Global profile: APCO Worldwide

Headquarters location: Washington, DC

Headquarters location: Washington, DC

Total staff numbers in US 170 Total non-US staff numbers 183 Please list all office locations around the world, identifying which ones are affiliates, partnerships or wholly owned. APCO has 24 offices around the world: Washington, DC, Los Angeles, New York, Ottawa, Phoenix (Scottsdale), Sacramento, Seattle, Brussels, Berlin, Bonn, Edinburgh (affiliate), Geneva, London, Moscow, Paris, Rome, Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta, and Johannesburg (joint venture). Please describe how your agency is structured globally APCO is organized as one profit center globally. It is managed by regional directors who report to the CEO [Margery Kraus] and is supported by global finance, marketing and human resource teams. It is quite customary for the company to share accounts across offices globally with one team leader overall and drawing upon the best resources and talent in any office as needed. APCO also regularly conducts activities to support this global approach, such as an exchange program whereby professionals (about 12 to 20 per year) switch offices for a limited time. As a global company that is truly integrated across continents, this program is not only a reward for outstanding employees, but a vital part of APCO's effort to promote cultural understanding, office integration and best practices. Each year employees apply for the program and a selection committee chooses deserving employees for an exchange to another global office for a period of two to four weeks. Participants are presented with both a personal and professional growth opportunity. On a personal level, exchange participants have an opportunity to learn about and experience another culture. On a professional level, the program allows for exchange participants to serve as ambassadors of their home office by sharing information about service offerings and best practices, while learning about the host office's client work and best practices. As a result, employees develop new perspectives on the profession, build new relationships with colleagues in other APCO offices, and strengthen APCO's global network. APCO also holds global management meetings yearly as a mechanism to ensure that all members of the management team are aligning their offices with the direction of the company, understand the goals, and share their views on local and regional marketplace challenges. Every three or four years, APCO also hosts a global retreat where all employees from each office participate in a several day conference to share best practices, meet with their global colleagues and re-energize. Regional retreats for staff are also carried out. We also have a very robust intranet site that provides knowledge management on a global basis. On a regional basis (e.g. Europe, Asia, North America) it is quite normal for staff to work out of more than one office for a given project. Please list three of your biggest international accounts, with the following information:
  • Dow Corning Regions where you service the account, and whether the work is done by an affiliate, partner or a wholly owned office of the firm Work is primarily performed in North America, Europe, Russia and Asia. On occasion we draw upon other relationships when the client has a specific need not serviced by our regular team. We also have an active relationship through APCO Industria with AH&M Communications and The European Marketing Group. What type of work is done on the account, including what practice areas are involved The type of work done on the account includes corporate positioning/reputation management and marketing communications. APCO works in partnership with its counterparts at Dow Corning to develop the strategy for all aspects of communications, with occasional assistance on government relations and market entry. Length and type of engagement APCO was hired in October 1996 as global agency of record for corporate positioning/reputation management work. We were hired in October 1999 as global agency of record for marketing communications. Management structure of the account (i.e. who leads the account and from which location, how many people work on the account globally, do you have any staff housed inside the company and where, etc.) Jan Hausrath, senior vice president, and Carol Bradford, vice president, lead the combined account teams from APCO's Washington, DC headquarters. Approximately 35 people from APCO's network globally work on the account regularly. How you bill the account On corporate reputation work, we bill monthly. On marketing communications work, we bill retainers for strategic services on a monthly basis, and issue bills based on approved project estimates for specific projects. Size of budget Not supplied
  • Borealis Regions where you service the account, and whether the work is done by an affiliate, partner or a wholly owned office of the firm The work is led by APCO Europe in Brussels, with support from APCO Insight (our research firm) and APCO Industria (our marketing communications practice) to support the client's operations in Europe, Middle East and Asia. What type of work is done on the account, including what practice areas are involved This is an integrated communications program, involving public affairs, strategic communications, reputation research (APCO Insight) and trade media relations (APCO Industria). Length and type of engagement Two-year contract for strategic communications and positioning of the firm in its geographic footprint. Management structure of the account (i.e. who leads the account and from which location, how many people work on the account globally, do you have any staff housed inside the company and where, etc.) We've built the team based on skills and talent drawn from within the network, irrespective of where they are geographically based. The account is led by Cleopatra van de Winkel, director in our UK office, and Thomasine Kamerling, associate director, in APCO's Brussels office. They are supported by staff in Brussels, Paris and London. A core team of five people manage the account day to day, with strategic counsel input resourced from within the network. At interim intervals we have senior members of the team work with the client inside the company. Work in the Middle East and Asia is managed from our Brussels and London offices. How you bill the account Not supplied Size of budget Not supplied
  • Microsoft EMEA Regions where you service the account, and whether the work is done by an affiliate, partner or a wholly owned office of the firm Pan-Europe, Middle East and Africa. Managed from our Brussels and London offices with support from across our network and affiliates. What type of work is done on the account, including what practice areas are involved Corporate communications and public affairs, incorporating media relations and corporate responsibility practices. Length and type of engagement Relationship began January 2003 and has developed from an initial project to become a retainer client. Management structure of the account (i.e. who leads the account and from which location, how many people work on the account globally, do you have any staff housed inside the company and where, etc.) Led by Rachel Thompson, director APCO Europe (based in London) and Brad Staples, chairman APCO Europe. How you bill the account Not supplied Size of budget Not supplied How have international revenues changed from one year ago? Revenue is defined as revenue generated by all regions excluding the region in which your agency is headquartered. Increased, more than 10% How has international staffing changed from one year ago? No change Did performance meet or exceed expectations, or not? Please explain why. What external factors such as the war in Iraq, political issues, cultural issues, affected performance? APCO has internationally diversified revenue from all regions and in 2003 we were satisfied with the revenue generated for the year. In general, there were more new-business opportunities than expected. In the first half of 2004, APCO's performance has exceeded expectations in all regions and we have a strong pipeline for the remainder of the year. Factors affecting performance include the nature of our globally integrated crisis communication offer, the increased number of companies looking to enhance their reputation and rebuild trust through corporate social responsibility programs, the expansion of our global research work, and our knowledge of and ability to work in developing economies, which are moving to market economies with a need for our services. What business have you won, or lost, in the past year due to a global consolidation of PR business by the client? Please list: We have won considerable new business this year. However, we don't believe it has been a result of global consolidation, but rather the growth of our relationships with given clients as they experience working with APCO in one region and decide to use us elsewhere. The only two that were a result of consolidation, we believe, are: Microsoft - win; Borealis - win What regions are performing best right now and why? What regions are under-performing? All regions are experiencing growth and benefiting from the global nature of APCO's key accounts. North America remains our largest and strongest region, and is the driver of global business. We are very pleased with the level of growth. What region do you plan to invest more resources in this year than you did one year ago and why? What region are you decreasing investment in and why? We plan to aggressively invest resources in growing our business in all regions. We will shortly have a new ownership structure which will provide more investment capital and additional incentive to staff to be entrepreneurial. In the short term, we plan to invest more resources in the European region to support countries in the newly expanded European Union. There are other investments we are considering at the moment, including an enhanced presence in New York. There is no region where we plan to decrease investment. We also continue to make investments in senior strategic counselors who have global experience and can work across markets. What new region/country will you consider entering this year and why? Are you considering international acquisitions or organic growth? Over the next year we will consider entering the Eastern European market now that many of the countries have joined or plan to join the European Union. Given our history and experience in developing markets, this will allow us to both support international companies entering the region as well as Eastern European companies looking to move into Western markets. APCO is also considering expansion in Asia. We have focused on China for our first seven years in the region and now have 20% of our workforce in four offices in Greater China. This has been a huge success and we are looking to build on the momentum. We will consider other opportunities as they appear. With only one exception, APCO has grown organically over the years. This has enabled us to build a unified culture across geographies and practice groups. While we wouldn't rule out acquisitions, we would need a special reason for acquiring another firm rather than building our own. Please describe some of the pro bono activities that you undertake internationally, or other ways that your firm connects with the international regions in which you operate. APCO believes strongly in community involvement and volunteerism and encourages employee involvement through company-sponsored activities and on an individual basis. A couple of examples of our international pro bono activities include: Harvard University Kennedy School of Government where APCO provided strategic consultation and on-the-ground support to Harvard as it organized the November 2003 Beijing session of its HIV/AIDS and Business in Africa and Asia workshop series. At the conference, APCO presented the business case for HIV/AIDS and recommended approaches for public/private partnerships in China. We have also assisted the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS with an executive visit which included setting up meetings with government and industry in China, as well as providing media relations support to Habitat for Humanity.

  • Have you registered with us yet?

    Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

    Register
    Already registered?
    Sign in

    Would you like to post a comment?

    Please Sign in or register.