ICR: Agency Business Report 2015

ICR had a record year in 2014 of new client wins and expanding work with existing clients.

CEO Tom Ryan
CEO Tom Ryan

Principals: Tom Ryan, CEO and Don Duffy, president
Ownership: Independent
Offices: New York; Norwalk, CT; Boston; Los Angeles; San Francisco; and Beijing
Revenue: $51,663,463
Headcount: Global: 130; US: 123

ICR had a record year in 2014 of new client wins and expanding work with existing clients. In addition, the firm hiked up fees for some services to be more in line with industry standards for competitors. This led to a revenue boost of 19.3% from 2013 to $51.6 million.

ICR is now solving more problems for individual clients by offering multiple services, such as IR, corporate comms, digital media, and crisis work, the firm’s CEO Tom Ryan explains.

"The average client five years ago may have just hired ICR for one thing; now they are hiring us for several things," he says, adding that 100% of clients are on a retainer.

Broken down, 77% of the firm’s revenue growth was associated with existing clients, a 17% increase from 2013. The remainder was attributed to new business. Ryan’s goal going forward is to get every one of ICR’s 500 clients to use all of its services.

The firm continues to maintain a leading market share of IPOs, according to Ryan, with Shake Shack, Michaels Stores, BootBarn, and Freshpet selecting ICR for IPO support last year. The firm has worked on more than 100 US IPOs during the last three years. Other key wins included La Quinta Holdings, Wingstop Restaurants, Jackson Hewitt, and Weibo. Meanwhile, the firm lost accounts with retailers including Claire’s, Kenneth Cole, Vera Bradley, and American Apparel.

"Sometimes companies run into rough patches where they are underperforming and need to cut costs," he says, regarding the relationships. ICR hired 54 people in 2014 and the turnover rate stayed steady at 7%. Staff departures included MD Ted Lowen and SVP Jennifer Long.

Building for further growth
Among the firm’s new hires were Evelyn Infurna, David Galper, and Jacques Cornet as MDs, and Sheryl Freeman as SVP. Most recently, Michael Robinson was tapped as MD and John Jannarone as SVP in the firm’s corporate comms group. Chief people officer Michelle Labbe was brought on to build team morale with social and charitable events and develop improved benefits and training programs at the agency. Caitlin Burke was also hired as director of marketing and events. She is working on ICR’s brand, which in mid-2015 is unveiling an updated logo and a new website.

"We obviously have something very unique about our business that has helped drive our growth," says Ryan. "We want our branding to articulate the services we offer and how unique we are."

He expects top-line revenue growth for 2015 to be in the double digits.

"If your top line is growing, you need a lot of people to help execute that growth, so we will be hiring more talent," Ryan notes. 

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