Fleishman-Hillard: Agency Business Report 2013

On the heels of 2011, which Dave Senay, president and CEO of Fleishman-Hillard, at the time called "the best year in the history of the company," the Omnicom agency topped itself in 2012.

Principal: Dave Senay, president and global CEO
Ownership: Omnicom Group, as part of the Diversified Agency Services division
Subsidiary agencies: BlueCurrent, CCW, GMMB, High Road Communications, Lois Paul & Partners, Paul Wilmot Communications, Stratacomm, TogoRun, Vox Global
Offices: Global: 84 wholly owned; US: 37
Revenue: Global: $500 million-plus; US: $350 million-plus
Headcount: Global: more than 2,650; US: undisclosed

On the heels of 2011, which Dave Senay, president and CEO of Fleishman-Hillard, at the time called “the best year in the history of the company,” the Omnicom agency topped itself in 2012.

The holding company's PR firms' organic revenue grew 8.4% in Q4 2012 compared to the same period in 2011, while full-year growth was about 3.3%. Fleishman's 2012 top- and bottom-line growth, according to Senay, was much closer to the former figure.

About $100 million in new business was attained in 2012, about 60% from existing clients including GM and Visa. New account wins included Saudi Aramco, Li Ning sporting goods – the “Nike of China,” says Senay – Tyson Foods, and the Illinois Office of Tourism. The latter two lifted the firm's roster of $1 million-plus accounts to 91, up from 84 in 2011, and 72 in 2010.

Senay also highlights some key business wins against non-traditional rivals. Last November, for example, it beat shops including ad agency Mullen and digital creative firm The Barbarian Group for Naked Juice. “Our Go Beyond model enables us to give clients ideas far more integrated than other types of agencies can,” he explains.

Work for Qatar Foundation's World Innovation Summit for Education and Obama for America ended last year.

Fleishman also devoted great resources to itself, as the firm was set to rebrand in early May with a new logo, tagline, The Power of True, and website. “We haven't rebranded since 1985,” reports Senay. “Now we have a different story to tell. With a new identity that is global and iconoclastic, it clarifies who we are with renewed relevance to where the world is today.”

The key role women play in the agency's hierarchy is another source of pride for Fleishman, which, for a fourth straight year in 2013, was named among the “Top 50 Companies for Executive Women” by the National Association for Female Executives – the only PR firm recognized on the list.

Globally, Senay cites the US and EMEA as major growth hubs. It purchased a 55% stake in Russia's Vanguard, which is “one of the great success stories at any firm,” he says. Stateside, it teamed with GMR Marketing to acquire content-marketing specialty shop Freshwire. Canada, however, lagged behind, due in no small part to leadership loss.

Staff turnover was about 14%, with global headcount up about 6%. Last May, Robert Dowling joined from Weber Shandwick as Eastern region president. In September, Marjorie Benzkofer was promoted to lead the global reputation management unit after seven years heading the Chicago corporate practice. In November, Gloria Janata left Cohn & Wolfe to become president and senior partner at Fleishman subsidiary TogoRun. Michael Rinaldo, MD of global healthcare, left the firm last April. His post was taken by Anne de Schweinitz.

Reputation management, analytics, strategic integration, and social enterprise remain the four “big bets” in which the firm continues to increase investment, while Brazil, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Taiwan are among global regions it hopes to boost this year.

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