2006 Agency Business Report: Padilla Speer Beardsley

CEO Lynn Casey calls the recovery in 2005 the most positive market rebound she's ever seen.

CEO Lynn Casey calls the recovery in 2005 the most positive market rebound she's ever seen.

PSB's impressive 13% growth is a testament not only to a good business climate, but also to the strength of the firm's diversified offerings.

The firm is also a member of the Worldcom agency network, which Casey sees as a vital way for best-of-class firms to build business. Casey says that while there are a lot of accounts up for grabs, competition is fierce.

"Business is out there," she notes, "but it's hard fought and won."

Name of global CEO and US CEO
(or most senior equivalent)
Lynn Casey, Chair and CEO

What is your current headcount, and how has it changed from this time last year?
91 as of 12/31/05 vs. 76 at the end of 2004

What was the percentage of staff turnover?
20 percent

Did you make any senior hires in 2005 (VP and higher)? Kevin McArdle, VP and director of PSB's Sales & Marketing Strategy practice. Formerly VP Marketing for consumer health care company Core Products. We hired Kevin to this new area in order to help our clients optimize their marketing and sales organizations and strategies, thus assuring that the brand-building work we do makes the biggest difference possible in achieving business objectives.

Al Galgano, VP in our Corporate/Investor Relations practice. A corporate finance veteran, Al spent 25 years at some of the nation's largest financial services firms and at high-tech firms handling M&A and capital markets activities. Most recently was VP IR and Corporate Development at Minneapolis-based Retek and handled its sale to Oracle prior to joining our firm.

What senior staff have departed the firm?

Other senior management changes
We welcomed Tim Briggs, our new CFO, following the retirement of Jerry Erickson after 33 years at Padilla Speer Beardsley.

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

How many offices do you have globally?
We chose to go the global network route vs. owning more offices or being acquired ourselves.

North America
New York

How many practice areas do you have?
A total of 12 -- Six industry practices, primarily focused on marketing/brand-building: Agribusiness, Consumer Products (focused on food/beverage and home products), Health Care/Medical Technology, Information Technology, Manufacturing, Professional Services; three functional practices, Corporate/Investor Relations, Public Affairs, and Crisis/Critical Issues; three specialized service practices: Research (public opinion and market research), Creative Services (graphic design/interactive design, development and production/print production) and Sales & Marketing Strategy. We are matrixed and heavily into "cross-serving" our specialized services especially, although we do have clients who engage us in only one practice, e.g. pure investor relations counsel.
Which ones are new?
Sales & Marketing Strategy

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

Which practice areas have been phased out in the past year?
We are no longer actively growing an Employee Communication practice. Instead, we have folded our diagnostic tool -- the Employee Engagement Profile -- into our Research practice since execution of the Profile is handled by our Research practice anyway and most of our employee communication expertise resides with the head of the practice, David Kistle.

What practice areas showed the most growth?
Every one of our practices increased over 2004 with the exception of Corporate/Investor Relations, which was down slightly due to the lack of IPOs in the Midwest where we do most of our IR work. Leading the pack in double digits were industry practices Agribusiness, Information Technology and Professional Services; and functional areas Public Affairs and Crisis/Critical Issues. Research, one of our specialized services, grew in triple-digits.

Which practice areas showed the least growth?
As mentioned earlier, we made the decision not to promote our Employee Communication practice. A major change-management contract with Coors came to an end in 2004, our practice leader returned to a new position on the corporate side that Harley Davidson created for him back in his home town of Milwaukee, and we needed to focus on other parts of our business.

What is the distribution of accounts across practice areas? We strive for a "balanced portfolio, making sure that our functional and specialized service areas are used by as many clients as possible in all of our industry practices. Using PRWeek's Agency Business Report breakdown (which is due to you March 6), we are heaviest in B2B marketing followed by consumer marketing and corporate communications.

What key account wins did you have in 2005?
GE Consumer & Industrial (major product launch in its home appliance division); St. Louis-based Express Scripts, a Fortune 500 pharmacy benefit management company; Mosaic, a Cargill spin-off; Global Lead, a Cincinnati-based management consulting firm specializing in diversity issues; Minneapolis-area based Northwest Airlines; Tennant company, world leader in industrial cleaning equipment and chemicals; Minneapolis-based Thrivent Financial for Lutherans; ALCOA; National Solid Wastes Management Association; and a leading national life insurance company on the east coast (nameless).

What key accounts did you lose in 2005?
None. We parted ways mutually with a few smaller Minneapolis-based clients who either took their work in-house or began searching for smaller-firm resources.

Did you expand any existing accounts into new domestic or international markets?
Yes. We took two more of our clients into Europe and Asia with assistance from our Worldcom PR Group partners.

What proportion of your clients are on a retainer?
Slightly over 10 percent.

Has this changed over the past year?
Not much

What was your 2005 US revenue?

What was the % change over 2004 US revenue?
13 percent increase

Did you experience top-line or bottom-line growth in the past year?

How did your performance, in terms of revenue and growth, meet expectations you had for the year?
We came in just about on plan for revenue growth. (We try to grow between 12-15 percent year-over-year.) Profitability exceeded plan.

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