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Our 2015 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.
Praytell stood out amongst a field of promising new agencies for its remarkable growth and groundbreaking work that shows Praytell is leading the way in what’s next in PR.
Started in 2013, founder Andy Pray set out to build an agency of the future around: creativity, social media, storytelling and media relations. Two years in, total revenue is more than $3.25 million (up 217%) with most of its 22-person team in its loft-style digs in Brooklyn.
Pray spent most of his career at Ruder Finn before breaking out on his own and building a client portfolio that includes: About.com, Logitech, Hyatt, Estee Lauder Companies and MAC Cosmetics among others. Managing partner Claudio Taratuta hails from an advertising background and Beth Cleveland has entrepreneurial roots of her own.
Under their leadership, the body of work is impressive. For MAC Cosmetics and MAC AIDS Fund, Praytell was asked to make young people notice — and take action — around an epidemic they had grown wary of hearing about. Praytell’s solution demonstrates its ‘new agency’ thinking: the team made a movie. Praytell concepted, casted, produced, licensed and publicized a feature-length documentary, It’s Not Over, working with Netflix.
Las Vegas has seen its fair share of marketing campaigns, so Praytell had to be exceptionally clever when asked to drive excitement around a brand partnership between Hyatt and MGM for the Make Vegas Yours initiative. Praytell integrated promotional content amid breathtaking editorial that showcased real-time social updates, colorful user-generated imagery and among other creative content. Robust SEO, thoughtful social media strategy and highly targeted paid promotion helped drive significant revenue for Hyatt.
The agency has also built a culture the creative class wants to work for and with. For instance, through its Passion Projects initiative in which Praytell gives away its services for free to causes its employees care about. The first full cycle of the Passion Project included three organizations and the next enrollment period opens this summer.
This year, Praytell is tracking towards $4.5m in revenues, proving it’s a standout among a sea of new agencies looking break the old agency mold. — AaS
Three digital execs from M Booth — seemingly suddenly — left the agency in 2013 and formed Day One. The fresh start, they say, was necessary to re-engineer the agency model around efficiency and telling channel agnostic stories.
Since going live in March 2014 with co-founders: Josh Rosenberg, Brad Laney and Rob Longert Day One has grown to 15 people and revenue has doubled. What’s most promising about Day One is not just their client roster — which includes American Express, Comcast, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, YouTube, Rémy Martin and the US Virgin Islands Department of Tourism — but its innovative work and storytelling process.
Take, for instance, its work for Rémy Martin that integrated social storytelling with media relations and an experiential event activation to create the “Circle of Centaurs.” The initiative — deemed a a branded mentorship program — sought to engage millennials by identifying and spotlighting mentors (“Centaurs”) who embody the spirit of the brand. The program culminated with mentorship award events in New York, Detroit, Los Angeles, Houston and Chicago.
Integrated work for US Virgin Islands tourism has led to selling 1,000 vacations. The Le Méridien Follow Me campaign was launched with photographer Gray Malin and included a 24-hour reel of influencer captured photographs and video clips that showcase iconic destinations from Le Méridien properties around the world.
Day One is based in New York with a satellite office in Los Angeles. It’s still early days, but Day One shows potential to become a major player on the digital storytelling front. — AaS
Founded in early 2013 by Weber Shandwick and Hill+Knowlton Strategies veterans Ken Luce and Jody Venturoni, LDWWgroup hit the ground running, thanks its founders deep roots and strong relationships in the Texas public relations community.
Partner Mike Flanagan — another Weber and H+K alum — leads the firm's St Petersburg office and its Carnival Corporation business. The firm promises clients — its focus is on challenger brands — an integrated approach, greater senior management involvement, and a more responsive working relationship, and is one of the few startups capable of combining marketing and corporate communications with public affairs and senior-level strategic counsel.
In just two years, it has grown to close to $5.5m in fee income, up 40% last year. Interesting work during the firm's first two years has included working with Bell Helicopter on news media and social media strategies and on emerging regulatory and business issues; launched #unminivan moments, a summer long social campaign for Ford's 2014 Transit Connect Wagon; and developed a brand and digital strategy for tech start-up Qples.
LDWW also picked up SABRE Award nominations for its crisis recovery work on behalf of cruise line Carnival; for its 'Boycott Black Thursday' campaign for retailer GameStop; and for its wellness campaign on behalf of Omni Hotels. The firm also joined the IPREX network of independent PR firms last year, expanding its geographic reach.— PH
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