Global Report Cards

PRWeek requested the operational details of 18 of the leading players in the international PR market. Here, the agencies reveal how they have performed in the past year, and their plans - particularly for China

Due to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, some agencies have been unable to disclose staff numbers

APCO Worldwide

HQ: Washington DC
CEO: Margery Kraus
Ownership: independent
2005 revenue: Global: $73.3m; US: $41.8m, up 22 per cent from 2004

Financial performance: Strong growth in healthcare, crisis and litigation communication, coalition-building and 'grassroots advocacy'.

Practice areas: Twenty-one service areas. Recently introduced a business diplomacy service to help corporations understand political relationships.

Account wins in 2005: Reed Elsevier, PhRMA, and the Coalition for Affordable Power. Pfizer, UPS and Invest Hong Kong expanded into new markets.

Outlook: APCO opened branches in Chicago and Tel Aviv. All regions experienced growth. New York tripled its revenue. CEO Margery Kraus cites an upsurge in 'entrepreneurial spirit' following the firm's MBO, and says 2005 was APCO's 'best year in history'. Growing areas include internal and crisis communications, reputation management, corporate responsibility and business diplomacy.

China strategy: Offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong, with a total headcount of 94. Strong in representing organisations in sectors such as telecoms, IT, financial services, retail and manufacturing.

Plans to bolster work for Chinese clients in foreign markets.

Brodeur Worldwide/Pleon

HQ: Boston
CEO: Andrea Coville
Ownership: Omnicom
2005 revenue: N/A

Financial performance: Met or exceeded expectations globally. Consumer and financial services practices experienced the most growth. B2B accounts in technology and healthcare saw little expansion.

Practice areas: Technology, healthcare, financial services and consumer.

Each is divided into B2B and B2C accounts.

Account wins in 2005: Starz Entertainment Group, Orbitz, M-Systems, The History Channel, WorldSpace and DualCor Technologies.

Outlook: Brodeur India will incorporate the PR operations of sister ad agency TBWA next February. Six new offices in central/eastern Europe to open. Brodeur is currently moving from being a tech specialist to a full-service firm. It sees its client wins with Toshiba and The History Channel as backing up this move. Indian expansion is crucial to development in the Asia-Pacific region.

China strategy: Represented by network member Euan Barty Associates, which has more than 50 staff in China and offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong. Among EBA's aims is to provide global companies with an 'international look and feel', while presenting a 'local face' to the market.

Burson-Marsteller

HQ: New York
CEO: Mark Penn
Ownership: WPP Group
2005 revenue: N/A

Financial performance: Did not meet expectations but Asia-Pacific and Latin America saw double-digit growth. China grew by 41.5 per cent.

Practice areas: Corporate/financial, healthcare, public affairs and tech.

Account wins in 2005: US Patent & Trademark Office, Hertz, Novartis and Alcoa. Hewlett-Packard expanded relationship into EMEA; AstraZeneca and Bureau of Engraving and Printing expanded into Latin America.

Outlook: US CEO Patrick Ford describes 2005 as a year of 'transition' following unexpected management changes, and says B-M has been 'energised' by the arrival of global CEO Mark Penn. The aim is to build interactive capabilities and react to emerging global crises. Asia remains an area of expansion, and the focus on global strategy has led to the creation of a 'chief strategic innovation and integration officer' - Ame Wadler.

China strategy: Burson-Marsteller is this year celebrating 20 years in China. Its strategy is based on differentiating strengths and strategic insight in corporate communications, issues and crisis management, public affairs, public policy advice, and telecom and technology communications programmes.

Cohn & Wolfe

HQ: New York
CEO: Donna Imperato
Ownership: WPP Group
2005 revenue: N/A

Financial performance: Revenues up by an estimated 15 per cent in 2005. Healthcare accounted for half of all revenues.

Practice areas: Healthcare, consumer, corporate affairs, technology.

Account wins in 2005: WeightWatchers, American Express, Procter & Gamble, Flora, Michelin, LG Electronics, Genentech, Starbucks, Deloitte & Touche, Air New Zealand and Panasonic. As part of the WPP team behind the Ford Fusion launch, Cohn & Wolfe devised the 'speed-dating-in-a-car' stunt in a bid to appeal to young professionals. Healthcare group worked with Brooke Shields to promote infertility awareness on behalf of Serono Reproductive Health.

Outlook: Continued emphasis on creativity and delivering big brand-building ideas working across the marketing mix. Slower to move into Asia but Cohn & Wolfe plans to extend its reach beyond North America and Europe. Healthcare underpins the agency but the consumer team is being nurtured, with marketing to women and online PR to the fore.

China strategy: Former Los Angeles office head Doug Buemi has relocated to China to oversee the agency's growth out of a new Shanghai office.

Edelman

HQ: New York
CEO: Richard Edelman
Ownership: independent 2005 revenue $261.9m
2005 Revenue: $261.9m

Financial performance: Global revenue increased by 14 per cent in 2005.

Practice areas: Fifteen practice areas, including CSR, diversity solutions, employee engagement, entertainment, food, financial communications and IR, interactive, consumer marketing and public affairs. A 'word-of-mouth practice' was launched in 2005.

Account wins in 2005: Significant booty included Wal-Mart, Tyco International, Symbol Technologies, American Heart Association Go Red!, T-Mobile and General Electric.

Outlook: Financial performance continues to be strong, with double-digit percentage increases in most geographic regions. Expanding outside of the US is the priority. In 2005, Edelman opened offices in Warsaw and Tokyo. CEO Richard Edelman says the firm will continue to challenge the conventional wisdom of advertising and PR agency ownership. 'I want to continue to be different, and keep our character, which is a little edgy.

This means doing smart and interesting things.'

China strategy: Plan is to put emphasis on strong growth sectors such as tech, healthcare and corporate reputation. Wants to avoid commoditised areas - brand managers using PR as a cut-price alternative to advertising.

Euro RSCG Worldwide PR

HQ: Paris
CEO: Laurent Habib
Ownership: Havas Group2005 revenue: EUR150m ($200m) from 35 wholly owned offices in 19 countries
2005 Revenue: €150m ($200m) from 35 wholly owned offices in 19 countries.

Financial performance: N/A

Practice areas: Corporate; consumer/brand; financial; public affairs, crisis management; internal comms, healthcare; sport marketing; corporate identity. Euro RSCG confirms a tenth practice area, events, is due to launch in the next six months.

Account wins in 2005: Bayer Healthcare, the unveiling of the Airbus 380, Rugby World Cup 2007.

Outlook: Continuing client relationships that involve experts from multiple practice areas.

China strategy: Euro RSCG's advertising and marketing services division has a large operation in China, with a staff of more than 800 people in ten cities. In PR terms, the company is so far only present in Beijing, where it has a department integrated with its advertising agency. The corporate aim is to grow fast via 'acquisition or other deals', says Worldwide COO Daniel Verpeaux.

GCI

HQ: New York
CEO: Jeff Hunt
Ownership: WPP Group
2005 revenue: N/A

Financial performance: Tech showed most growth, up eight per cent. Corporate showed slight decrease.

Practice areas: Five: healthcare (40 per cent of accounts); consumer (25 per cent); corporate/media (20 per cent of accounts); PA and tech (15 per cent).

Account wins in 2005: Major League Baseball, Genentech, Cephalon, Listerine, Whole Foods, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and Paramount.

Outlook: WPP rejected a merger between GCI and Cohn & Wolfe in favour of creating an 'internal entity' to oversee the two PR brands. Former head of GCI Texas and Latin America operations Jeff Hunt took over as CEO from Bob Feldma. He reports to Donna Imperato, named chair of both GCI and C&W. Consumer and tech practices show strong growth, particularly in digital entertainment. Expectations for growth in healthcare fell short although GCI has added several new clients. Hunt says GCI will continue to focus on bolstering its healthcare business in 2006, as well as look to expand into the financial services and automotive sectors. In 2005, GCI launched a client-satisfaction programme. This year, GCI intends to invest more in internal training.

China strategy: No presence in China as yet.

Golin Harris

HQ: Chicago
CEO: Fred Cook
Ownership: Interpublic Group
2005 revenue: N/A

Financial performance: N/A

Practice areas: Marketing and branding; corporate communications; healthcare; tech; public affairs and government relations; employee communications; and CSR and social marketing.

Account wins in 2005: BP, Cisco Systems, Dow, Sears, SC Johnson, Sallie Mae, GSK, Vivendi Universal, SPX Corporation and Weyerhauser. New-business win percentage rose by 25 per cent in 2005. Top-tier clients increased spend by 22.5 per cent over 2004. Won 50 per cent more $1m-plus accounts last year than it did in 2004.

Outlook: This year Golin Harris secured the Dow account after winning a holding company, PR-led pitch. CEO Fred Cook hopes that the model will be a 'harbinger of things to come'. Cook says the past year has seen the agency win more business 'than any time in our history'. GH's internal comms practice is growing, and Cook says the firm plans to launch a corporate practice that focuses on managing the attentions of activist groups.

China strategy: Clients in Hong Kong include Asia-listed companies such as Jardine Matheson, Li & Fung Group, Johnson Electric and VTech Holdings; multinationals such as Marriott International, DHL and Starbucks; and public utilities. 2004 saw expansion into Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou.

Financial Dynamics

HQ: London
CEO: Charles Watson
Ownership: independent
2005 revenue: N/A

Financial performance: Highest growth came from corporate communications and investor relations.

Practice areas: Corporate communications, investor relations, public affairs, and business consulting.

Account wins in 2005: American International Group, Siemens Business Services and HSBC. Financial Dynamics played a major role in Disney's $7.4bn acquisition of Pixar.

Outlook: FD recently developed a global public affairs practice through acquisitions of LLM in the UK and Dittus in the US, and formed a business consultancy practice through the acquisition of Westhill Partners. US CEO Declan Kelly anticipates growth this year from Asia. The bullish Kelly says the agency is 'already ahead of budget projections for the year'.

China strategy: FD formed a joint venture with mainland China corporate comms firm Eastwei Relations this year, following 2005's launch of a Hong Kong office. Eastwei has offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu and Guangzhou.

FD now has its own small team in the Chinese capital, focusing on financial and corporate clients.

Fleishman-Hillard

HQ: St. louis
CEO: John Graham
Ownership: Omnicom
2005 revenue: N/A

Financial performance: N/A

Practice areas: Twenty-one practices including litigation support, energy, multicultural, public affairs, retail, financial communications, social impact marketing and tech. Recently launched a strategic marketing initiative designed to help clients better understand and embrace new media. Also developed an 'innovation unit' to help clients instill creativity and strategy.

Account wins in 2005: US Army, Amgen and Cathay Pacific. Autodesk, PepsiCo, Sara Lee, Roche, Bayer, AT&T and the US Department of Homeland Security expanded into new domestic and global markets.

Outlook: Continued emphasis on growing international business, with 20 per cent of clients originating from outside the US. CEO John Graham says the firm has enjoyed its best organic growth in five years, attributing this to the 'client relationship managers programme', unveiled two years ago.

China strategy: To continue catering for Western clients growing in, or entering, Asia-Pacific, as well as the array of ambitious local industry leaders poised for geographic expansion. To build four fully owned offices supplemented by a strategic alliance with local PR agency Pegasus Communications.

Hill & Knowlton

HQ: New York
CEO: Paul Taaffe
Ownership: WPP Group
2005 revenue: N/A

Financial performance: N/A

Practice areas: Corporate, marketing communications and public affairs. Sector-specific areas of expertise in healthcare and pharmaceutical comms.

Account wins in 2005: Merck, Deloitte & Touche, Adidas, Chevron, Hershey's, Johnny Rockets, Peabody, HSBC, Ameriprise, Sony Home Entertainment, US Oncology and Exelon.Relationships with Tomtom, Tahitian Noni, VeriSign and Computer Associates were expanded into new markets.

Outlook: H&K is building research capabilities to position itself as 'an industry thought leader'. With its parent company, WPP, H&K is pitching for the holding-company-wide reviews of global clients. CEO Paul Taaffe says the firm has seen further increases in the pharma and consumer sectors, and is likely to continue growing. 'The pharma business is changing,' he says. 'It's not just drug launches and marketing, but issues related to reimbursement and public policy relative to drugs. The sector is increasingly politicised around the world.'

China strategy: Was the first international PR company to enter China when it opened a Beijing office in 1984. See PRWeek.com/uk for the view of the Chinese market direct from H&K's Beijing office.

Huntsworth

HQ: London
CEO: Lord Chadlington
Ownership: UK plc
2005 revenue: Group revenue to 31 December 2005 was £136.2m. PR represents 90 per cent of group revenue.

Financial performance: N/A

Practice areas: Financial and corporate communications, PR, public affairs and healthcare.

Account wins in 2005: Nescafe in Switzerland on consumer brand launches and extensions; Chinese company Alibaba.com; pan-European consumer, trade and B2B PR remit for Hertz Europe Limited; co-ordinating corporate PR for Diageo across Asia.

Outlook: For corporate and public affairs teams to co-pitch for contracts.

In the pharmaceutical sector, Huntsworth is seeing a 'strong shift towards a more integrated approach'. Healthcare division includes PR, medical education, advertising and research, and is utilising its cross-discipline expertise.

China strategy: Citigate Dewe Rogerson has offices in Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai. Huntsworth says China is an important market that it keeps under review.

Ketchum

HQ: New York
CEO: Ray Kotcher
Ownership: Omnicom Group
2005 revenue: N/A

Financial performance: N/A

Practice areas: Five global practices: brand marketing, corporate, food and nutrition, healthcare and technology. New practices Ketchum Personalised Media and 'Women 25 to 54' were launched in 2005.

Account wins in 2005: Two-hundred-and-thirteen wins globally, including WeightWatchers, Cranium, Ghirardelli Chocolate, Pepperidge Farm, ConAgra Ingredients and White Wave Foods. Ketchum Entertainment Marketing won Best Buy Geek Squad, Absolut Apeach, Kodak and Dockers. Of Ketchum's top 50 accounts, 38 increased their budgets in 2005, including JPMorgan and Procter & Gamble.

Outlook: After the Armstrong Williams scandal - where, on behalf of the US education department, Ketchum paid a prominent broadcaster $240,000 to talk up US education policy - Ketchum is looking forward again. It retained all of its top 30 clients, and grew their value by 20 per cent.

China strategy: After opening a new office in Chengdu, Ketchum has 165 people across seven cities. The aim, says senior partner Jerry Olszewski, is to work with Chinese and international companies that require unity across many markets. Wants to build differentiation around quality, not price.

Manning Selvage & Lee

HQ: New York
CEO: Mark Hass
Ownership: Publicis Groupe
2005 revenue: N/A

Financial performance: 5.2 per cent increase in US revenue on 2004. Asia posted a 40 per cent increase on 2004. MS&L opened offices in Singapore and Montreal in 2005, and in Sweden and Norway in early 2006. Its Berlin office closed in December 2005.

Practice areas: Consumer, healthcare, corporate and technology. The latter showed the smallest growth. In 2005, Hass MS&L, located in Detroit, launched Blog Works to counsel clients on weblogs.

Account wins in 2005: The Coca-Cola Company, National Geographic, American Cereal Council, Cartier, Nicotinell and Chase.

Outlook: Mark Hass assumed the role of CEO after Lou Capozzi joined newly created PR umbrella group PRCC. Hass is looking to strengthen the agency's operations in Europe and Latin America, and forecasts a ten per cent increase on 2005 revenues.

China strategy: Has offices in Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai. Despite a strong China offering, MS&L will look at additional acquisitions in that country, as well as in India. The agency will also take over the Japanese operations of Publicis Dialog. 'Asia is important to me this year,' Hass says. 'We hope by the end of the year to have a much stronger Asia-Pacific-(owned) network.'

Ruder Finn

HQ: New York
CEOs: Kathy Bloomgarden and Peter Finn
Ownership: independent
2005 revenue: $74.4m

Financial performance: Travel and tourism and packaged goods showed the least growth.

Practice areas: Ten, including new discipline 'ethics consulting'. Others include healthcare, corporate, consumer, and technology.

Account wins in 2005: GE, 3M, Mercedes-Benz, Liz Claiborne, Kellogg's, Subway, Perdue and Amgen. Clients including Chiron and Novartis expanded their business into international markets.

Outlook: Flat revenue coupled with a significant decline in global staffing levels caused Ruder Finn to replace junior staffers with fewer, more senior ones. 'You can only make a difference when you staff an account appropriately,' says CEO Kathy Bloomgarden. Less-known brands were dropped in order to pursue bigger marques. A focus on growing the firm outside the flagship New York office is paying off, with 25 per cent growth in the UK, and 17 per cent in Asia. The main growth strategy is to ensure strength of core practices.

China strategy: Efforts are focused in the luxury branding, corporate and healthcare arenas, which contribute about two thirds of revenue. Tourism and technology practices account for most of the rest.

Text 100

HQ: London
CEO: Aedhmar Hynes
Ownership: Next Fifteen Communications
2005 revenue: Global revenue: $50.8m,up 26 per cent on 2004.

Financial performance: N/A

Practice areas: Two new practices - one that focuses on 'social media', such as blogs, and another concerned with influencer relations - opened last year. Accounts are evenly distributed across communications practices, with primary focus on hardware and software. Corporate communications, wireless and semiconductor practices grew.

Account wins in 2005: Philips Semiconductor, Adobe Wireless, Siemens Wireless Modules, Sprint Nextel, eBay and Yahoo!. Fujifilm, ARM and Xerox expanded their relationships.

Outlook: To continue to push its global proposition, helped by new offices in Guangzhou (China) and Oslo. New endeavours, such as the social media practice, are a vital addition to its offering, says CEO Aedhmar Hynes.

She also wants to push the research and corporate comms practices.

In 2006, the agency will keep its eye on new media and its global network, especially in China.

China strategy: Opened in Hong Kong in the late 1990s, following up with offices in Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai. Strong focus on technology and telecoms.

Ogilvy PR Worldwide

HQ: New York
CEO: Marcia Silverman
Ownership: WPP
2005 revenue: N/A

Financial performance: Consumer marketing, healthcare, technology, public affairs and social marketing showed the most growth.

Practice areas: Eight practices including consumer marketing, healthcare, technology and public affairs.

Account wins in 2005: Sam's Club, TV Guide, Quintiles Transnational, Johnson's Baby, Band-Aid, Mercury Interactive and Brand Atlanta. Berlex, Johnson & Johnson and Unilever expanded their business with Ogilvy.

Outlook: After the loss of Sun Microsystems, Ogilvy hired a new-technology practice head, and has since picked up accounts such as Mercury Interactive and Intel in Asia. CEO Marcia Silverman plans to ramp up Ogilvy's 'research and digital influencer offerings' in 2006. Emphasis will also be put on the corporate, healthcare and public affairs practices. Silverman says 2005 was the year in which Ogilvy's commitment to staff came to fruition. While Silverman feels the firm can talk about itself as a global entity, she does not want it to lose its local image.

China strategy: Big focus on technology and financial communications, particularly Chinese companies looking to list overseas.

Porter Novelli

HQ: New York
CEO: Helen Ostrowski
Ownership: Omnicom
2005 revenue: N/A

Financial performance: N/A

Practice areas: Disciplines - including marketing, corporate, and public affairs; Industry Groups - including healthcare, tech, consumer, financial services, 'diversified industries', 'resources', and government and advocacy institutions; Specialties - including strategic planning and research; and media and influencer relations.

Account wins in 2005: The American Beverage Association, Georgia-Pacific and Mercedes-Benz USA.

Outlook: Client budgets rose in scope and number in late 2005, as did client interest in corporate and public affairs. Porter Novelli expects clients to start tapping into more of its speciality practices as they seek more fully integrated communications. CEO Helen Ostrowski says she is focused on 'drilling down into exactly how work gets done at the agency'.

She adds that acquisitions could be in the pipeline.

China strategy: Porter Novelli has two offices in China, but India has been a greater priority to date. It is rumoured to be mooting an acquisition in India.

Waggener Edstrom

HQ: Seattle
CEO: Melissa Waggener Zorkin
Ownership: independent
2005 revenue: $90.9m, an 11 per cent increase on 2004.

Financial performance: N/A

Practice areas: Public affairs; consumer marketing; bioscience and healthcare; and corporate. Many Waggener Edstrom clients are served by multiple practices.

High-growth areas include public affairs, bioscience and healthcare. Least growth has come from the consumer marketing practice.

Account wins in 2005: Starbucks and GE Healthcare. Microsoft, Advanced Micro Devices and Emerson Power Networks grew their business with the agency.

Outlook: 'While we haven't opened any new practice areas, we are heavily focused on our Asian expansion,' says CEO Melissa Waggener Zorkin. Geographic growth is a direct reflection of client satisfaction, she adds. Moving into a new region such as Asia 'represents our clients' faith in our partnership as their communications counsel'. The agency wants to ramp up its own marketing and branding, and will continue its focus on staff retention (currently 79 per cent) - circa 220 employees were promoted in 2005.

China strategy: Expansion into Asia was the highlight for Wag Ed in 2005.

Its acquisition of Shout Holdings helped the agency with its foray in the region, giving it offices in Hong Kong, Singapore and Beijing.

Weber Shandwick

HQ: New York
CEO: Harris Diamond
Ownership: Interpublic Group
2005 revenue: N/A

Financial performance: 2005 performance exceeded expectations in profit and revenue. Strong growth was seen in consumer marketing, financial services, healthcare and web relations practices.

Practice areas: WS has 26 practice areas. In 2005, a broadcast media services practice was added.

Account wins in 2005: Wins included Ace Hardware, American Financial Services, BEA Systems, the US Army, and the US Department of the Treasury.

Outlook: China and India, and the combination of affiliates and owned offices in eastern Europe, are well positioned to take advantage of anticipated growth. President Andy Polansky says: "Our deep practice area expertise and our global footprint are often cited as differentiators when we talk with clients. The decision of many clients to invest more in order to broaden the international scope of their programmes can only bode well for Weber Shandwick. It used to be that business would almost always be hubbed out of a major city. But now we are looking at hubs such as Brussels, Beijing and Cologne.'

China strategy: In March last year WS announced the launch of strategic comms and PA firm Powell Tate/Weber Shandwick in Shanghai, headed by Ning Shao. WS already has offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

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