2011 Global Agencies Of The Year
Charting the future of public relations
Holmes Report
News and insights from the global PR industry

2011 Global Agencies Of The Year

Global recognition for Edelman, Brunswick, Glover Park Group, Prime, Bite Communications, WCG and Ogilvy Digital Influence.

Holmes Report

Global Agency of the Year
Finalists: Burson-Marsteller, Fleishman-Hillard, MSLGroup, Weber Shandwick

Worldwide growth of close to 19 percent in 2010 means that Edelman now has global fee income of around $540 million—enough to make it the largest public relations firm in the world by our reckoning. Its performance over the past few years has been extraordinary—certainly enough to earn it our Global Agency of the Year award again in 2011—as it has demonstrated conclusively that a family-owned firm can compete with and beat the big publicly-traded companies. That’s underscored by its new business record over the past 12 months, which saw major wins of AMD, Juniper Networks, Wrigley and - perhaps most significantly - crisis counsel for News Corp. Other new clients included Jim Beam, Best Buy, Bloomberg, ConAgra, Harley Davidson, HSBC, Levi Strauss, Mars, the PGA of America, Sara Lee, Time Warner Cable, United Airlines, Visa, Volkswagen and Western Union, joining a client roster headlined by Adobe, the American Petroleum Institute, AstraZeneca, eBay, HP, Microsoft, Pepsi, Pfizer, Starbucks and Unilever.—PH

The Global SABRE for Outstanding Corporate/Financial Consultancy
Brunswick Group
Finalists: Abernathy McGregor, Blue Rubicon, Hering Schuppener, Kekst

Brunswick’s work on a series of sensitive crises and issues caught the eye, helping to demonstrate one of the firm’s most compelling advantages over its rivals—its stellar corporate reputation capabilities. The biggest assignment of them all was helping handle the fallout from BP’s calamitous Gulf of Mexico oil spill, while Brunswick also assisted Toyota during its recall; Goldman Sachs in China; and the Dubai Government’s financial restructuring. There was plenty of financial work, too, including AT&T’s proposed acquisition of T-Mobile, and major deals that included Burger King, Express Scripts and Kraft. Topline revenues soared by more than 50 percent and the agency also added new offices in Vienna, Dallas-Fort Worth, Abu Dhabi and Munich. And founder Alan Parker also unveiled an ambitious attempt to dilute ownership among the agency’s senior partners, an initiative that will—like everything Brunswick does—be closely watched by its peers and rivals.—AS

The Global SABRE for Outstanding Public Affairs Consultancy
Glover Park Group
Finalists: APCO Worldwide, Bell Pottinger, Burson-Marsteller, Portland

Now with upwards of $50 million in fees, Washington, DC, heavyweight Glover Park’s ability to synthesize top-tier public affairs credentials with a formidable communications offering helped it prevail despite a highly-competitive shortlist. The agency exhibited strong growth throughout the downturn, following another double-digit increase last year. Growth has come across the board: in healthcare, financial services, clean tech and sustainability, and the firm also has a nice presence in media and entertainment. Glover Park has become well known for its ability to handle complex client engagements, on behalf of such names as United Healthcare and Chase Manhattan. Other high-profile assignments include crisis PA work for Toyota, lobbying for Expedia, and representing the NFL during the lockout. And this year the firm was called in to support News Corp’s US regulatory efforts in the wake of its phone-hacking scandal.—AS

The Global SABRE for Outstanding Consumer Consultancy
Finalists: Coyne PR, Exposure, Frank, Ketchum

Two-time winner of the Nordic Consultancy of the Year honor in our annual EMEA region SABRE Awards, Prime PR is the hottest public relations firm in Northern Europe, winning more top-tier awards for its work last year than any other firm in the region (including the giant multinationals) and demonstrating the ability to deliver not only great public relations work, but the kind of big ideas that companies can build their entire brand marketing platforms around. The firm ended its 12th year with fee income of SEK 145 million (around €15.5 million) and more than 100 people after yet another year of double digit growth, with a client list that includes Shell, Electrolux, Kraft Foods, Save the Children, McDonald’s and Skoda. But it’s the award-winning work that stands out. During 2010, Prime added two Gold Lions and three Silver Lions from Cannes (making it the most awarded public relations firm at the competition), four Gold SABREs (again, more than any other firm) and an IPRA Golden World Award for digital media relations.—PH

The Global SABRE for Outstanding Technology Consultancy
Bite Communications
Shortlist: Horn Group, Nelson Bostock, Octopus Group, Waggener-Edstrom,

Bite Communications stood apart from its rivals thanks in large part to an embrace of innovation that is starting to reap rich rewards. The agency has been quicker than most in acquiring the kind of skills that still remain unconventional in PR circles. Its Asian operation bought eCRM firm OneXeno and web design/build shop Interlink Systems, while its European and US operations have also displayed a refreshing focus on channel neutrality, through its Point of View methodology. Business-wise, Bite saw impressive double-digit growth in 2010, and rebounded from the tough loss of AMD in the US to snare the critical Nokia global business earlier this year. That added to Bite’s landmark HP account win last year, demonstrating a credible ability to handle significant multi-market business. The firm also expanded its geographic footprint by adding India, and continued to score highly for its workplace practices.

The Global SABRE for Outstanding Healthcare Consultancy
Shortlist: Chandler Chicco Agency, Edelman, GCI Health, Tonic Life

Having established itself over the past five years as the largest independent healthcare public relations firm in the United States, and the fastest-growing public relations firm of its size, WCG (formerly
WeissComm Group) is not inclined to rest on its considerable laurels. The firm has doubled in size over the past two years (fee income was around $18 million in 2008 and surpassed $37 million in 2010) and while it can’t maintain that rate of growth for ever, founder and chief executive Jim Weiss believes the firm can hit the $100 million mark within the next four years. It will be helped by an approach that is distinguished by a commitment to integration (the firm has made acquisitions in the design space, developing a creative department that has strong interactive and digital capabilities); an industry-leading social media practice (the firm was named our Digital Agency of the Year, following on two Healthcare Agency of the Year awards, early in 2011); and a new focus on analytics and research.—PH

The Global SABRE for Outstanding Global Digital/Social Consultancy
Ogilvy Digital Influence
Shortlist: Edelman, We Are Social, Weber Shandwick, Zocalo Group

In many respects, Ogilvy Digital Influence points the way towards the PR industry’s vision of social media evolution. The division was born out of Ogilvy Public Relations, giving it the kind of social media smarts that are increasingly taken for granted at cutting-edge PR firms. Tellingly, though, Ogilvy’s paid and owned capabilities have become every bit as impressive as its earned media credentials. Accordingly, Digital Influence now acts as a social media marketing hub for the full range of Ogilvy Group’s disciplines, from advertising to direct marketing, retail communication and public relations. It is also truly global, counting 90 staffers across five global hubs, led by MD John Bell. And over the past year, there was plenty of impressive work to celebrate - for such clients as Ford, BP, Unilever and IBM. Its Asian unit, led by Thomas Crampton, won Holmes Report recognition as Asia-Pacific Digital Consultancy of the Year, while its EMEA division brought in new leadership in the form of Kaitlyn Wilkins. If digital is the future of the PR industry, than Ogilvy looks to be in safe hands.—AS


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