Waggener Edstrom Worldwide: Agency Business Report 2008

WE had long been associated with its powerhouse client Microsoft, but in 2007 the firm expanded its reputation and became known as a worldwide communicator.

Outlook
WE had long been associated with its powerhouse client Microsoft, but in 2007 the firm expanded its reputation and became known as a worldwide communicator.

President and CEO Melissa Waggener Zorkin calls 2007 a "milestone" year for the agency, with achievements such as passing the $100 million revenue mark and launching its Global Alliance program. The program allowed the agency to increase its reach into markets like Japan, Australia, India, Italy, South Korea, and Spain. But as the agency expands, it still plans to remain nimble enough to respond to major global economic shifts, she notes.

"The next chapter of our story will focus heavily on social innovation," Zorkin says. This strategy targets innovative companies and puts a stronger emphasis on clients committed to doing good in the world.

In 2008, Zorkin expects strong growth and new-business opportunities in the firm's consumer, healthcare, and tech practice areas.

Staff
Headcount was 794 at the end of 2007, a 9% increase from the previous year, with a turnover rate of 22.8%. WE hired several senior-level staffers across its global communications, digital strategies, healthcare, public affairs, and technology practice areas. The agency also added four senior staffers to its Microsoft team. Four senior executives departed the firm.

Practice areas
The firm expanded its consumer marketing, corporate communications, healthcare, and tech practices last year. The largest practice is tech (50%), followed by consumer marketing (25%), corporate communications (15%), healthcare (5%), and public affairs (4%). The agency also launched a methodology for its digital storytelling and digital press releases as part of its digital strategies offerings.

Accounts
The agency added 30 new clients in 2007, with a concentration on global brands. Three of its 2007 wins - Amazon, Limelight Networks, and the UN Development Program - were across three or more countries.

WE lost three key accounts last year: Jobster, Kyocera Mita , and StubHub.

The firm keeps 81.1% of its clients on retainer, an increase from last year. It also executed key campaigns for longstanding clients, including the Microsoft Office launch; the United Nations' "Stand Up, and Speak Out" activism effort; the launch of Microsoft's HealthVault initiative; and the global positioning of GlaxoSmithKline vaccines.

Financial performance

Global revenue hit $110,135,000 last year, up 11.8% from 2006. US revenue rose 11.9% in 2007, totaling $96,750,000. Profit margin was 7.7% globally, 11.2% in the US. WE declined to discuss top- and bottom-line growth, but says overall revenue exceeded expectations.

Key facts

Principal: Melissa Waggener Zorkin, CEO, president, and founder

Ownership:
Independent

Subsidiary agencies:
Maloney & Fox

Offices:
16

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