Ogilvy Public Relations: Agency Business Report 2013

In 2011 Ogilvy PR posted US revenue gains of 25% and global gains of 15%, but declined to provide numbers for 2012 growth. Ogilvy is part of WPP, which reported a 1% drop in PR revenue in 2012.

Principal: Christopher Graves, global CEO
Ownership: WPP Group (part of Ogilvy & Mather)
Offices: Global: 85 majority/wholly owned; US: 8
Revenue: Global: $250 million to $300 million; US: $100 million to $150 million
Headcount: Global: 2,000; US: 550 

In 2011 Ogilvy PR posted US revenue gains of 25% and global gains of 15%, but declined to provide numbers for 2012 growth. Ogilvy is part of WPP, which reported a 1% drop in PR revenue in 2012.

While Asia-Pacific has been the strongest growth area for Ogilvy in prior years, Europe took top billing in 2012.  

“Historically, it was a loose federation at best, not a vital collaborative network,” says global CEO Christopher Graves.

In response, agency leadership gathered in Prague for a two-day meeting to outline how each European office should run. The London branch, in particular, was a poor performer and needed to be revamped. Senior leadership, including Stuart Smith, MD of the global corporate practice, sharpened the outpost's focus to social and digital, consumer, and corporate and made key hires including Michael Frohlich, MD, UK and EMEA, and consumer marketing lead.

As a result, says Graves, revenue out of the office has been doubling for the last two years. The office landed BP's Olympic sponsorship work and added Diageo as a large client.

Smith's ability to create a collaborative dynamic also had a significant benefit for the agency's Dublin office, which reported top-line growth of 12% and bottom-line growth of 30% in 2012. The office also counts Diageo as a client, but its real strength lies in having many profitable accounts, such as traditional packaging company Smurfit Kappa, says Graves.

Revenues in Germany were up 75%, while South Africa saw 50% top- and bottom-line growth last year. In the latter region, Ogilvy has two offices – one in Johannesburg and a small office in Cape Town. Clients include big-name brands such as Ford, Kellogg's, Kimberly-Clark, Lenovo, and MillerCoors.

Looking ahead, Graves expects growth in Nigeria and Angola.

Stateside, Ogilvy's Chicago office was its strongest performer in 2012. Graves credits Nathan Friedman, who was promoted to regional MD, West, after a stint as Chicago MD, for much of the improvement.

The story in New York continues to be the rebuild of the firm's consumer practice following significant leadership turnover in 2011. “In 2012 we were weak in consumer, which traditionally has been a sweet spot for us,” says Graves. Charged with the office's “renaissance” are 2012 hires Brian Maloney, MD of US consumer marketing and New York consumer group head, and Margie Fox, who was tapped as MD, US consumer marketing and US creative director.

Last year, Graves brought on Betsy Stark as MD of content and media strategy with the goal of bringing together the innovative side of content creation with a more rigorous, formalized agency process.

Senior departures included Michael Law, former MD of Ogilvy PR West and Ogilvy & Mather West president.

Digital continues to be an area of strength for the firm. Social@Ogilvy revenue saw 38% top-line growth within PR and 43% growth across all disciplines.

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