Among a quartet of worthy agencies, Zeno enjoyed a stellar 12 months on various fronts. This catapulted the firm to the very top spot in judges' eyes, netting it the coveted honor of PR Agency of the Year.
Zeno's numbers certainly stood out, with revenue growth of 16% for the 12-month period ending September 30, 2010 as compared to the previous year. But it was the breadth of new client wins that really caught the judges' attention. Seattle's Best Coffee, Sears, and Tropicana were among the many organizations to join its client roster.
The agency's daring did not go unnoticed, as it took a leap of faith by investing in top-tier talent ahead of the revenue curve. A dozen new hires across the board were made in consumer, corporate, healthcare, media, and digital. To top it all, Edelman veteran Barby Siegel was named its new CEO.
"Zeno'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 firm'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.
On the other end of the spectrum, 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.
To complete the package, no agency exhibited appreciation of its staff more than Zeno. It's ZenoFit stress-reduction reimbursement program, which promotes health and well-being for all employees, was just one of many such examples.
"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: Mitchell Communications Group
With a year-over-year gross revenue increase of 94%, Mitchell stood out. And while it solidified long-term client relationships with Walmart and Tyson Foods, it also added major clients such as Sara Lee and Kimberly-Clark. Innovation was also top of mind this past year, as Mitchell launched a litany of new products, including the Digital Library Management tool, an in-house capability to manage its clients' digital assets. All that was topped off by its employees donating 2,840 hours to worthy causes over the course of the year. "If you seek the benchmark of excellence in small agencies," noted one judge, "Mitchell Communications Group is it."
The Award This award was judged by comparing the winners of the Boutique, Small, Midsize, and Large PR Agency of the Year categories. Judges looked for evidence of financial growth, profit margins, client roster growth, client retention, client satisfaction, good HR practices, innovation, and creativity. All of these achievements were considered relative to the agency's size and previous standing.
Kwittken & Company
Mitchell Communications Group
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