Fahlgren Mortine: PRWeek Global Agency Business Report 2016

Full-service firm Fahlgren Mortine hit a revenue high in 2015.

Neil Mortine, CEO, Fahlgren Mortine
Neil Mortine, CEO, Fahlgren Mortine

Principals: Neil Mortine, CEO; and John Fahlgren, chairman
Offices: 14
Revenue: $20,554,236

Full-service firm Fahlgren Mortine hit a revenue high of $20.55 million in 2015, $31.2 million including ad revenue.

"Our integrated business model is working well," says CEO Neil Mortine. "We’ve always been integrated across PR, advertising, and digital, and we’ve aligned agency leadership around B2B and B2C. It deepens collaboration and industry experience."

Fahlgren has strong expertise in travel and tourism, retail, manufacturing, healthcare, and higher education. Demand for digital, content marketing, and marketing automation all continue to increase at the agency. Sixty percent of revenue growth came from existing clients. Consumer work accounted for 56.9% of agency revenue and  31% for B2B.

Rising number of clients
Total number of clients grew from 165 in 2014 to 196 in 2015. New AOR clients included EAS Sports Nutrition, a division of Abbott Nutrition, which also awarded comms project work; North Dakota Office of Tourism; and Sherwin-Williams product finishes. Agency consolidation claimed business with Sherwin-Williams’ protective and marine coatings division.

Overall, tourism business jumped 35%. The agency represents five U.S. states, including North Dakota and Nevada. Travel project wins last year included Airstream and Kimpton Schofield Cleveland Hotel. Turner, the tourism-focused shop acquired in 2014, landed 12 AOR assignments. While it signed some big brands in the travel sector, including Hyatt, seven AOR wins were from lifestyle and apparel brands including C9 by Champion, ’47 Brand, and Bombas.

New assignments from existing clients Donate Life Ohio and Cardinal Health helped drive a 25% increase in healthcare revenue. The professional/financial services practice increased more than 20%. Wins included the Ohio Attorney General’s office and Columbia Pipeline Group.

Work as advertising AOR for Gatlinburg Conventions and Visitors Bureau (Tennessee) wound down after the organization shifted business to a local agency.

"We represent a number of ‘fabric of America’ brands — ones positioned around living well, taking a stand, and communicating authentic messages," Mortine says. "Our heartland location is part of that, even though we operate globally for some of those brands."

Total staff was up 15 to 119 in 2015 with staff turnover at 15%. Hires included VP and technology director Jude Divierte and digital automation strategist Tim Kurz. Two SVP departures were Jeff Waite and veteran Mike Castillo, who left for MC2 Advertising. Former Spong PR principal Doug Spong joined Fahlgren in an of-counsel role in April 2016. He is working to strengthen its practices in retail and consumer, among others.

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