Marina Maher Communications: Agency Business Report 2014

CEO Marina Maher reports that business at her eponymous agency has doubled in the past five years.

Principal: Marina Maher, CEO
Ownership: Omnicom, as part of its Diversified Agency Services division
Office: New York
Revenue: $10 million to $65 million
Headcount: More than 100

CEO Marina Maher reports that business at her eponymous agency has doubled in the past five years. Increased digital and creative offerings drove new and organic growth last year, which was the agency’s 30th anniversary. Revenue exceeded expectations with double-digit growth. 

"We’re in a state of perma-planning given the ever-changing landscape," says Maher. "There’s also a landgrab with other agencies – digital, advertising, planning, and branding. Clients want big ideas and will take them from anywhere. That’s why we’ve increased creative and digital offerings."

Strong consumer practice
The consumer practice, which represents more than half of the agency’s business, grew the most.

Wins in that area included Stainmaster, while the agency’s relationship with Procter & Gamble grew to include a global assignment for Downy, social media work for Olay, and executive communications and a global strategic planning assignment.

All P&G work is done in partnership with Omnicom sibling Ketchum to provide global reach and access to specialist services, while new healthcare business included Bayer’s Berocca and Celgene’s Apremilast. Clients Merck and Novo Nordisk both awarded new work.

Account losses included Pernod Ricard, Arnold, Sanofi’s Auvi-Q, and Jameson. The latter two were attributed to agency consolidation.

Recruiting talent with diverse and deep experience is an ongoing priority; staff turnover was 29% in 2013.

To that end, Kim Stokes joined as MD, digital and social media, while Diana Vienne, whose background is in organizational development, was named EVP, human resources, replacing the departing Maree Prendergast. Maher says organizational development is key to meeting industry demands. Other hires included SVPs Marie-Sophie Lantin and Kai MacMahon. Departures included group SVP Christina Corso.

On the charitable front, the agency raised money to provide education for 43 Ugandan girls last year. 

Going forward, the firm’s focus will remain on creativity, living digital integration, and shedding traditional PR positioning, which Maher feels doesn’t accurately represent what her firm does.

"We want to be known as a creative powerhouse that delivers big ideas," she says.

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