Midsize PR Agency of the Year 2011

Sponsored by Deloitte

?Winner: Zeno Group

While at the tail end of any alphabetical listing of agencies, Zeno Group soared to the very top spot in this category on the wings of an impressive year, both on the revenue and staffing fronts.

Zeno's revenue growth of 16% for the 12-month period ending September 30, 2010 as compared to the previous year was impressive on its own. However, the breadth of new client wins really caught the judges' attention. Seattle's Best Coffee, Sears, and Tropicana were among the many organizations to join Zeno's client roster.

The agency also took a leap of faith by investing in top-tier talent ahead of the revenue curve. It made a dozen new hires across the board in consumer, corporate, healthcare, media, and digital. To top it all, Edelman veteran Barby Siegel was named its new CEO.

"Zeno Group's innovative spirit, coupled with its significant growth and transformation made it a clear choice," noted one judge.

Indeed, the vast incoming brainpower enabled the agency to notably expand its client offerings. Of particular note is "The Real Moms of Zeno," an extension of the agency's deep expertise about marketing to moms. This proprietary, nationwide group of 70-plus moms was tapped by many clients to test out ideas and products. For example, Sears conducted WebEx focus groups on new appliance technologies.

Judges also noted Zeno's development of the award-winning effort on behalf of the American Urological Foundation, another new client: the "Know Your Stats" campaign. This initiative encourages men to talk to their doctor about prostate cancer screening.

In terms of staff programs, Zeno took a back seat to no firm. It's ZenoFit stress-reduction reimbursement program, which promotes health and well-being for all employees, was just one of many such offerings by the agency.

"Zeno's passion and creativity infuse its client work," said one judge. "It has earned the loyalty and respect of an impressive client list and its entire staff."

Honorable Mention
: Coyne Public Relations

With revenue up 30% over the prior year and profit margins rising more than 200%, Coyne had another solid year. Judges were particularly impressed with its substantial growth in sports (85%), food and beverage (50%), and healthcare (more than 30%). Among Coyne's numerous noteworthy efforts were the 680 million impressions garnered for the 50th anniversary of Bubble Wrap for client Sealed Air Corp., which was highlighted by the judges. Much of this success can be attributed to shrewd senior-level hires, including a new healthcare director, SVP of digital media, and EVP of client services. As one judge said, "Coyne has set a high bar."

The Award Open to any firm whose current annual PR income (consisting of fees plus mark-up for disbursements) is from $10 million to $65 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.

Finalists 2011


Coyne Public Relations

Hunter Public Relations

The OutCast Agency

Zeno Group

Deloitte LLP is the US member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu. Its subsidiaries provide audit, tax, consulting, and financial advisory services through more than 40,000 people in the US. Known as an employer of choice for innovative human resources programs, it is dedicated to helping its clients and people excel.

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