Airfoil Public Relations: Agency Business Report 2007

Airfoil's roots are in tech, but it has worked to expand its roster to "forward-looking" companies in other industries, including national clients like Starbucks and local ones like NextEnergy.

Airfoil's roots are in tech, but it has worked to expand its roster to "forward-looking" companies in other industries, including national clients like Starbucks and local ones like NextEnergy.

Principal Janet Tyler says when she and Vallee-Smith launched the firm, they sought to create a great place to work, and she attributes the firm's growth to this investment in talent.

"We invest in professional development significantly more than other firms our size," says Tyler. "Our junior people aren't just in the back room turning clips." Airfoil contributed more than 200 hours to pro bono work for nonprofits last year.

Principals: Janet Tyler, Lisa Vallee-Smith
Ownership: Independent
Offices: Two, Southfield, MI (headquarters); Redwood City, CA

Current headcount is 54, up 38% from last year with a staff turnover of 24%. No senior-level appointments. Rich Donley, Keith Donovan, and Jean Lombard were hired as account directors; Amy Bryson was named account supervisor.

Regional performance
Tyler opened its Redwood City, CA, office last year as its West Coast client base expanded. The office services clients including Microsoft and PayPal.

Practice areas
Four: b-to-b, b-to-c, auto/manufacturing technology, and healthcare. The latter is new. B-to-b, which accounts for 45% of the firm's business, showed most growth, at 19% in 2006. The auto and healthcare areas, which together represent 12% of revenues, grew by just 2%. The b-to-c practice makes up 43% of Airfoil's work.

Wins include Best Buy For Business, various projects for Microsoft, Gas Station TV, HealthMaster, QVC, and Trinity Health System. Losses included Infor and Dynamic Computer Corporation.

Financial performance
Revenue in 2006 was $6,084,700, up 26% over 2005, with a 15% profit margin. Top-line growth rose, but investments in staffing, among other things, decreased the agency's net income. Growth was fairly evenly divided between organic (47%) and new business (53%).

Agency's full questionnaire follows below:

Name of parent division/company

Name of subsidiary companies

Has your ownership status changed in the past year?

Name of global CEO and US CEO
Lisa Vallee-Smith

What is your current headcount, and how has it changed from this time last year?
54 (2/15/2007) Increased by 38%

What was the percentage of staff turnover in 2006?

Did you make any senior hires in 2006 (VP and higher)?

Please state name, title (and unique responsibilities, if applicable), and previous company

What senior staff have departed the firm? Please state name and previous title

Please list any other senior management changes, including restructures and significant, senior-level promotions
New Hires· Rich Donley - account director· Keith Donovan - account director · Jean Lombard - account director · Amy Bryson - account supervisor promotions · Leah Haran - account director · Patrick McLaughlin - account manager · Kevin Sangsland - account manager· Elin Spahr - account supervisor

Have you made any acquisitions in the past year, or merged with another agency?

How many wholly owned offices do you have globally? Please list with agency names and cities under the following headings. Add majority-owned offices in parentheses.

How many partly owned offices or affiliates do you operate globally? Please list agency names and cities under the following headings.

What offices opened in 2006 or early 2007? (State when)
Redwood City, June 2006

What offices closed in 2006 or early 2007? (State when)

Which regions, US and globally, are growing, and why?

How many practice areas do you have? Please list.
4 practice area - Business to Business, Business to Consumer, Automotive/Manufacturing Technology, and Healthcare

Which ones are new?

Of those, which ones are part of the core strategy of the agency?

Which practice areas have been phased out in the past year?

What practice areas showed the most growth? Please elucidate.
B2B - 19% growth in 2006

Which practice areas showed the least growth? Please elucidate.
Automotive / Healthcare- 2% growth in 2006

What is the distribution of accounts across practice areas?
B2B-45%B2C-43% Auto / Healthcare -12%

What key account wins did you have in 2006?
Best Buy For Business, Fluency Media, Gas Station TV, HealthMaster, Kaleidico, Merillat Industries, Microsoft Corporate Social Responsibility Marketing Communications (Project), Microsoft Frontrunner (Project), Microsoft ISV (Project), OnForce, QVC, Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, Syneron, Trinity Health System, RPM Ventures, Winding Road

Of your 2006 wins, how many were across three or more countries?

What key accounts did you lose in 2006? If based outside the US, or are global, please state regions.
Infor, Dynamic Computer Corporation, George P. Johnson, Merillat

Did you expand any existing accounts into new domestic or international markets or sectors? Please elucidate.

What proportion of your clients are on a retainer? Has this changed over the past year?

What was your 2006 global (including US) revenue?

What was the % change over 2005 global revenue
26% increase

What was your global profit margin in 2006?

What was your 2006 US revenue?

What was the % change over 2005 US revenue
26% increase

What was your US profit margin in 2006?

Did you experience top-line or bottom-line growth in the past year, or both?
Top-line, investments in staffing and fixed assets in 2006 decreased net income

How much of your growth was organic, and how much was due to new business won?
Organic - 47%New business - 53%

How did your performance, in terms of revenue and growth, meet expectations you had for the year?
Airfoil's growth exceeded expectations as we increased our revenue by 26%, surpassing expectations by a significant amount.

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