Boutique PR Agency of the Year 2010

Sponsored by Chandler Chicco Companies. Open to any firm whose current annual PR income (consisting of fees plus mark-up for disbursements) is less than $5 million. The CEOs of each firm were required to certify in writing that the agency's annual PR income met those qualifications, as well as date of incorporation and number of employees. This award recognizes financial and client-list growth, client retention, and PR creativity and innovation

?Winner: Catalyst Public Relations

Founded four years ago, Catalyst focuses on three distinct practice areas: sports, active lifestyle, and entertainment. With three offices across the US, the agency works with a select roster of 15 brands, including Under Armour and Subway Restaurants. This model allows the agency's most senior people to work very closely on accounts, something which helped to contribute to the agency's 94% client-retention rate.

Each year, the firm conducts a client survey to measure overall performance, service challenges, and business outlook. Impressively, all clients would be likely to recommend Catalyst to a friend or colleague at another company.

Perhaps most notable for the judges was that the firm predicted its 2009 revenue would be up 15% over the previous year, something one judge called "impressive" in a down economy. This is due to not only the client retention, but also to its expanding social media expertise - securing additional assignments from clients like Subway, Vitaminwater, and Timex.

Research and measurement were key growth areas for the agency in 2009, as it concentrated on giving these tools to its account teams to help them better understand their clients' target consumer.

Another area that impressed the judges was Catalyst's employee-retention rate of more than 80%. The agency attributes part of this to the fact that employees have the chance to work with clients and programs that represent their passions and interests.

In addition, the Catalyst Culture Club, a new employee-driven group, helped institute a formal mentoring program and professional development workshops on strategic writing, media relations, digital media, and research trends, something one judge cited as being particularly impressive.

Overall, Catalyst's high-profile clients and high staff- and client-retention rates helped it earn Boutique Agency of the Year honors.

Honorable Mention: Linhart Public Relations

In one of the industry's worst years, Linhart's revenues rose 21.7%, something which impressed the judges. In addition to long-term clients like Johns Manville, Chipotle, and Panera Bread, the firm added Southwest Airlines, Fogo de Chao, mix1 Beverage Co., and Colorado Technical University. The annual client satisfaction survey yielded a 3.48 out of 4 score for the agency and it earned a Net Promoter score of 100%, as all clients would recommend it to others looking for a firm. Judges also cited the agency's charitable work - over the past year the firm donated $34,580 to support local and national groups and provided $83,474 in pro bono PR services.

Finalists 2010

  • Catalyst Public Relations
  • Dukas Public Relations
  • Getting Your Message Right (GYMR) Public Relations
  • Linhart Public Relations
  • Mitchell Communications Group

Chandler Chicco Companies is a network of global companies representing best-in-class capa- bilities in healthcare communications across public relations, medical education, market access, scientific and clinical trial communications, marketing and branding, graphic design, media and production, and research and measurement. Current CCC companies include: Chandler Chicco Agency, Biosector 2, Lit-mus, Determinus, 'nition, Allidura Consumer, Brandtectonics and Chandler Chicco Productions.

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