Mitchell Communications Group: Agency Business Report 2013

On December 31, 2012, Mitchell Communications Group experienced one of its most exciting moments when it was acquired by the Dentsu Network.

Principal: Elise Mitchell, CEO
Ownership: Dentsu
Office: Fayetteville, AR
Revenue: $14.2 million
Headcount: 75

On December 31, 2012, Mitchell Communications Group experienced one of its most exciting moments when it was acquired by the Dentsu Network. The deal positions the agency, which retained its brand name, as the Japanese holding company's first step toward building a PR network of its own.

Elise Mitchell, CEO of the firm, who took on the dual role of chief executive of Dentsu's global PR network, is excited about the response she's been getting from other communications firms that are interested in joining the group. Mitchell says she has an “extensive business plan” in place to grow Dentsu's PR offering. 

“We hope very soon to have more serious conversations with agencies that we would like to have in the network,” she adds.

Being part of Dentsu is better than she imagined, Mitchell says. So far in 2013, the agency has been introducing its staff and services to other firms in the group, such as advertising, digital, and creative shops.

Aside from the acquisition, 2012 was another strong year for the firm, which has seen its gross revenue increase fivefold in the last five years, notes Mitchell, who took home a 2013 PRWeek Award this March as Agency PR Professional of the Year. Last year, Mitchell, whose marquee clients include Walmart and Tyson Foods, won new business with DoubleTree by Hilton. In addition, the firm's merchandising and brand PR work with Walmart expanded as part of the retail giant's agency consolidation process. The firm reported no business losses in 2012 or early 2013 and posted year-over-year growth of 39%.

Creative expansion
Last year, the firm's consumer and creative services practices saw the most growth.

“We started doing video work a few years ago,” Mitchell reports, “and it continues to be a growing part of our creative team's work.” The agency produced 72 TV commercials last year, 14 in Spanish. Mitchell declined to name the clients attached to the spots. In 2012, Sarah Clark was promoted to president. VP of consumer communications Heather Ellington left the agency.

The firm is looking to add 25 staffers this year and will continue to leverage its project employee network, says Mitchell, which consists of 32 team members in 14 states who help on local, hyper-local, regional, and national communications programs.

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