FleishmanHillard: Agency Business Report 2011

Unlike most large publicly traded PR groups, Fleishman-Hillard is this year not citing Sarbanes-Oxley as a reason to hide basic business details.

Principal: Dave Senay, president and CEO (global)
Ownership: Omnicom Group, as part of the Diversified Agency Services group
Subsidiary agencies: Blue Current PR, CCW, GMMB, High Road Communications, Lois Paul & Partners, Paul Wilmot Communications, Stratacomm, TogoRun, VOX Global
Offices: 84 wholly owned globally; 41 in the US
Revenue: Global: $500 million US: $335 million
Headcount: 2,400 global; 1,430 US

Unlike most large publicly traded PR groups, Fleishman-Hillard is this year not citing Sarbanes-Oxley as a reason to hide basic business details. In the spirit of the act, it has revealed revenues and headcounts.
 
Global 2010 revenues stood at $500 million, with $335 million of that coming from the US, both figures up 8% on 2009. Profit margin was not revealed, but was described as "very healthy" and "industry leading."
 
Global advantages
President and CEO Dave Senay says the communications market is becoming more global and providing true competitive advantages to networks such as his: "Our top clients grew larger and more geographically diverse. One in four of our top 200 clients are now headquartered outside the US."
 
He also notes that, of the agency's top 50 clients, half of revenues are garnered from the five core practice areas of corporate reputation, healthcare, public affairs, tech, and marketing. Every one of those clients is served from multiple offices: 68% on two or more continents, 46% on four or more.
 
Longstanding client AT&T is still a giant account for Fleishman, which played a big role in its "Rethink Possible" integrated communications campaign launch last April. New client wins in 2010 included Deutsche Bank, FEMA, and Merck.
 
Losses included Match.com, after less than a year, some work for Motorola, and subsidiary TogoRun shed the Merck women's health portfolio business to Marina Maher Communications.
 
Former McDonald's senior communicator John Blyth joined as SVP and partner in the firm's Dallas office, Stephanie Marchesi came from Cohn & Wolfe to become SVP and MD of global integrated marcomms, and Maxine Winer was hired from Edelman to become GM in Chicago.
 
Staff turnover was 20% in 2010; global headcount grew by 4.8%, to 2,400, with 1,430 based in the US, although there were 9% layoffs in the Washington office in August.
 
Senay tapped former president of New York-based Grey Group Steve Hardwick as New York GM. Hardwick left the WPP agency after 25 years in advertising.
 
It's a trend Senay sees mirrored at a macro level, as Fleishman increasingly works alongside sister Omnicom firms in other disciplines, such as ad agencies BBDO, DDB, and TBWA; media agencies OMD and PHD; direct marketing specialist Rapp Collins; and even PR firms such as Cone and Porter Novelli. To continue the theme, the firm's MobileBehavior unit, which had offices in New York and Singapore, was transferred to Tribal DDB last September.
 
Spanning all media
Fleishman's PESO model also reflects the trans-media theme, with its emphasis on Paid, Earned, Shared, and Owned media. Long tied to earned media, PR now spans all four environments to better offer clients the big ideas they seek, notes Senay.
 
"The way people consume media has changed forever," he explains. "It's so much more accountable than in the past."

Senay expects a huge 2011 and claims record new business in Q1. "Proof of concept is coming and we're excited by it," he says. "We want to control the future and influence the conversation before it starts."

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