Outstanding Large Agency 2017

It seems Weber Shandwick can't be toppled. For the third year running, the IPG firm scoops the large agency award.

Winner

Weber Shandwick

It seems Weber Shandwick can’t be toppled. For the third year running, the IPG firm scoops the large agency award. "Weber leads the way across the board for excellence in the evolving world of PR," one judge said.

"The firm is the full package," said another.

Revenue grew 9.5% with 7.6% organic growth during the awards period, and 10.5% in the U.S., with 7.7% organic. Sixteen of its markets saw double-digit growth, and nearly 80% came from existing clients. It retained 98% of its top 50 clients, including Honeywell, GSK, and Mars, while also winning Nokia, Nasdaq, and Nielsen.

Top client work included the integrated AR Excedrin Migraine Experience for GSK, and its Chobani Rio Olympics campaign show-casing a message of positivity.

Despite its size, Weber’s ability to look ahead keeps the firm’s clients ahead of the curve, too. The agency developed Mobile Command, a real-time, collaborative crisis management platform, introduced a tech-led innovation council, and released a global study on AI. Digital accounts for one-third of its revenue.

Expanding its global network included securing a U.S. Treasury license to pursue operations in Havana, Cuba, and acquiring Flipside in London, a specialized mobile and digital agency. It also acquired ReviveHealth, a top integrated marcomms firm specializing in health.

Headcount increased 7%, growing to 3,600 global employees, and Weber works to keep its talent happy and connected. It launched its first global Weber Shandwick Live show to unite around its "engaging, always" mission, deployed Facebook at Work, and introduced superflex for more flexible work hours.

It prioritizes diversity and inclusion: 33.3% of VP/SVP hires and 25% of promotions to EVP were people of color. And women make up 60% of its senior leadership team.

"A great example of a firm that focuses on its people to drive results for its clients," said a judge.


Honorable Mention

Edelman

The biggest independent agency in PR never stops innovating — or growing. Overall growth across the business, including organic, impressed the judges as Edelman’s global revenue increased 4.6% to $880 million in its 2016 fiscal year to June 30, while U.S. revenue grew 6.2% to $536.4 million. Notable work included the lauded REI #OptOutside effort, and Arby’s biggest product launch of the year and a 13% sales increase. The firm’s efforts breed loyalty. More than 55% of its clients have been on board for a decade or more, including Unilever and Starbucks.

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