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GolinHarris Named 2013 Large Agency Of The Year In Americas Region
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GolinHarris Named 2013 Large Agency Of The Year In Americas Region

Agency of the Year honors for Gibbs & Soell, Shift, FoodMinds, Hatch, Citizen Optimum, and Burson-Marsteller.

Holmes Report

GolinHarris Named 2013 Large Agency Of The Year In Americas Region

NEW YORK—GolinHarris was named the Holmes Report's Americas region Large Agency of the Year. And there were honors too for Gibbs & Soell, Shift Communications, FoodMinds, Hatch Group, Citizen Optimum, and Burson-Marsteller.

Selected on the basis of their submissions to our annual Agency Report Card, the Agencies of the Year will be honored at the annual SABRE dinner, held this year at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York. Tickets are available here.

Also announced today are the Americas region Specialist Agencies of the Year.

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 mentions: 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 mentions: Cone, DKC, Havas PR, MWW

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 industry-leading 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.—AS

Honorable mentions: 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 mentions: 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 still matters, defining this -- not only by solid media relations -- but also with experiential events and content creation. -- AAS

Honorable mentions: Hotwire, M&C Saatchi, the 10 company, Zing

Canadian Agency of the Year: Citizen Optimum

A year after Optimum rebranded to become Citizen Optimum—a part of the international Citizen Relations group that also includes the former PainePR in the US—the firm has restructured its practices and launched several new services under the leadership of Canadian general manager Nick Cowling, and Isabelle Perras, who leads the French Canadian offer out of Montreal and Quebec City offices. Canadian fee income grew by about 22 percent in 2012, to around $8 million (US), picking up new work from marquee client Procter & Gamble, and produced award-winning work for the Pampers brand, Tourism British Columbia, and Capital One Canada’s financial literacy initiative.—PH

Honorable mentions: Edelman, Energi, Hill+Knowlton Strategies, NATIONAL Public Relations

Latin American Agency of the Year: 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 mentions: FSB, Imagem Corporotiva, Llorente & Cuenca, JeffreyGroup

Also announced today are the Americas region Specialist Agencies of the Year.

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