Large PR Agency of the Year 2010

Sponsored by WCG. Open to any firm whose current annual PR income (consisting of fees plus mark-up for disbursements) is $65 million or higher. 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: GolinHarris

Because of the tough economy, 2009 was the first year in three that the firm didn't grow at a double-digit rate. Still, through strong cost management, Golin plans to grow its bottom line by a significant percentage and planned to end 2009 with a profit margin above 20% - its best in a decade.

Best known for its 50-year client relationship with McDonald's, Golin used 2009 to bring in a significant amount of highly coveted business. The firm won competitive pitches for Wal-Mart and Playtex. It added 75 other new clients, including Princess Cruises, Boehringer Ingelheim, Liberty Mutual, and Unilever. It also grew its existing client work. In one year, its work with Underwriters Laboratory grew from a small project to a top-10 global account.

But what helped it stand out in this year's process was its Get Real product, which is designed to deconstruct the concept of authenticity and provides an easy-to-use 12-step process for applying authenticity. The booklet is meant to inform and inspire not only staff, but also current and prospective clients. One judge called it "timely and impressive."

Golin also created "Speaking of Social Media," an e-newsletter that highlights social media trends, provides real-world examples, and is shared with more than 100 companies around the world. Golin also developed the Gold Standard, a formal client service model that reinforces the skills, attitudes, and behavior expected of employees when serving clients.

Golin also formalized its charitable efforts in 2009, instituting Al's Day, an annual community service day in honor of founder Al Golin. In June, offices around the world spent a day making their local communities better.

Thought leadership, financial performance, client wins, and service all played a key role in Golin's winning this coveted honor.

Honorable Mention: Ketchum

Judges called Ketchum's merger with Pleon Worldwide "noteworthy" and commended its ability to increase revenue in a difficult year. The firm retained its top 50 clients and its employees, while winning 129 new client tasks, including H&R Block and Roche. Its goal for a "transformational year" was especially evident in its commitment to CSR, called KSR by the firm. Staffers donate services to such initiatives as the movement rallying for change at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.

Finalists 2010

  • Edelman
  • Fleishman-Hillard
  • GolinHarris
  • Ketchum
  • Weber Shandwick

WCG is focused on the corporate and product marketing and communications needs of the world's leading companies, serving clients in offices in San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Washington, DC, Austin, TX, and London. WCG's seasoned professionals specialize in branding, design, digital and traditional marketing, corporate and product PR, media, investor and advocacy relations, clinical trial recruitment, and grassroots direct-to-patient communications campaigns. For more information, please visit

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