Singer Associates: Agency Business Report 2012

Singer Associates' specialties in public affairs and crisis communications have helped the agency grow despite an economic downturn. The firm saw revenues of $4,265,847 in 2011, a 7% increase over 2010.

Principal: Sam Singer, president
Ownership: Independent
Offices: San Francisco
Revenue: $4,265,847
Headcount: 12

Singer Associates' specialties in public affairs and crisis communications have helped the agency grow despite an economic downturn. The firm saw revenues of $4,265,847 in 2011, a 7% increase over 2010.  

“There are always major issues going on,” says Singer president Sam Singer. “We're always in the thick of it.”

The agency's work focuses on clients in California and Nevada. “This is our heartland,” Singer says. Key account wins in 2011 included the Stanford University Medical Center Renewal Project, Chevron Richmond Refinery, venue management group SMG, YouSendIt.com, and vacation rental service Airbnb.

Further demonstrating its expertise in the local market, the San Francisco-based agency has also been hired by the City of Oakland for assistance with crisis situations, Oakland basketball team the Golden State Warriors, and the Port of Oakland. Singer did not have any account losses last year.

Among the highlights of its client work, Singer points to its ongoing efforts helping Chevron fight negative perceptions from a lawsuit against the energy company in Ecuador. Chevron turned to Singer and other agencies after it was blamed for environmental damages in the Amazon jungle. In 2010, Singer helped the oil giant launch The Amazon Post, a website compiling blogs, videos, and news from Chevron's perspective on the lawsuit, and the site expanded further last year.

Projects such as The Amazon Post have become more common at Singer; the agency says the development of content and websites for clients is a “huge growth area.”  Singer attributes the growth to a decline in traditional news media.

“The challenge is finding the time and resources to do social media the right way,” Singer says. “It actually has to take the place of traditional media and become a driver of content on an hourly basis.”

The agency's biggest challenge is recruiting talent, Singer says. VP Courtney Lodato left the firm in 2011, but the firm recruited three new people at the end of the year who had previously worked in government and media. Singer will continue to look for new talent from the public affairs and media fields.

“We spend more time now searching for potential staff members to grow the agency, in the same manner we used to go out and hustle for new business,” Singer says. “This is the most competitive I've ever seen it. Having quality staff is everything.”

Still, the fact that the firm is run by a group of core senior people is one of its strengths, he adds. Singer refers to itself as the “go-to agency” for public affairs, crisis, and issues management, and the firm will continue to go after high-profile public affairs and PR assignments in the coming years.

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