DAS president discusses PR results

Tom Harrison, president and CEO of Omnicom unit DAS, said last year's results in PR operations, comprising 10% of its overall revenue last year, means agencies need to generate more business.

Tom Harrison, president and CEO of Omnicom unit DAS, said last year's results in PR operations, comprising 10% of its overall revenue last year, means agencies need to generate more business.

The division's growth for Q4 was just over one percent (1.3%) and only slightly larger for the year at 2.1%.

"We're looking at the strategies, how they're innovating in and around their own companies how they're continuously making themselves more relevant to clients and what kind of insights they're bringing to clients in order to grow our disciplines more."

He said the strategy for growing PR business will be about touting the significance of PR to branding and brand growth.

One thing he wants to see is PR agencies do a better job of communicating those things to current and potential clients.

"I'm not certain any PR agencies, not just ours, have been effective in really demonstrating to clients the real power of PR," Harrison said. "And I think if we or other folks were to do that, PR would grow a lot quicker than it has historically grown within Omnicom or the industry in general. I just think there's more to PR...than maybe what's currently being used."

Harrison believes Omnicom's agencies are doing a decent job of it.  "I've been in a lot of strategy sessions with all of our companies. And we've developed strategies that demonstrate to clients how PR along with other disciplines really synergize the brand building efforts of other communications vehicles as well."

Harrison said he has seen indications that 2006 will be a big year for Omnicom's PR agencies.

"Each of the three global agencies and even Brodeur on a more national level have talked to me about significant new business potentials and new business presentations and already some new business wins this year," Harrison explained. They seem to be very, very bullish on the year right now."

Asked if it would be considering any acquisitions for 2006, Harrison said only if "they would make us better at what it is we're doing or take us in a different direction we think consumers or our clients might."

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