No firm has ever repeated its success in the Midsize Agency of the Year category, but Taylor not only earned that unique accomplishment after a second consecutive year of delivering against a demanding business plan and redefining itself as a strategic brand communications firm, it went one better and picked up our U.S. Agency of the Year award. The numbers underlying that recognition are impressive—in 2004, the firm had $8.4 million in fees and 70-plus accounts; today it has more than $20 million in fees and just 25 clients—but the numbers tell only a small part of the story. The big difference is that Taylor has been transformed from an old-fashioned publicity shop into what looks a lot like the agency of the future: 20 percent of its fees come from strategic counsel, and the fact that it bills almost $1 million a client has allowed it to invest in a knowledge center that means it can provide research and insight that allows it to drive brand strategy, not just publicity.
When Taylor (then Alan Taylor Communications) was acquired from its founder by a team of six senior executives two and a half years ago, new chief executive Tony Signore outlined an ambitious strategy to expand its reputation beyond the sports marketing niche where it had made its name and establish it as a strategic marketing partner to a roster of category leader, blue-chip brands. In many ways,
Last year saw a significant refinement of the firm’s strategic approach, which involves sitting down with each client at what the firm calls a “kick-start” meeting and together establishing what success—not just marketing communications success, but business success—looks like. The process that continues through two stages of research, designed to provide insight into both the communications landscape and the target audience. To assist with the research, the firm has established the
Fortunately, plenty do. The firm’s biggest clients are blue-chip brands such as Diageo, MasterCard, Alltel, Microsoft, and Allstate; others include Coca-Cola, Kleenex, Bombardier, Hyatt Resorts, Staples, Callaway Golf, and ING. Fee income in 2007 was up by about 10 percent to $20.1 million and the firm now employs about 115 people across five offices.
In the process,
The firm also invested significant time and energy in improving the cultural environment in 2007, working with management consultant Darryl Salerno to incorporate Leader’s Edge and Second Quadrant training programs; developing a new internal communications structure; and conducting an agency-wide audit that underscored the need for greater collaboration. To that end, perhaps the most significant move of the year was the relocation to new space in the World Trade Center—including a library, a production room and a recreation room—which provides a state-of-the-art environment for the firm’s future growth.