2016 New PR Agencies of the Year, North America | Holmes Report
Charting the future of public relations

2016 North America New PR Agencies of the Year

Our 2016 North America PR Agencies of the Year are the result of an exhaustive research process involving more than 150 submissions and 50 face-to-face meetings with the best PR firms across the US and Canada.

Analysis of each of the Agencies of the Year for every category can be accessed via the navigation menu to the right or here.

Winners were unveiled at the 2016 North American SABRE Awards, taking place at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York on May 3.

New PR Agency of the Year: Day One (Independent)

Day One was founded when three senior leaders from M Booth’s digital team broke away in 2013 to build an “efficient agency model designed for paid, earned, owned and shared strategies.” Now three years in, Day One has produced remarkable work for a client portfolio that even established agencies would envy. Among these, Day One launched American Express Checkout to merchants, creating a unified digital brand across all of AMEX’s owned channels; rolled out a phased communications approach to educate the market on AMEX’s multi-business loyalty program Plenti; built a campaign to enthuse YouTube’s top content creators; crafted a narrative around Starwood’s new Tribute Portfolio brand; empowered Under Armour’s fans to deliver their own messages to groundbreaking ballet dancer Misty Copeland. — AaS

Finalists

Hudson Cutler & Company (Independent)

Former Weber Shandwick and FleishmanHillard exec Robert Dowling launched Hudson Cutler & Company as an integrated marketing company that puts technology (meaning software, apps, devices, etc) at the center of its campaigns. Having only launched in November, already Coca-Cola, BMW, AMC Networks and Visa have signed on as clients for the firm’s redefining approach to marketing. The firm is up to eight employees in New York who are focused on audience behavior, amplification and engagement programs and fully measuring campaign outcomes. — AaS

Rsquared (Independent)
Rsquared (named for the initials of founder Rebecca Reeve) was established in 2013 around a then-emerging startup Slack that has grown into one of Silicon Valley’s hottest unicorns. Rsquared’s role in taking Slack from launch to 'company of the year' is shortlisted in the SABRE Awards. But Reeve’s 8-person shop (with offices in San Francisco and Vancouver) is more than just one client — over the past 12 months the firm has worked with Trello, MailChimp, Digit, Zendesk, Zendrive, Eventbase, and Shopify, driving 35-50% growth each year since launch.

As evident from its client portfolio, Rsquared looks to tell stories aligned with the future of ‘X’ — in Slack’s case, the future of work. While most agencies are rapidly adding services, Reeve prefers to do one thing very well. In this case, that’s “high-touch” work primarily on influencer and media outreach. — AaS

Kovert Creative (WME-IMG)
Former PMK*BNC execs Joseph Assad and Lewis Kay have started a new firm — Kovert Creative — that is designed to complement WME-IMG’s main business areas: talent representation, content development and distribution. Already, Kovert has been called in as the new global PR agency for Cadillac. Kovert will be developing and executing overall brand, product and corporate communications strategies for Cadillac over the three year contract. The firm also has a strong client roster of talent including Amy Poehler, Jimmy Kimmel, Jack Black, Will Arnett, Bill Simmons, Sarah Silverman and Rebecca Romijn. The firm has offices in New York and Los Angeles and a team of 14 employees. — AaS

Vested (Independent)

Billed as a ‘new communications agency for a new financial industry’, Vested was founded last year by CEO Dan Simon and president Binna Kim, who previously led the US offices of Cognito. During its first year of operation, the duo were joined by other ex-Cognito alumni, including COO Ishviene Arora and chief creative officer Ali Wells. The leadership team is rounded out by Kevin Trowbridge, a software consultant who serves as Vested’s chief technology officer.

Based in New York City, Vested as already grown to dozen employees and more than 20 clients, including Bloomberg, Citadel, Tabb Group, Investopedia, Backstop Solutions, Betterment, Broadridge, Carbon Trade xChange, CodeStreet, and Museum of American Finance. And like any new firm, Vested makes much of its model, which involves employee ownership, an unlimited vacation policy and a fresh perspective on an industry that is much-maligned. All of this is underpinned by the senior team’s deep experience of the financial services industry, along with a boutique approach that it believes will attract millennials at a time of unprecedented convergence between finance and technology. — AS