A 15% year-over-year revenue rise from October 2009 to October 2010 (to $3.4 million), a 25% profit margin (41% greater than 2009), and a 95% retention rate of AOR clients point to a top boutique firm. Add in an impressive new partnership, international expansion, and a reputation for giving back to the community and working with junior staff, and you get Kwittken & Company, PRWeek's Boutique PR Agency of the Year 2011.
In September, Kwittken became part of integrated marketing services agency Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners, and part of the MDC Partners network. Soon after, the agency opened its first international office in London. This all supports its multi-specialist approach to sectors: health; media/advertising; financial services; tech; professional services; and fashion/luxury.
One judge found that Kwittken's actions in 2010 truly exhibited "forward thinking in a changing agency environment."
AOR clients the agency maintained included global medical device maker Stryker; Towers Watson, a leading professional services firm; and home textiles manufacturer London Luxury. Kwittken boasted some impressive account wins during the entry period, including American Express, for which it serves as AOR for the Business Insights division, BMW, and Dream Water.
Kwittken fully supports the old adage: Your best assets ride up and down the elevator, so the agency offers its junior staffers one-on-one mentoring relationships with senior executives, a broad professional development program, and financial incentives for particularly outstanding employees.
Since 2005, the firm has also committed nearly 2% of its net income to various charities. Recipients have included the American Heart Association, Habitat for Humanity, and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Honorable Mention: The Grossman Group
In a tough economy, The Grossman Group added 18 Fortune 500 organizations to its client roster, including CitiGroup and Raytheon. The firm also unveiled several innovative tools, such as its Ultimate Leader Tools, a suite of ready-to-use, customizable leader comms tools, and its Messagemap, which ensures alignment around key strategies and initiatives and how they are articulated. Judges gave a special nod to its employee and client relations tactics, which include making pumpkin pies for every client and staffer for Thanksgiving. "Intelligence, innovation, and amazing output for only 10 full-time staffers," said one judge. "When do they sleep?"
The Award Open to any firm whose current annual PR income (consisting of fees plus mark-up for disbursements) is less than $5 million. The CEOs of each firm were required to certify in writing that the agency's annual PR income met those qualifications, as well as date of incorporation and number of employees. This award recognizes financial and client-list growth, client retention, and PR creativity and innovation.
Hellerman Baretz Communications
Kwittken & Company
Maloney & Fox
The Grossman Group
Sponsor: Chandler Chicco Companies (CCC) is a network of global companies representing best-in-class capabilities in healthcare communications across public relations, medical education, market access, scientific and clinical trial communications, marketing and branding, graphic design, social and digital media, and research and measurement. Current CCC companies include: Allidura Consumer, Biosector 2, Brandtectonics, Chandler Chicco Agency, Chandler Chicco Productions, Determinus, Ingenda Communications, Litmus, 'nition, and VerStone Digital.