Midsize PR Agency of the Year 2008

Open to any a PR firm with annual PR income (fees plus mark-up on disbursements) between $10 million and $65 million, this award recognizes financial and client-list growth, client retention, and PR creativity and innovation

Winner
OutCast Communications

OutCast had a big year in 2007, celebrating its 10th anniversary, winning business from big brands, and expanding its capabilities. Fueled by employees' desire to work with clients that are leaders in their space, OutCast pursued a new business "wish list" - which included Amazon Digital, Clinique, Facebook, Mozilla, NVIDIA, and Ubisoft - and won.

Indeed, it was the "caliber of clients" that most impressed one judge.

While the agency admits that getting press for Facebook isn't the most difficult task, ensuring the stories are factually correct and focused can be - and the agency has met that challenge well, helping to secure a Newsweek cover that captured the company's goal and mission.

The agency also grew its clientele in the area of green tech with Dell Green, Khosia Ventures, Range Fuels, and Yahoo For Good.

OutCast's numbers for the fiscal year were impressive as well: revenues jumped 24% to $11.7 million; profitability grew to 25.8% from 18.6% the previous year; revenue per employee grew by 30% to $213,000; and revenue from existing business grew by 20%.

Though the agency describes its "bread and butter" as strategic media relations, its offerings extend far beyond that into crisis communications, media training, and even CSR work. To help create a well-rounded employee base, the agency does not segregate into traditional practice areas. Instead, employees can have a mix of clients in enterprise and consumer technology, startups and public corporations, software and hardware, green technology and venture capital.

Like all successful firms, keeping those employees happy and engaged is a primary concern for OutCast. It offers a number of education and training programs, bringing in journalists for information conversations about their beats and experts to speak about different areas of the overall marketing industry - from advertising to investor relations.

And because the crux of OutCast's work involves working with the media, the agency is always looking for new and creative ways to engage the press. Some of the best ideas to come out of OutCast Labs include: OutCast CEO Dinner, which draws 125 of Silicon Valley's top executives, press, and venture capitalists; OutCast AfterHours, a cocktail event which draws 300 people, including press, venture capitalists, and entrepreneurs; and OutCast ChalkTalks, where client experts lead informal educational sessions for a small group of press. Such events have helped to establish OutCast as one of the top players in the increasingly crowded Silicon Valley PR scene.

Honorable Mention
Text 100 Public Relations

Under the direction of CEO Aedhmar Hynes, Text 100 has been at the forefront of the new- and social-media revolution in the PR industry, something all judges duly noted. In 2007, it continued its exploration of new mediums such as virtual worlds, social networks, and peer-to-peer marketing. That was evident in some of the work it did - including an event for Xerox that was hosted simultaneously in Second Life and at Fenway Park in Boston. For Text 100, 2007 was about expansion - both in its client roster and offerings. It won new business from such companies as Cisco, Raytheon, Agami Systems, Parrot, and Blue Tie. It also added a clean tech practice. And the agency has devoted significant resources to staff development, particularly as it relates to globalization. Text's GLAM (global account management) program included modules focused on cultural differences and responsibilities, skills, and critical success factors essential to managing international PR programs and teams. About 70% of the agency's US staff took part, showing a dedication to a changing business. Such dedication will be crucial as the agency continues on its quest to be "innovators without borders."

Finalists 2008
Capstrat
Carmichael Lynch Spong
Peppercom
OutCast Communications
Text 100


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