Allison+Partners: Agency Business Report 2013

MDC agency Allison+Partners had another impressive year as global revenue grew 28% year over year, with 20% of growth organic, 80% from new business.

Principal: Scott Allison, CEO (pictured); Jonathan Heit, president and senior partner
Ownership: MDC Partners owns 51%;  agency partners own 49%
Offices: Global: 12; US: 10
Revenue: Global: $23,237,647; US: $23,064,316
Headcount: Global: 125; US: 120

MDC agency Allison+Partners had another impressive year as global revenue grew 28% year over year, with 20% of growth organic, 80% from new business.

Big brands signed in 2012 and Q1 2013 included US regional work for Toyota, Microsoft for its Lumia launch, an AOR assignment for Asics shoes, Pioneer Electronics, and LA Fitness. The agency continued to grow its Samsung, Progressive Insurance, Best Western, and General Mills accounts – 80% of clients are on retainer.

“It was a mix of taking care of organic business and adding great brands,” says Scott Allison, CEO of Allison+Partners. It lost clients including Chevys, eHarmony, and the National Restaurant Association. 

Focus on Europe and Asia
The agency grew its Dallas, Seattle, and London operations, followed in January 2013 by Beijing. “We'll double London this year and look closely at another European market,” says Allison.

Global growth is principally driven by existing US clients looking for assistance in other markets. “By 2014, substantial revenue will be generated from Asia and Europe,” explains Allison.

Staff turnover at the agency in 2012 was 18%. “In the Bay Area and tech particularly you have higher turnover than other areas,” he adds. “But we only want our portfolio to be 20% to 25% tech to balance our risk, as there's a lot of great business outside it.”

Allison restructured its management team to give people new responsibilities. Phil Carpenter, former GM of San Francisco and senior partner, took the newly created role of West Coast senior partner, leading Allison's West Coast presence.

Zach Colvin, previously an SVP, stepped into Carpenter's former position. The agency promoted Dawn Wilcox, former GM of Los Angeles, to MD of its social impact practice. Larry Krutchik, partner and SVP in Allison's social impact and public affairs group, replaced Wilcox as Los Angeles GM.

Billee Howard, MD of the agency's Brand Innovation Group and creative development officer, left in February. Lisa Rosenberg joined as chief creative officer in March.

“The biggest difference in being part of MDC is that we still own 49% of the company,” says Allison. “You want entrepreneurs to be entrepreneurs, own a significant stake in their business, and have a vested interest in growing and managing it.”

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