Global Strategy Group: Agency Business Report 2014

Global Strategy Group had a remarkable 2012 thanks to the presidential race as its revenue increased 62% from the prior year.

Principals: Jon Silvan, CEO (pictured); Jefrey Pollock, president
Ownership: Independent
Offices: New York; Washington, DC; Hartford, CT; and Los Angeles
Revenue: $25 million
Headcount: 72

Global Strategy Group had a remarkable 2012 thanks to the presidential race as its revenue increased 62% from the prior year. 

Based on its history, a double-digit percentage revenue decline – historically what has happened to the agency when transitioning from an election to a non-election year – would not have been unexpected.

However, the firm bucked that trend in 2013, as revenue grew slightly by 0.3%.

"It was a milestone year for us," says CEO Jon Silvan. "This was the first time in our 20 years that we didn’t see that dip."

Silvan attributes it to a focus on driving greater revenue through non-political work, particularly in its Washington office, which "reopened" in 2012 under the leadership of Jim Papa, the former special assistant to President Barack Obama for legislative affairs in the White House.

"We found non-political clients were responsive toward our ability to apply our experience, skills, and people to the corporate world," adds Silvan.

Starting from a small base, the revenue in the Washington, DC, office increased by 578% fueled by client assignments in corporate, public affairs, and nonprofit. New clients include the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and Oxfam America. The office also ramped up engagement with existing client Comcast.

The Hartford, CT, outpost increased revenue by 48%, thanks to new work from clients such as Nestlé Waters North America and First Wind. The New York office did a lot of digital media programs related to the election and saw a 20% slide in revenue. However, it has started work for The Rockefeller Foundation and the University of New Mexico’s Health Sciences Center. 

Client losses included the Vitamin D Alliance and the Environmental Working Group. The agency lost communications work with the New York Road Runners in 2013, but picked up a public affairs project with the group in 2014.

Continued growth projections
The agency is forecasting 20% to 30% growth for 2014 and in February, as part of the firm’s expansion plans, it hired Marc Litvinoff, former vice chairman and CEO of ORC International, as managing partner.

 "We believe the growth we had in 2013 in the non-political arena will continue and that we will see an upswing in political business as well," Silvan explains.

EVP Alan Sexton, SVP Steven Sigmund, and VPs Drew Casko, Jamie Drogin, and Marshall Maher departed the firm.

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