Cramer-Krasselt: Agency Business Report 2013

Chicago-based Cramer-Krasselt continues to blur the lines between traditionally distinct departments within its integrated structure.

Principal: Peter Krivkovich, president/CEO
Ownership: Independent
Offices: Chicago; New York; Phoenix; Milwaukee
Revenue: $16.3 million
Headcount: 64 (PR practitioners); 554 (total US staff)

Chicago-based Cramer-Krasselt continues to blur the lines between traditionally distinct departments within its integrated structure. “Our incentives are based on the total growth of the company, not an individual department or discipline,” says Peter Krivkovich, president and CEO. “It does not matter to us whether a client spends money in paid, earned, or owned media.”

Although agency-wide revenue increased 2.6%, Cramer-Krasselt reports that revenue attributable to traditional PR activities was down $500,000 for the year.

Multi-disciplinary challenges
Total staffing did not decline, but traditional PR headcount is down seven people compared to 2011. Krivkovich insists these declines are not indicative of a reduced commitment to PR, but the mounting difficulty in separating multi-disciplinary processes such as social media, analytics, and interactive into tidy buckets.

“There will come a time where we won't be able to say, ‘This is PR and this is advertising,'” he says. “We look at whether the account grows or does not grow.”

New business was headlined by a highly publicized product launch project for Vera Bradley and expanded work for Grand Canyon University, Bombardier Recreational Products, TriVita, Rain-X, Ruiz Foods' El Monterey brand, and Cedar Fair Amusement Parks.

Overall staff turnover at the agency was 15%, but the firm did bring in a number of new faces in leadership positions. Derek Green became senior VP and executive creative director in Chicago. Steve Radick was hired as VP and group account director, PR, and Dave Racine was named VP and management supervisor, PR. Mary Shaughnessy, formerly VP and group account director, departed for Allison+Partners.

Krivkovich sees social as a continuing growth opportunity among his own client base and for the industry at large. Many of 2012's hires come from social media backgrounds and the agency is now seeking dedicated video production experts to support a variety of client communication needs.

“Social starts out being handled separately, often within client organizations, because it's so new,” Krivkovich explains. “As clients become more sophisticated, they realize it is just another channel of communication that needs to be intertwined with every other channel.”

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