Carmichael Lynch Spong: Agency Business Report 2011

PR counselor headcount is up this year, though the agency closed its Denver office. President Doug Spong says that office was very small and originally had three staffers, but was down to only one. Turnover was "comparable to industry average," he adds.

Principal: Doug Spong, president
Ownership: Interpublic Group
Offices: Minneapolis (HQ), New York

Staff
PR counselor headcount is up this year, though the agency closed its Denver office. President Doug Spong says that office was very small and originally had three staffers, but was down to only one. Turnover was "comparable to industry average," he adds.

Practice areas
The firm's three primary practice areas are brand marketing, corporate, and b-to-b, with four main segments: home and garden, food and beverage, outdoor and leisure, and retail. Home and garden came back after a decline last year, Spong says, and it accounts for nearly one-third of revenue.

Accounts
Less than 10% of the agency's clients are on retainer. Wins include Amerock, Brainstrong, H&R Block, Kirsch, Kryptonite, Levolor, Rubbermaid, and Westinghouse Solar. Spong says the firm did not lose any key accounts.

Financial performance
Revenue is less than $50 million. Organic growth was 9.1% and new business growth was 8%. The firm achieved bottom-line and top-line growth due to new business, expense management, and organic growth.

Analysis
Spong says growth was due to a combination of economic recovery and a very aggressive business development strategy. Overall, he says the firm saw a big turnaround from 2009 and predicts another good growth year in 2011.
 
As far as the budget cuts that were prominent in 2009, Spong asserts, "Nobody is spending like drunken sailors."

"Clients are spending smartly if you can lay out the rationale for what and why," he adds. "It's not like the middle part of the decade, but clients will invest where there is a return."

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