Kaplow: Agency Business Report 2013

Agency leader Liz Kaplow, who was named president of New York Women in Communications in May, says the firm has had an exciting year.

Principal: Liz Kaplow, president and CEO
Ownership: Independent
Offices: New York
Revenue: $10,850,000
Headcount:  59

Agency leader Liz Kaplow, who was named president of New York Women in Communications (NYWICI) in May, says the firm has had an exciting year so far.

She explains that working with non-profit NYWICI, which empowers female professionals in the communications industry, has been a great opportunity for the agency because the organization brings the worlds of journalism, PR, marketing, and digital together.

At the agency, Kaplow says the focus has been on internal culture and leadership.

"We've been thinking a lot about issues within the workplace and flexibility and culture and how we can create a learning environment," she adds.

With five staffers on maternity leave, the CEO is working on a work/life flexibility initiative to help employees juggle parenthood and work by creating an open dialogue around the issue.

The agency has also had some changes in leadership in the last year, rehiring Theresa Lowe McDonnell in September 2012, who previously worked at Kaplow from 2003 to 2005, to serve as EVP and chief consumer strategist, a new role at the agency.

Kaplow also replaced David Richeson, former chief digital officer and MD, with Nadina Guglielmetti, who was promoted from SVP in the digital services group to chief digital officer.

The agency closed its San Francisco office last year.

Kaplow has had a strong 2013 so far in terms of new business and organic growth. From January to July, the agency has seen an 8% to 10% increase in revenue, says Kaplow.

In June, the firm was selected by kitchenware and personal care product maker Conair after an RFP for a project. The budget for the account through the end of the year is about $300,000.

Kaplow was also brought on as the PR agency partner for Kayser-Roth's legwear brand No nonsense, following a competitive review.

The agency's Knext division recently partnered with Erika Ekiel's Storyboard to successfully launch MixBit, a new video creation and editing app and Web site started by the co-founders of YouTube.

Organically, the firm has grown its business across many accounts, such as Target, CVS, Skype, and Alberto-Culver.

At the end of 2011, Skype was bought by Microsoft and Alberto-Culver was acquired by Unilever, and Kaplow says last year the agency worked with both brands through these transitions.

Last year, project work ended with clients Shaklee, a health and wellness consumer products company; thredUP, an online consignment shop; and Enterproid, an enterprise mobility management software company.

When it comes to trends, Kaplow notes that branded journalism and content creation are becoming increasingly important for the firm.

"What's exciting is to be embracing these new practices that as PR folks we now have the right to involve ourselves in with storytelling," she says.

The agency, she adds, has been telling stories for the last 21 years and for the rest of 2013 will focus on new channels such as video.

Measurement is also an area where Kaplow is putting some emphasis on, as well as its traditional media efforts.

"There is still a very strong interest in the core media relations practice in events and experiential ways to bring products to life,  where journalists and influencers get the opportunity to interface with products, so that's a nice balance to some of the new areas that we are growing," she explains.

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