Barkley Public Relations: Agency Business Report 2008

Barkley PR considered 2007 a watershed year for its cause branding work after decades of involvement.

Barkley PR considered 2007 a watershed year for its cause branding work after decades of involvement.

"In the last four or five years, we really put our stake in the ground in a more involved way, and it really paid off in 2007," says president Mike Swenson.

Its social media group, which was introduced last year, has become an asset to its cause branding clients, who use it to build awareness and drive donations.

In 2008, the firm forecasts continued success despite the economic tumult.

"Cause is going mainstream," Swenson notes. "It's being viewed as a really distinctive way to reach customers in a way that other forms of marketing can't."


Barkley's current headcount is 20, with a turnover of 11%. A major hire was account director Kelly Oleson, who oversaw its largest account win of 2007. The firm added three staff members in total.

Regional performance
With the exception of ITC Holdings, all of Barkley PR's clients are national. Most of the firm's business is derived from the Midwest and the East and West coasts.

Practice areas
The firm has five: cause branding, corporate communications, media relations, crisis communications, and social media. The first three areas are used most frequently by clients. Crisis and social media work tends to be done on a project basis.

Key wins were The March of Dimes, Helzberg Diamonds, and ITC. The firm also had three major cause account wins that it can't divulge due to confidentiality. A major loss was RH Donnelley. Barkley uses a fee-for-services model, where a budget is created that corresponds to the scope of work to be done.

Financial performance

Revenues were up 17% last year, totaling $3,895,000. The firm's profit margin was 18.45%. Barkley attributes much of its growth to new account wins, stating that it was one of the most successful new business performances in its history, exceeding projections for the fiscal year.

Keys Facts
Mike Swenson, president

100% employee-owned

One in Kansas City, MO

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