Weber Shandwick: Agency Business Report 2011

Weber Shandwick showed solid gains in 2010, reporting global revenue up 9% and US revenue up 12%, says CEO Harris Diamond. In particular, he adds, New York and northern California enjoyed record growth.

Principals: Harris Diamond, CEO (r); Andy Polansky, president (l); Jack Leslie, chairman (c)
Ownership: Interpublic Group
Offices: 81 wholly owned offices globally; 19 in the US
Revenue: Global: more than $400 million; US: undisclosed

Weber Shandwick showed solid gains in 2010, reporting global revenue up 9% and US revenue up 12%, says CEO Harris Diamond. In particular, he adds, New York and northern California enjoyed record growth.
 
"A surge in our tech business helped fuel record growth in northern California, while strong organic and new business growth in consumer marketing, as well as digital and social media work, drove record gains in New York," says president Andy Polansky.
 
In Europe, Weber's key markets in Italy, Germany, Switzerland, and London saw "healthy year-over-year growth," Diamond adds. Asia-Pacific also saw rebounds, with China posting growth of more than 25%.
 
"The market came back strongly, starting around March," he says, "but social media was clearly the additive rather than replacement. There was a return to growth, but we also had exponential growth and that came from social media. We also saw much more access to CMOs and more willingness on their part to engage us and give us a broader part of the marketing wallet than ever."
 
The firm's consumer, healthcare, and tech practices all contributed strongly to growth. And in light of the financial crisis, Diamond notes how corporate drove a lot of business through corporate governance work.
 
"If we had to look at relative performances for practices," says Polansky, "it was probably driven most by consumer, healthcare, and tech, but within all our practices, social media clearly was an instrumental revenue driver."
 
Client work slowed down for Weber's US government-related and public affairs areas, which Diamond adds was more related to significant projects coming to a natural end and coming off an election year.
 
Good year for new business
Overall, the business breakdown for 2010 saw consumer at 33%, healthcare at 22%, technology at 17%, corporate at 12%, public affairs at 10%, and financial services at 6%.
 
Client wins included Chevrolet Volt, eBay, Genzyme's personal genetic health unit, Nickelodeon, and Zipcar.
 
"It's fair to say last year was terrific for new business," says Diamond. "And wins were widespread and across practice areas. That demonstrates the quality of our people and the intellectual capital that sits here."
 
The agency also expanded work with existing clients last year, including Amazon, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Federal Reserve Bank, HP, and Ocean Spray.

Account losses included Best Buy for project work, Disaronno in Italy, HSBC, Virgin in the UK, and Zain in the UK and Africa.
 
Weber opened a Montreal office last October and closed its Hamburg and Zurich offices at the start of 2010. It also shuttered its Turin, Italy, office in December 2010.
 
Investment continues
While the firm declines to disclose headcount and turnover figures, Diamond says it continues to invest and grow its staff. In 2010, senior hires included Stephanie Agresta as EVP and MD of social media, Tony Hynes as EVP of the tech practice, and Natalie Petouhoff as chief strategist of the digital communications practice.
 
Departures included Ken Luce, president of Weber Shandwick Southwest and global client management, and Jennifer Risi, EVP of the global strategic media group.

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