PR Agency of the Year 2008

This award was judged by comparing the winners of the Small, Midsize, and Large PR Agency of the Year categories. Judges looked for financial growth, profit margins, client roster growth, client retention, client satisfaction, good HR practices, innovation, and creativity. All of these achievements were considered relative to the agency's size and previous standing

PR Agency of the Year 2008

rbb Public Relations

For judges, what set rbb Public Relations apart from the others was its "outstanding culture." A major contributor to this culture is the firm's stress on work-life balance. Every employee, down to the bookkeeper, determines his or her own schedule and chooses the location from where work will be done. To help keep employees connected to each other and clients, the firm supplies all employees with cell/data phones and encourages them to make it their only phone.

That culture has been part of the agency's core since its inception. It has always worked hard to ensure that it provides a positive work environment for employees, believing that such an environment will cause its long-term clients to stay and new ones to follow.

That belief has had a positive impact on business. The agency boasts a number of long-term clients, comprising half of the firm's work. They include Florida Power & Light, Ringling Bros., Miami Art Museum, The Miami Herald, and Starbucks, among others. In 2007, the agency also added such national clients as Lady of America Franchise Corp., Ritz Carlton, and Schlitz.

It was rbb's "impressive and varied client list, creative work, and strong results," that really struck a chord with judges.

Last year saw the creation of an employee-driven workplace management system, and project management and results management tools for clients. Most importantly, though, the firm grew 46% - monthly revenues grew from $217,000 to $317,000, resulting in overall revenue of $3.8 million with an almost 30% profit.

The firm has also developed and implemented a number of innovations that benefit its clients and employees. The Activity Impact Score gives numerical value to a non-media activity, such as speaking engagements or sponsorship, so that all activity can be measured on the same scale. The firm's complimentary extranet also allows 24/7 contact with clients.

The agency's culture is also aided by the four activity groups it has implemented: rbb Think Tank, which concentrates on professional development and learning; rbb news, which is dedicated to firm branding and recognition; rbb Works, which manages operational issues and improves work tools; and rbb Flex, which ensures that the agency's work-life balance programs work optimally. Every employee is a member of a group and staff feedback surveys show that 100% of the staff is extremely satisfied with the program.

Its "strong HR initiatives," according to one judge, is a key reason for its success.

Honorable Mention

As one judge said, "Edelman just had a great year." It grew by 26.2% globally, increasing revenue from $298 million to $376 million. Its US revenue jumped 25.3% from $198 million to $248 million. And where the consumer and health practice used to account for more than 50% of its worldwide revenue, in 2007, the firm was able to distribute it far more equally: consumer (26%), health (16%), tech (13%), corporate (14%), public affairs (14%), and others, including interactive (18%). It also increased the number of its offices from 47 to 50 and the number of worldwide employees from 2,100 to 3,000. But perhaps just as important as the business results, Edelman was able to strengthen its reputation as a leader in new and social media, something which impressed judges across the board. The agency hosted an inaugural New Media Academic Summit, inviting 100 leading academics to instruct them on how new media is changing communications, and to provide them with the tools and content to better prepare students for a successful PR career.

Finalists 2008
OutCast Communications
rbb Public Relations

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