Brodeur Partners: Agency Business Report 2014

Relevance took on new meaning at Brodeur Partners in 2013.

Cofounder and CEO Andy Coville
Cofounder and CEO Andy Coville

Principal: Andy Coville, cofounder and CEO
Ownership:
Brodeur Partners Management owns 85%; Omnicom owns 15%
Offices: Global: 33 affiliates and partners; US: 6
Revenue: Global: less than $50 million; US: $20 million to $35 million
Headcount: Global: 195; US: 132

Relevance took on new meaning at Brodeur Partners in 2013. Since 2011, the agency has invested significant resources to understand what makes a company relevant to stakeholders, customers, employees, or business partners. CEO Andy Coville believes it is an important differentiator for Brodeur, adding that midsize agencies often mistakenly take the position of "being good at everything."

"Relevance has really kicked in for us. We’ve invested three and a half years of work and have something unique to talk about and build from," says Coville.

She adds that all key client wins this year are based on Brodeur’s relevance offering including Columbia Business School, Provant Health, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Long-time client Corning expanded work based on relevance. In 2013, the agency won 58 AOR and project clients, including the Rockefeller Family Fund and Brandeis University.

"We’ve gotten away from thinking about emotional drivers in favor of the sexiest gimmick. Data has its place, but relevancy brings it back to the simple and authentic. Nothing is as powerful," says Coville.

Last year, Brodeur’s global revenue grew 8% compared to 11% in 2012. US revenue was also up 8%, compared to 12% in 2012. The agency’s revenue growth was negatively impacted by the loss of 16-year client BlackBerry to APCO and Text100 in April 2013. The following September, the agency filed a $700,000 lawsuit against BlackBerry alleging it was never paid for its work. The suit was settled in January 2014.

Coville says that BlackBerry was the only significant loss. About 60% of accounts are on retainer.

The agency’s financial practice has grown 5% and, within the medical and healthcare practice, the well-being segment has grown 10%. Nonprofit work, almost nothing five years ago, is up 8% at the agency, as is higher education, due to a lot of project-based work.

In July 2013, Brodeur partnered with Seoul, South Korea-based digital agency Domo Communication Consulting to grow business in the region and support clients including cosmetics company AmorePacific and Corning.

Keith Lindenburg, former New York technology group head at Edelman and MD of PR and reputation at Deloitte, returned to Brodeur after 15 years and was named EVP and GM of the firm's New York office in January 2014.

Brodeur operates on one P&L. "Almost every account is an inter-office account," says Coville, who adds that the agency also benefits from an open partnership model. "Clients don’t have to work with us on everything. We work with other agencies in other holding companies as part of an integrated team."

Coville says the agency has been seeing a lot of recent RFPs relating to energy as well as infrastructure, specifically tolls and harboring.

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