Principal: Barby Siegel, CEO
Ownership: DJE Holdings
Offices: Global: 15
U.S.: Chicago; Dallas; New York; Redwood City, California; San Francisco; and Santa Monica, CA
Revenue: Global: $58.7 million; U.S.: $41.4 million
Zeno Group had a terrific year, increasing its global revenue from $39 million in 2015 to $58.7 million in 2016.
Growth came from different sources. The first, an acquisition in January 2016 of 3 Monkeys Communications in London, contributed 14.6% to the revenue uptick. Another 19% came from the addition of offices reorganized into Zeno Asia from affiliated operations within Zeno parent group Edelman.
The key metric in evaluating its performance last year: like-for-like growth was up 16.7%.
Full global offering
"We solidified our position as a fully global and independently held firm," explains CEO Barby Siegel. "It is a very powerful proposition, not only for staff, but also for a lot of clients."
Of that like-for-like growth, 48% was from existing clients. Intel expanded business with Zeno in the U.S. and Asia, as did Merck, adding Malaysia and the U.K., where the pharma company is known as MSD, to the agency’s U.S. mandate.
"For some clients, we embed our staff into their companies, two or five days a week," she says. "That has been a great way to expand the relationship and see new opportunities."
Zeno client Anheuser-Busch awarded the firm a new assignment: Bud Light in the U.S. and U.K. After a two-year hiatus from working together, the firm reunited with Pizza Hut, and it won a U.S. assignment from Microsoft Bing, a longtime client of 3 Monkeys. New clients included the Minnesota Vikings, for which it handled media relations around the opening of its new stadium, and Shopify in the U.S. Globally, Zeno won an assignment from Chevron in Singapore and Motorola in India.
Three client relationships ran their course: Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Quaker Oats, and Seattle’s Best Coffee, a subsidiary of Starbucks. "Seattle’s Best Coffee, where our relationship began with Starbucks seven years ago, came to a close," she notes. "Clients want to try something different and we respect that, but our relationship with Starbucks remains strong."
In the U.S., the agency still works on Evolution Fresh and Teavana for Starbucks, and Starbucks in the U.K.
Staff turnover was high at 33%. Senior-level departures included Frank Eliason, former U.S., head of digital who left after a year to go to Brain+Trust Partners; Colleen O’Malley, SVP, healthcare; and Hugo Perez, EVP, global content and digital innovation.
Nancy Ruscheinski joined as the firm’s first COO, from sister agency Edelman, where she was vice chair of client engagement.