Holmes Report 27 Oct 2010 // 11:00PM GMT
CJP Communications (formerly Cubitt Jacobs & Prosek) is distinguished from the mass of New York area firms by its uncommon intellectual firepower. Led by Jen Prosek, an MBA still in her 30s, the firm places a heavy emphasis on smarts, hiring similarly qualified individuals (40 percent of the firm’s staff have an MBA) 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, which was never more important than it was in 2009 as the firm harnessed the enthusiasm and innovation of its employees to create new practice areas (digital media, editorial services, investor relations, and events) and drive new business (the share of new business leads generated by Prosek herself has diminished from more than two-thirds to less than a third over the past couple of years).
Several other factors helped the firm hold its own—fee income was actually up, by 1 percent—in 2009: most notably, the firm’s “renaissance marketing” approach, which allows CJP to deliver a wide range of solutions—some traditional, others (like a so-called “digimentary”) less so—for clients. About half of CJP’s business comes from the financial services realm, attracted by the firm’s promise to “bring fabulous to finance,” by which CJP means that it approaches financial business with the kind of creativity more typically associated with the consumer sector. But most of last year’s growth came from the firm’s digital practice and a continued increase in crisis communications assignments.
The firm continues to work for a host of big corporate names:Royal Bank of Scotland, Edward Jones, GE Commercial Finance, GE Energy Financial Services, GE Capital, Pitney Bowes, Jefferies, Phoenix Companies, Swiss Re, Franklin Templeton, Genworth Financial, and State Street Corporation. New business in 2009 came from GE Real Estate, GMAC, AFLAC and Travelers. High-profile work included support for Ally Bank, which turned to CJP to help launch its promise to deliver more consumer-friendly products and services, driving a 10 percent increase in retail deposits; and for IKEA’s branded comedy series Easy to Assemble, a broad-based communications program for series creator and producer Illeana Douglas, as well as support for the brand on all marketing, social media relations, distribution and publicity.
“Since we’ve hired CJP, we’ve only had a very positive experience,” says Samantha Finnegan, manager, corporate marketing and communications, Sybase. “They’ve consistently delivered strong results and our team has been the same since day one which is a rarity in the agency world. They’ve become an extended part of the internal team and we know we can rely on them at a moment’s notice. They rock!”
The firm has also continued to score high marks on our Best Agencies to Work For research, something that has doubtless contributed to both impressive staff retention and key new hires, including Eric Chandler, who joined in 2009 from AOL to help grow the firm’s digital and social media work.
CJP is part of an international network of PR and communications firms through its partnership with Cubitt Consulting in London.