Allison+Partners: Agency Business Report 2015

For Allison+Partners, 2014 could be dubbed as "the tale of two years," with the first six months starting slow and the second half finishing strong.

Scott Allison, CEO
Scott Allison, CEO

Principals: Scott Allison, CEO; Jonathan Heit, senior partner and president, Americas
Ownership: MDC Partners owns 51%; agency partners own 49%
Offices: Global: 18; US: 12
Revenue: Global: $32,730,000; US: $31,740,000
Headcount: Global: 230; US: 196

For Allison+Partners, 2014 could be dubbed as "the tale of two years," says CEO Scott Allison, with the first six months starting slow and the second half finishing strong. The firm saw 13.5% global revenue growth for 2014, just shy of its 15% goal, which is why Allison refers to the year as "good" rather than great.

The agency opened a Portland office following the acquisition of Seattle-based comms shop Frause, which Allison says has been beneficial in the firm’s work with client Umpqua Bank. Frause upped Allison’s Seattle staff from four to 24 and added creative and media-buying services to the firm. Revenue from Frause was included in Allison+Partners’ Q4 results. Annual revenue at Frause is between $2 million and $2.5 million.

"It sets us up for the future to compete in the Pacific Northwest," he adds.

In North America, the agency will focus on growing its Chicago and Dallas offices this year.

At the start of 2015, Allison appointed Gogerty Marriott cofounder David Marriott as MD of reputation risk in its Seattle corporate practice. The firm brought on more than 30 staffers in the US, including Corey Martin as MD of its consumer practice, former New York Times marketing director Kevin Nabipour as SVP of content strategies, and Jennifer Graves as SVP, marketing and business development.

Jonathan Heit, formerly president and senior partner, was elevated to president, Americas. Matthew Della Croce, formerly senior partner and global head, corporate practice, became president, global corporate and Europe.

The firm, which scooped the prize for Midsize PR Agency of the Year at the 2015 PRWeek US Awards, clocked up wins in the US across consumer, healthcare, and hospitality, such as Dignity Health, eHealth, Frito-Lay, iRobot, Warner Bros., PKWare, InterContinential Hotels, and Zynga. Losses included Era Real Estate, Inkling, Pearl, Intermedia, The Economist, and Speck.

Further push in Asia
The firm will continue to push in Asia after expanding there in early 2014. Allison reported Asia revenue of $1.7 million and now has about 35 staffers in the region with offices in Beijing, Shanghai, and a recently opened outpost in Singapore. The firm plans on expanding to Thailand in 2015.   

Europe, which has nine staffers in London and five in Paris, is another region that Allison plans to push this year with the help of organic growth, some key hires, and potentially a small acquisition.

"We are going to have a new suite of offerings around research, content, and data analytics," says Allison. "The industry is changing rapidly, so we’re adding a lot in the area of creative that dips into the grey area of advertising and production services."

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