Shift Communications: Agency Business Report 2011

Headcount was 95, an increase of 18 from 2009 when the agency had reported a 15% decrease due to layoffs.

Principal: Todd Defren, principal
Ownership: Independent
Offices: 3: Boston, New York, San Francisco

Staff
Headcount was 95, an increase of 18 from 2009 when the agency had reported a 15% decrease due to layoffs.
 
Practice areas
Of the consumer, tech, healthcare, security, and b-to-b practices, principal Todd Defren says consumer opportunities continue to show the greatest momentum.
 
Accounts
The largest account win in late 2010 was Logitech. Other AOR wins include Taser, Overstock.com, Hoover's, and Pitney Bowes.
 
Though Shift lost smaller-brand accounts due to its own economic challenges, Defren says the firm will continue to represent a mix of big-name brands and startups that enable creativity and experimentation.
 
Financial performance
The agency reported $9,968,188 for the year. Defren attributes the number to a stabilization following the 2008-2009 re-cession, as well as to the loss of business from struggling startups.
 
Analysis
Despite the numbers, Defren says, "From a momentum standpoint, we feel stronger than ever." He anticipates at least 20% growth for 2011, driven largely by early-year new-business wins such as AOL, as well as organic expansion within its New York office.
 
He explains the new office, which was in part responsible for the Overstock.com and AOL new-business wins, grew into a profitable, 14-person operation during the year.
 
"I just spent two days locked in a conference room with senior staff," says Defren. "We recreated and redefined our mission and values and I was heartened that we all agreed on the mission of Shift: to redefine and challenge the role and impact of PR."

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