tenure as US Labor Secretary) and has helped launch more than 125 technology startups in the 10 years since founding SG. With the expansion of the firm’s consumer and enterprise technology practices and the opening of a New York office, the firm has tripled its revenue in the past 12 months. Consumer wins included Fab, Birchbox, Stitchfix, MyFitnessPal, Driven and Wello, while the enterprise practice saw increased business with key accounts such as Tenable, Brand building and lifestyle PR with strong sports capabilities 138 www.holmesreport.com NEW YORK H CHARLOTTE H CHICAGO H LOS ANGELES IN the afterword to “The Ultimate PR Agency Financial Management Handbook” by CPA Rick Gould, the author quotes Taylor chief executive Tony Signore: “Ultimately we believe the choice for professional services firms is a simple one: if we are not providing irreplaceable value at the very highest level for our clients partners, we have become by definition replaceable.” Those are words public relations agency leaders at all levels ought to be living by in the new competitive environment of the 21st century, but few have internalized and operationalized that mantra to the extent that Taylor has. It’s now a decade since Signore and 10 partners acquired the firm from founder Alan Taylor, and the story of the ensuing transformation is familiar—it has been told before in this publication and is now available as a Harvard Business School case study. Before the buyout, Taylor was an old-fashioned publicity shop with a focus on sports, a roster of 70 clients and a spot just outside the top 50 PR agencies in the United States. Today, it provides brand strategy and positioning advice to a select list of about 20 bluechip companies and ranks among the 10 independent PR firms in the country. It has been named Midsize Agency of the Year award twice by this publication, was our Strategic Agency of the Year in 2009, and our Consumer Agency of the Decade in 2010. Taylor’s vision is “To be the preferred brand counselor and marketing communications portfolio of leading consumer brands by utilizing lifestyle, sports and entertainment platforms to engage consumers and drive business growth.” Its mission statement is to “Provide irreplaceable value to our client partners by cultivating a community of professionals who live the ideal culture and embrace excellence and innovation.” Five strategic principles guide the firm’s decisions: discovery, an in-depth dialogue with clients to define brand objectives and success criteria; a sophisticated understanding of the landscape in which a brand operates; consumer insight to identify emotional and rational engagement drivers; breakthrough creative strategies; and flawless execution. Revenues of $20.1 million in 2012 were the highest in the firm’s 30-year history, but the top line—which grew by about 6 percent—tells only part of the story. Eleven of the firm’s 15 client partners are now generating at least $1 million in fees (and some, obviously, much more than that). More than 50 percent of those revenues derive from strategic counsel; and more than a third (35 percent) from digital and social media—a practice that includes influencer engagement, community management and mobile capabilities. There were new partnerships with clients such as Kraft, Haagen Dazs and RJ Reynolds, while the firm continues to work with Procter & Gamble, 3M, Taco Bell Kraft, Diageo, Nascar, Allstate, Coca-Cola, Nestle, Capital One and a handful of other blue-chip brands. An indication of the breadth of strategic services Taylor now offers: for one client, the firm partnered to create an enterprise-wide approach to commercializing social media, creating a dynamic web application used by multiple business divisions and country markets; for another it drew on expertise in category analysis, ethnographic research, and brand planning to revitalize a perpetual challenger brand. In a more traditional, but no less strategic vein, Taylor worked with Diageo’s Captain Morgan brand and a team of underwater archeologists who recovered six cannons off the Panama Coast from one of Captain Morgan’s lost ships to energize the ”To Life, Love and Loot” brand campaign. It also celebrated the 19th anniversary of Michael Jordan’s first retirement announcement, re-launched six AJ IX colorways and brought the brand’s 1993 “Johnny Kilroy” character to life. And for Allstate it sought to protect motorcyclists with a simple message: “Look twice, because once is never enough.” “Through a unique core target insight, Taylor brought to Allstate an approach to reach our target audience like nothing we’ve ever seen or done before,” says Pam Hollander, senior
  • 137. Specialists, boutiques, small & mid-size firms director, integrated marketing communications, Allstate. “The O.N.E. (Once is Never Enough) campaign changed the shape of Allstate’s communication architecture for Allstate Motorcycle by putting our focus on protecting the rider when all other insurance providers were talking protection for the bike. Since launching this public relations campaign four years ago, it has since evolved into a fully-integrated initiative with extensions in Allstate’s paid, earned and owned assets thus allowing us to deliver on our promise that Nobody Protects Riders Better Than Allstate.”—PH THE 10 COMPANY Strategic corporate communications firm communication before, during and after to all key stakeholders. In addition to its charter clients—Alcoa, Raytheon and Verizon—the firm works with New York area giants GE and TimeWarnerCable. In the insurance sector, it added Lockton, the largest privately held insurance broker; EagleEye, a leader in insurance predictive analytics; and Dovetail, a leading provider of cloud-based insurance product delivery service. It also picked up work for Access Health CT, Connecticut’s health insurance exchange, working with the CEO and CMO on branding, issues management, crisis communications, messaging, consumer and small business outreach.—PH NEW YORK TEXT 100 AFTER a career that includes senior roles at multinational agencies (GCI Group) and leading midsized independents (Peppercom) and in-house roles at Motorola and GE Capital, about the only thing Valerie di Maria had not tried her hand at was running her own business—at least until she joined forces with onetime colleague Clare DeNicola to launch the 10 company, a firm the will draw on the enviable C-suite experience of its principals to help clients transform their business through authentic results-driven communications and marketing. DiMaria has worked closely with CEOs including Gary Wendt, Denis Nayden and Mike Neal of GE Capital, Ed Zander of Motorola, and Joe Plumeri of Willis, the global insurance broker. As president and CEO of Ivans, DeNicola helped transform the insurance industry network re-seller to a leading technology solutions service provider for the insurance and healthcare industries. “I know first-hand the strategic, financial and operational realities facing CEOs,” she says. To underscore that claim, the firm launched with a commitment to “10 Tenets of Client Relationships” ranging from vision to passion; a pledge to reinvest 10 percent of fees into each client account through complimentary services such as training, brainstorming and industry reports; 10 percent performance pricing; and the goal of rating a 10 on performance reviews by clients. It provides thought leadership programs, branding and corporate positioning, crisis management and executive training services with a focus on clients in the industrial, technology, financial services, healthcare, and professional services sectors. The past 12 months have seen a significant focus on CEO succession issues, helping clients with succession planning and International technology public relations specialist have worked for the better with global CEO Aedhmar Hynes presiding over a steady improvement in the agency’s outlook. The biggest news was undoubtedly Text’s role in winning the Blackberry PR assignment (in conjunction with APCO), but there were other major wins too, including Vodafone, Broadcom, Bravo, Harman, Lightspeed Ventures and Staples. All of this added up to around six percent growth in 2012, with Text continuing to service key existing client such as IBM, Xerox, Cisco and Lenovo. Text 100 has wholly-owned offices in 26 countries around the globe and an affiliate network that expands its capabilities to more than 30 countries. More than 40 percent of the firm’s staff has worked in more than one region, and the firm has extensive experience managing cross-border campaigns for major clients.—ASu SAN FRANCISCO H BOSTON H LOS ANGELES H NEW YORK H ROCHESTER H SEATTLE H INTERNATIONAL OPERATIONS 360 PUBLIC RELATIONS EVERY public relations agency in the world has invested in expanding digital and social media capabilities. What makes Text 100 different is that it has made digital and social media the central organizing principle of its business as engaging with stakeholders through new media channels takes public relations people beyond their traditional remit into areas such as content creation, community engagement, and search engine optimization. Indeed, you could easily make the case that Text 100 is a pioneer when it comes to digital thinking, and the firm’s social media training programs remain at the forefront of the industry. The firm has several major advantages when it comes to seizing the opportunity presented by the social media age. The first is its heritage in the technology sector. The second is its early adoption of peer-to-peer communications tools such as blogs, social networks, discussion forums and video platforms. The third is its longstanding commitment to measurement and metrics through its Context Analytics affiliate. And the fourth is a collaborative, cooperative culture, developed over two decades, which has earned it a regular spot on our Best Agencies to Work For list and facilitates learning and change. Text underwent one of its periodic management restructurings in 2012, putting agency veteran Rowan Benecke in charge of North America and relocating Jeremy Woolf from Hong Kong to oversee digital. In the process, the firm parted ways with Scott Friedman, but the changes appear to BOSTON H NEW YORK Lifestyle brand-building with strong digital capabilities IN its 12th year, 360 Public Relations is old enough to be regarded as a safe pair of hands for clients of any size—its track record of awards success suggests it can handle national brand-building assignments as capably as any larger agency—but young enough to feel authentically a part of the digital era, at ease not only with a wide range of content creation and social media outreach but also with advanced research and planning, measurement and evaluation techniques. The firm is still one of the best when it comes to promoting brands and companies to parents, and moms in particular— underscored last year by its Mom Next Door study, conducted in concert with the firm’s MomSquad mom-influencer network and taking a long look at what brands moms recommend and why. But over the past few years it has adapted the immersive approach it took to that segment—becoming part of the very consumer enthusiast community its clients sought to reach—to new markets, expanding its ability to engage with the circles of influence most important to brand success and cultivate brand advocates. The result is that the firm remains focused on consumer marketing, but now offers www.holmesreport.com 139
  • 138. Agency Report Card 2013 North America expertise in five distinct sectors: parenting and home (which together account for about 30 percent of revenues); healthy living and entertainment and electronics (each about 25 percent of the total business); and publishing and social media, the newest part of the business. Cutting across all five sectors is a social media practice that includes special expertise in blogger relations, digital advertising, e-mail marketing, social media and social networking, online video production and placement, search engine optimization, and the creation of mobile apps. “Over the years, 360 has exceeded our expectations for a client-agency relationship in every way, taking a proactive approach to our business,” says Mike Prager, president of Oregon Scientific. “Counsel and new ideas on opportunities are core activities. They take care of our business as if it were their business.” With its two-year-old New York office firing on all cylinders, the firm has expanded both its client base and its talent pool. In terms of the former, there was new business from Balance Bar, Continental Mills (Kretschmer Wheat Germ, and other brands), Groupon (Savored. com and more), the National Wildlife Federation, and Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign. They join a roster that includes Disney Consumer Products, Dorel Juvenile Group, Hasbro, Honeywell Home Environment, Jabra, Jarden Home Brands, Oregon Scientific, PBS Kids, Stonyfield, and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, which combined for 15 percent growth last year and fee income just shy of $5 million. Founder Laura Tomasetti continues to strengthen the firm’s leadership team, which includes industry veteran Rob Bratskeir, who joined a couple of years ago as general manager in New York, and with the hire in 2012 of Kyle Bishop, a veteran of BostonHerald.com and Fox, as director of digital and creative services. Interesting work included the fully integrated re-launch of Alberto VO5, rebuilding the brand’s value proposition, re-asserting its voice with beauty media and bloggers, and establishing it on Facebook and other social media for the first time. The firm also helped to re-launch Kretschmer, the original brand of wheat germ, making the product relevant to a new generation with a content-driven campaign and enhanced social media presence. 360 also got to introduce the National Wildlife Federation’s beloved guide to the great outdoors, Ranger Rick, to a new generation of families.—PH 140 www.holmesreport.com TREVELINO KELLER COMMUNICATIONS GROUP Multi-specialist with strong technology practices ATLANTA TREVELINO Keller is one of a generation of technology-focused agencies—most of them formed in the wake of the dot-com bust—located outside of the traditional technology centers of Silicon Valley and Boston, but quite capable of competing with firms in those markets for national business. TKCG founders Dean Trevelino and Genna Keller had worked together twice—at Shandwick and Ogilvy—prior to founding their own firm in 2003, and have created an agency that now offers public relations, brand marketing, and social media expertise to clients in the business-to-business and consumer technology arena, with a particular expertise in clean tech. Following the 2010 launch of a franchising practice, designed to capitalize on a recovery in that segment of the economy, Trevelino Keller has since added a healthcare practice; formalized a business helping clients with online branding and identity; expanded its social media services (including a sociallydriven local store marketing platform); brought its diverse range of partnerships under a single banner (WheelhouseTK is the hub for a network of boutique firms and specialists that Trevelino can access as needed); and last year launched Start-Opia, a portal for start-ups, capitalists and service firms; Groovy Studios, a virtual agency in an agency for delivering turnkey PR, creative, web and video solutions; and Consume Brands, a food and beverage offer. Last year also saw a new positioning, focused on reputation management, and a restructuring, with services grouped under three banners: protect, preserve, and promote. Billings were up by close to 50 percent, topping $3 million for the first time, with new business from MedSnap, Carvana, Shops Around Lenox and Insightpool, and ongoing work for Verizon Wireless, Genesco, SITA, Delta Community Credit Union and Raving Brands. Highlights included launching TCBY into the grocery business; introducing a gluten- free certification for the restaurant industry for the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness; and launching FootSmart¹s Foot Comfort Index, designed to educate the marketplace regarding the changes in foot trends, comfort footwear and foot-related health conditions. TKCG works primarily within the US, but tap into its own Atlas Alliance, created in 2006 and consisting of firms covering Europe, AsiaPacific, Middle East and Latin America.—PH TRYLON SMR Media relations with technology focus NEW YORK TRYLON SMR (the SMR stands for strategic media relations) founder Lloyd Trufelman is unabashedly old school, having learned his craft at Rubenstein Associates and honed it with media companies such as MTV and CBS, and is one media maven who understands the true value of relationships with reporters and isn’t ashamed to call himself a publicist. But old school does not mean old-fashioned, and as a firm focused on media relations, Trylon has been quick to get out ahead of new media trends, keeping abreast of industry changes and leveraging those changes to better service its clients—using Twitter as an additional tool with which to communicate with reporters, for example—using an integrated approach it calls tradigital.” Trylon SMR continues to rely a proprietary “reverse reporting” model that starts by asking what journalists—and increasingly, new media types such as bloggers—are interested in and then develops stories that meet their needs. The firm focuses on delivering consistent, targeted media placements to clients in the media, technology and related industries, on measuring both the quantity and quality of media coverage generated, and on providing personalized service and rapid response. It has been increasing its emphasis on social and other online media in recent years, developing an expertise in podcasts and particularly online video. It is also different from many of its competitors in that it works exclusively on a monthly retainer basis (not on the hourly system that has come to dominate
  • 139. Specialists, boutiques, small & mid-size firms the industry). Revenues were flat in 2012, around the $1.8 million mark, with work from Datonics, DG/ MediaMind, Genesis Media, iClearpath, LiveU, LocalBlox, Motion Picture Licensing Corporation, NY Convergence, Spectrio, Streamworks, Syndicated Network Television Association, and TruEffect. A particular highlight was the international launch of DataWind’s Aakash low-cost ($40) tablet computer at United Nations headquarters in NYC.—PH million, from a roster of clients that includes Amerigroup, Nestle Water NA, BCBS Minnesota, and Target. Tunheim has been a partner in independent agency network IPREX for the past six years, and about 50 percent of the firm’s work in 2012 involved either companies based outside the US or work outside the US for domestic clients.—PH TUNHEIM BALTIMORE Corporate PR, public affairs, employee communications WARSCHAWSKI has expanded its offer in recent years, adding branding, digital, and creative expertise to provide full range of marketing communications services, using a proprietary approach to branding it calls BrandMaPR (pronounced brandmapper), designed to help a client create a differentiated and consistently resonant brand position in the marketplace, based on the fundamental emotional experience a company wants its target audience to enjoy when interacting with its product or service at every touch point. Once that positioning is clear, Warschawski develops programs that reinforce the brand position among its target audience using a channel-neutral selection of media, vehicles and techniques. The Baltimore area is particularly sensitive to fluctuations in federal government spending, so the past few years have been challenging, but Warschawski has been able to hold its own in terms of revenues and improve its bottom line significantly. New business came from XCEL Brands, parent of the Isaac Mizrahi and Liz Claiborne brands; Environmental Working Group, a leading environmental health research and advocacy organization; ImQuest BioSciences; Yellow Ribbon Fund, which assists injured service members and their families; and the launch of Recovery of a Lifetime, a book by former NFL safety Chris Reis. The firm also saw growth from some of its existing clients, including CustomInk; Chesapeake Utilities Corporation; and WL Gore & Associates. The firm has always fared well in public relations awards competition—more than 200 wins over the past 15 years—and has begun to gain the same kind of recognition for its creative design work in the print, identity, interactive and web categories. Highlights included the Gore-Tex “Essentials” retail promotion, a month-long integrated marketing communications program focused on the lifestyle footwear category; CustomInk’s “Be MINNEAPOLIS THERE is no shortage of creative consumer-focused PR firms in the Twin Cities, but Tunheim stands out for its strong corporate and public affairs credentials. For 20 years, Kathy Tunheim’s firm has been helping clients deal with dramatic change, with expertise in employee communications, community engagement, business-to-business marketing and an approach that combines insight (an emphasis on research and analysis is part of the firm’s DNA), strategic thinking, and multichannel execution to deliver solid business results for clients. Tunheim rightly takes the view that public relations has always been interactive—that the “social” elements of dialogue and engagement were essential to good PR long before the dawning of the digital age—so that adaptation to “new” media was never a problem for the firm. But 2012 saw some restructuring of its internal operations to eliminate any silos between earned, shared, owned and paid media and ensure the best mix of services for clients. Founder and chief executive Kathy Tunheim, who was vice president of corporate communications and internal communications at Honeywell before striking out on her own, continues to lead the firm, supported by executive vice president and chief creative officer Pat Milan, a former journalist who also worked as head of interactive at Fallon and was brought in to oversee the firm’s recent reorganization. The other major hire of the past year was director digital strategy Liz Sheets, whose experience includes stints in television and music production, in marketing at Best Buy, and at digital shop Spyder Trap. Growth last year was around 10 percent, with the healthcare and business-to-business sectors making strong contributons. The result was fee income for 2012 of around $4.5 WARSCHAWSKI Marketing communications firm Good To Each Other” campaign, a month-long social responsibility and cause marketing program; and Chesapeake Utilities’ external brand roll-out campaign, which included interactive, creative design and annual report work. Another differentiator is the firm’s culture, which has earned Warschawski consistently high marks in our Best Agencies to Work For research. Last year, it was also selected as a featured stop on Subaru’s nationwide ‘Work Play Love’ tour, which celebrated companies for promoting a positive work-life balance. Chief executive David Warschawski was also named one of Maryland’s Most Admired CEOs by The Daily Record, based on a track record of strong leadership, integrity, vision and values, and ongoing commitment to their communities and diversity. The firm expanded its creative team with the addition of Mark Ludwig as senior design developer and its leadership team—which includes chief operating officer Shana Harris and senior director Michele Tomlinson alongside Warschawski himself—with the promotion of seven-year veteran Erin Prosser to director; Heather Border to design director; and Justin Barber to interactive design director.—PH ZAPWATER Full-service public relations with strong creative streak CHICAGO SINCE its launch a decade ago, Zapwater Communications has made quite a name for itself in Chicago as a scrappy, creative publicity shop that delivers an impressive return on its clients’ objectives. Consider the endorsement of Chicago Tribune columnist Liz Crokin, who says: “Zapwater Communications is the one Chicago PR Firm I know of that is capable of turning its obscure clients into headline-making wonders almost overnight…. [Zapwater’s] staff is competent, hip and friendly and they have never once failed to get me the information I need well before my deadlines.” Zapwater’s work also continues to claim the endorsement of industry peers, thanks to a string of awards, including a Gold SABRE last year in the fashion and beauty category, several Bulldog awards, a PRSA Chicago Skyline Award for the city’s Best Consumer Campaign, and a Platinum Adrian Award from the HSMAI’s prestigious travel awards. Founder David Zapater is the former group director for public relations at integrated agency Slack Barshinger, and www.holmesreport.com 141
  • 140. Agency Report Card 2013 North America his early focus was on the travel and leisure sector, representing many of the Chicago area’s top destinations and venues. But the firm expanded its focus, and now offers a corporate, legal marketing practice, education and retail practices. The firm added senior talent in 2012, most notably Nora Sarrawi from Weber Shandwick as vice president, with a focus on strengthening digital initiatives, and Alana Horinko, also from Weber Shandwick, as VP. Revenue was up by better than 20 percent last year, thanks to the loyalty of clients such as Jewelers Mutual Insurance, NOW Foods, LYFE Kitchen, Kendall College, Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group (Sullivans & Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House), Room & Board, Gilt.com, and Henry & Belle Denim. Interesting work included launching the LYFE Kitchen Brand and opened its first restaurant in Southern California; managing a 2,000-person opening of Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House in the iconic Esquire Theatre; and coordinating all activities around Jewelers Mutual’s 100th Anniversary. “Real work happens within relationships,” says Karen Wickett, retail market manager for the Greater Chicago area at Room & Board, citing one of the company’s guiding principles. “We are like-minded businesses and approach our customers similarly with passion and enthusiasm. We are true partners and love to collaborate with Zapwater to find the best outcome.” Last year also saw the launch of Zapwater University (ZapU), an ongoing professional development and team building program designed to reinforce its positioning as an employer of choice.—PH ZENO GROUP Consumer, healthcare, and technology firm NEW YORK H LOS ANGELES H CHICAGO H TORONTO H WASHINGTON DC THE expansion of Zeno to Europe and Asia, formalized mid-2012, marked a coming of age for the firm, which started life as a fairly traditional conflict shop and spent more than a decade—during which it went through half a dozen different CEOs and changed its name (from PR21)—in search of an identity of its own. That identity has taken shape since the appointment of former Ogilvy consumer practice leader Barby Siegel to lead the firm three years ago. Siegel spent 11 years in the Edelman culture before leaving to join Ogilvy 142 www.holmesreport.com and she possesses many of the qualities— entrepreneurialism, creativity, a passion for client service—that distinguished Zeno in its early days. She quickly decided to focus Zeno once again on the three sectors where it had the strongest heritage—consumer, healthcare and technology (all underpinned by strong digital capabilities)—and defined a clear positioning as a “marketing communications agency committed to helping clients make the most of the new realities of audience engagement and the evolving role of PR.” Since then, Zeno has been growing, winning clients and awards (including our Consumer Agency of the Year honor), and expanding its footprint and expertise (with an in-house planning department and a new “Zeno Narrative” process that add rigor and discipline to the firm’s unquestioned creativity). This year’s international expansion—the firm now has 11 offices and close to 200 employees, including more than 50 in the Asia-Pacific region—was one of two transformational moves over the past 12 months. The other saw the appointment of the firm’s first chief culture officer, Grant Deady, a 15-year Zeno veteran and managing director of its Chicago office, who will focus on ensuring that the firm continues to live its core values: collaborative and open; nimble and entrepreneurial; family first; and, above all, fearless. Siegel has strengthened the firm’s leadership team considerably. In her first year she brought in Mark Shadle from Edelman as managing director, corporate affairs; healthcare veteran Ame Wadler. They joined a team that included Andrea Morgan, head of the New York office; Lisa Robinson, managing director of LA and chief creative officer; and Deady. New in 2012 were John Kerr and Steve Earl to lead its global expansion, the former from Edelman’s Asian operations; the former from technology and digital agency Speed; and John Hollywood, formerly chief strategy officer for Cohn & Wolfe, who joined as managing director of the New York office. With more than 40 new business wins last year, Zeno saw revenues increase by close to 50 percent, ending the year with fees of $24 million globally, $20 million in the US. The new clients spanned every practice: Micron, Brocade, McAfee, Francisco Partners and Trident Capital in technology; Allergan; American Academy of Pediatrics; Merck; and Metagenics in health; as well as Blommer Chocolate, Booz & Company, Dave & Buster’s, Four Seasons Hotel, GroundLink, Limited Stoes, the National Organization for Teen Safety, Pinkberry, Tmobile, the University of Phoenix, Virgin Atlantic and more. At the same time, it continues to work with longstanding clients such as Kia Motors (nine years), Turtle Wax (seven years), Astra-Zeneca, Pizza Hut, Nature’s Path (six years), and The Allstate Foundation (five). Zeno created digital campaigns that contributed to Four Seasons picking up a “Best Facebook Page” award from Hotels Magazine and more importantly increasing bookings and revenue. To drive trial and awareness for Seattle’s Best Coffee, Zeno leveraged “holidays” such as Black Friday and Tax Day, for a Facebook sampling campaign. For The Allstate Foundation’s Purple Purse campaign, meanwhile, they sparked lifechanging conversations on domestic violence and led to a $250,000 donation to YWCA to help survivors. And Zeno inserted the Pizza Hut brand into Valentine’s Day media coverage by offering a marriage proposal “All in One Box” that included a ruby engagement ring, limo service, flowers, fireworks show, photographer, videographer and of course, most importantly, the chain’s new $10 Dinner Box. Says Chris Fuller, global director of public relations, public affairs and CSR for YUM! Brands: “When Pizza Hut was looking for a PR agency six years ago, we were really looking for three things: creativity, passion and a know-how of our business and I am very proud to say it has been five years since we hired Zeno as our agency and they are still exhibiting those three things. I have never seen an agency with more passion, more creativity and more of a willingness to understand the Pizza Hut business and the pizza industry and deliver us results that really break through.”—PH ZING Consumer marketing PR NEW YORK H LOS ANGELES ZING was launched in Australia back in 2000 by Preya McMahon, a veteran of the consumer marketing practice at Edelman and of the PR industry in both Australia and the US, and quickly established itself as one of the most creative firms in the Australian market, its focus—as the name suggests—on bringing a little extra “zing” to client campaigns. It expanded quickly, integrating experiential, digital and social media techniques into its work, adding corporate communications, crisis management and financial services expertise, and last year becoming perhaps the first Australian public relations firm to open an office in the US.
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  • 142. Agency Report Card 2013 North America That should not have come as a total surprise. In addition to McMahon, many of Zing’s senior people have international experience—primarily in the US and the UK—and it had found itself increasingly called upon to manage international campaigns for its clients. To lead its US operations, which include offices in New York and Los Angeles, the firm recruited 30-year industry veteran Robert McEwen, who brings years of experience with 144 www.holmesreport.com leading international agencies such as BursonMarsteller and Fleishman-Hillard. Under his leadership, the firm has quickly established itself as a player in the fashion and beauty, entertainment and lifestyle PR categories, picking up a Gold Stevie at the American Business Awards for the launch of Katy Perry Lashes by Eylure in the very competitive new product introduction category. Clients include Original Additions, Church & Dwight, and Seafolly, with new business in 2012 from Hips & Curves, Mi Ola, and Global Gold & Silver. Zing has also spun off a sister agency, McEwen McMahon, which specializes in reputation, crisis and issues management. It represents clients including The Ford Foundation, FamilyWize, The Atlantic Philanthropies, Sprouts Farmers Market, and B’nai Jeshurun.—PH
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  • 144. Effective communications enable organizations to achieve business goals. Corporate and Financial Public Relations Investor Relations and Shareholder Activism Transaction Communications Crisis Management Initial Public Offerings Corporate Restructurings and Bankruptcy New York 212-371-5999 Los Angeles 212-630-6550 San Francisco 415-926-7961 Houston 713-205-7770 www.abmac.com AMO—Excellence in Global Financial Communications USA Canada UK Spain France Italy Germany Poland The Netherlands Switzerland Latin America China Hong Kong www.amo-global.com