2006 Agency Excellence Survey: Hill & Knowlton

CEO: Paul Taaffe

CEO: Paul Taaffe

Number of clients rating: 99

Sector specialties most used: Corporate, healthcare, financial

Top-scoring attributes against average: Consistently delivers your company's message to all target audiences; is an important business partner within your organization; provides appropriate strategic counsel and advice

Bottom-scoring attributes against average: Develops creative programs that help meet company goals; has low staff turnover; provides tools and advice that help support your company's senior management

Overall satisfaction: 102

H&K prides itself on its corporate, crisis, and government work, but its marcomms reputation is robust enough that most of the clients polled cite using that practice over others. CEO Paul Taaffe says that the reality may take time to catch up to the perception. "[Marcomms clients] are maybe 25% of our revenues at most," he says.

Taaffe is proud that H&K is deemed an important business partner, and is encouraged by positive buzz. Respondents named H&K when asked which firms they'd heard "a lot of positive things about" lately, as well as which firms they'd hire in the event of a crisis, for a product/ service promotion or launch, and for financial/IR/M&A help.


Interviews for the Agency Excellence Survey were conducted via computer-assisted Web interviewing [CAWI] methodology. Respondents were recruited from several sources, including, but not limited to, the ERI Panel, PRWeek Contact list, and PRWeek's subscriber list. (Databases were supplied to Millward Brown for the sole purpose of conducting the research.)

The ERI Panel has more than 1 million business pros across the US and Canada, and is made up of opinion leaders, decision-makers, and purchase influencers for companies and organizations. Qualified members are invited to complete an in-depth business-relevant profiling survey that indicates their work roles, responsibilities, job-related interests, and more.

All respondents were PR clients involved in agency selection and management. A total of 600 people were interviewed between April 18 and June 27, 2006.

Modeling of results: Agencies were ranked on two dimensions, high importance and differentiating, which were derived from the stated vs. derived importance analysis. Statements that were high in both stated and derived importance are seen as high importance, while those that are high in derived importance, but lower in stated importance are considered differentiating.

Each agency's attribute scores were weighted according to the proportion of current clients in their dataset to ensure a comparable impact of current clients for each firm. The structure of the model was designed by Millward Brown, with analysis done by a Millward Brown analyst.

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