Olson Engage: Agency Business Report 2014

Olson Engage enjoyed a very successful 2013.

Principals: John Partilla, CEO, Olson; Bryan Specht, president, Olson Engage (pictured)
Ownership: Independent
Offices: Chicago; Minneapolis; San Francisco; New York; Austin, TX; and Los Angeles
Revenue: $16,891,000
Headcount: 87

Olson Engage enjoyed a very successful 2013, culminating with its Midsize PR Agency of the Year and overall PR Agency of the Year victories at the 2014 PRWeek Awards this past March.

On top of its 14.5% year-over-year revenue increase in 2013, Olson Engage kept busy with a slew of account wins, new hires, an agency rebrand, and an acquisition.

President Bryan Specht attributes the majority of the firm’s accomplishments to the staff.

"At the end of the day, it’s about great talent delivering phenomenal work," he says. "It’s a simple formula and sometimes people tend to overthink it."

New business last year, which makes up about 75% of the agency’s growth, included Mars petfood brand Royal Canin, Belize Tourism Board, Cars.com, and global work for McDonald’s. This year, the firm won Kraft Foods’ Planters account, replacing incumbent Edelman.

Losses for the agency included ACH Foods and Dremel.

The agency also saw organic growth from multiple clients, such as expanded event, experiential, and social media work with MillerCoors; additional content and social work for Wrigley; and real-time marketing efforts with Oscar Mayer.

Last August, Olson rebranded its PR and social media unit as Olson Engage to highlight its integrated work. Specht says, "the rebrand has helped us shine a light more on our content-centered, social-focused work rather than traditional PR."

Increased digital offering
Also, Olson acquired management and digital consulting firm PulsePoint Group in December in an effort to strengthen its digital creative offerings. The deal expanded the firm’s footprint with offices in Los Angeles and Austin, TX.

Specht says Olson Engage has one employee in Denver, with plans to add more people to the region. The agency is planning to add new staffers in the firm’s New York and San Francisco locations.

In 2013, Olson Engage hired VPs Alyssa Sperber (brand engagement) and Michele Clarke (media strategy and engagement), in New York. Departures included VPs Marie Espinel and Jody Moore.

Throughout 2014, Specht expects all four primary offices – New York, Chicago, Minneapolis, and San Francisco – to grow.

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