PadillaCRT: Agency Business Report 2015

PadillaCRT CEO and chair Lynn Casey calls 2014 the firm's "pig-in-the-python" year, referring to the period of integration it had to go through.

Lynn Casey, CEO and chair
Lynn Casey, CEO and chair

Principal: Lynn Casey, CEO and chair
Ownership: Independent
Offices: Minneapolis; New York; Richmond, VA; Norfolk, VA; Los Angeles; and Washington, DC
Revenue: $31,625,000
Headcount: 185

PadillaCRT CEO and chair Lynn Casey calls 2014 the firm’s "pig-in-the-python" year, referring to the period of integration it had to go through after Padilla Speer Beardsley acquired CRT/tanaka in September 2013.

"The python swallows the pig whole and spends a lot of time assimilating the catch," she says. "We came through the last year with our team and clients largely intact."

Because PadillaCRT was focused on the firms’ integration, revenue suffered, decreasing 2.2% from 2013 to $31.6 million.

"We didn’t plan for a great year because we knew integration would take up the better part of the year, even stretching into 18 months if we were going to do it correctly," Casey says.

Alignment of agencies
To accelerate the integration of the two agencies, groups of employees from all offices were brought together to do a personal brand assessment, as well as a day-long workshop focusing on the alignment between their personal brands and the company’s vision, purpose, values, and brand promise.

This culminated in the launch of PadillaCRT’s new brand, logo, and tagline: Connect with purpose.

New business wins accounted for 15% of the firm’s revenue and included Afton Chemical USA, Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau, Medical World Americas, Virginia Lottery, and the National Mango Board.

Another new client, Great Western Bank, was supported last year by Padilla with its IPO.

Amid the integration, the firm lost only one client, Charles Schwab, because the company decided to consolidate its corporate comms work, adds Casey.

Sectors that showed the most growth were corporate and investor comms, crisis and issues management, and food. In all, there was 19% staff turnover, which included the May departure of SVP and executive creative director Dave Schad, who joined FleishmanHillard. Heath Rudduck, formerly at Campbell Mithun, took on Schad’s responsibilities when he joined PadillaCRT as chief creative officer. In February 2015, Jennifer Iwanicki, formerly with Olson, became VP of creative operations in its Minneapolis headquarters.

A positive Casey expects a rise in revenue in 2015.

"We will be digging out of a substantial budget cut as our largest client had a major budget shift in 2014, but we remain optimistic as we bear down on new business this year," she says. Casey declined to name the client.

Aside from new client acquisition, the agency – which works with clients in the manufacturing, tech, agribusiness, and healthcare sectors – is focused on implementing more holistic efforts for clients, and replacing CFO Jeff Thomas, who is retiring in Q2.

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