Allison+Partners: PRWeek Global Agency Business Report 2016

Allison+Partners continued to solidify global operations in 2015.

Scott Allison, chairman and CEO, Allison+Partners
Scott Allison, chairman and CEO, Allison+Partners

Principals: Scott Allison, chairman and CEO; and Jonathan Heit, cofounder and president, Americas
Ownership: MDC Partners owns 75%; agency partners own 25%
Offices: Global: 23; U.S.: 13
Revenue: Global: $43.4 million; U.S.: $39.2 million

Allison+Partners continued to solidify global operations and pulled in $43.3 million in 2015, up 33% over 2014.

And in May 2015, MDC Partners upped its stake in the agency from 51% to 75%, providing additional liquidity for ongoing agency and talent acquisition.

Offices were established in Chengdu in Southwest China and Boston. Asia-Pacific reach expanded through hiring local talent to staff offices in Bangkok and Hong Kong and through the acquisition of Focused Communications in Tokyo in March 2016.

"We work closely with MDC Partners, and we want to build a $100 million global firm with a boutique feel over the next three to five years," says chairman and CEO Scott Allison. "Rather than parachuting talent into global markets, we’re tapping into very senior, localized talent. That’s a huge differentiator."

Total staff hit 300 last year. Carline Jorgensen, formerly with Burson-Marsteller, was tapped as GM of Los Angeles, replacing Larry Krutchik who left to join Hill+Knowlton Strategies as SVP of public affairs. Total staff turnover was 15%.

The New York City office was the top revenue performer, but Allison notes significant revenue contributions from many U.S. locations, particularly San Diego and Atlanta. Beijing saw the biggest revenue jump and Allison believes economic factors will support faster growth in Asia over the next decade. The firm is considering opening offices in Indonesia, Germany, and Amsterdam.

Climbing practice areas
The corporate practice, which now represents 27% of overall revenue, grew 80%. Digital and social media work, 20% of agency revenue in 2014, climbed to 35% in 2015.

New AOR wins included Seventh Generation, Pinterest, Adecco, Driscoll’s (global), Viber (global), and Textron Aviation in Asia. Along with its MDC Partners sister firm Veritas, Allison pitched and won North American business from Fox Home Entertainment. Allison’s designation is lead consumer agency. Work with U.S.-based clients Canadian Canola Council, Executive MBA Council, and OutSystems expanded into Asia. AOR relationships ended with ArcLight Cinemas and Best Western. 

An All Told division, which works across digital, social, creative, content, and research to deliver integrated programs, launched last year with Cathy Planchard, president of All Told, leading the unit.

"Content, digital, social, and analytics — it’s the Wild West in terms of who wins business," Allison adds. "Clients want great ideas, and they don’t care where they come from." 

Correction: This article was updated on 5/4/2016 with the correct name of the person who leads the firm's All Told division, Cathy Planchard.

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