2006 Agency Excellence Survey: Cohn & Wolfe

CEO: Donna Imperato

CEO: Donna Imperato

Number of clients rating: 93

Sector specialties most used: Corporate, consumer, entertainment

Top-scoring attributes against average: Helps you understand and develop programs within the new-media environment; consistently delivers your company's message to all target audiences; offers truly outstanding client service

Bottom-scoring attributes against average: Collaborates well with in-house contacts and other agency partners; provides actionable research to inform campaign strategy and execution; responds to needs and requests in a timely manner

Overall satisfaction: 103

C&W earned consistently high rankings across the board. Clients praised its staff quality, its consistency in message delivery, and the "truly outstanding" client service. "Clients have become very demanding, as they should," CEO Donna Imperato says.

To that end, C&W strives to ensure that every staffer, including Imperato herself, logs significant client face time. While respondents rated C&W slightly below average in ensuring that senior staff is involved in their business, the firm will add what Imperato calls "some senior strength" in the months ahead.

C&W performed highly in the new-media area. Imperato credits the firm's San Francisco outpost, and says, "[Clients] are … willing to take more chances."


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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