Principal: Doug Spong, president
Ownership: Interpublic Group
Offices: Minneapolis (HQ), New York, Boston, Denver, and San Francisco
PR counselor headcount is down about 10 to the current 50 (22% turnover). The Jackson Hole, WY, office was shuttered. President Doug Spong declines to report layoff numbers, but notes departures were mostly junior- and mid-level. Six people were promoted, including Grete Lavrenz to principal, chair of food and beverage.
Brand marketing, corporate, and b-to-b across five segments: home and garden, food and beverage, outdoor and leisure, tech, and retail. Food and beverage grew, as clients including Jack Link's and Cargill spent more. Digital and social media also grew. Home-related business declined.
Carmichael Lynch Spong is AOR to most of its 22 clients. Wins included Calphalon, Gerber, New Balance, and Salomon. Fortune Brands and Ingersoll Rand consolidated agencies, benefiting the IPG firm. Lost were American Humane Society, Buell, CaringBridge, and Sierra Nevada.
Revenue is less than $50 million. Spong notes revenue declines, but adds that the firm achieved bottom-line growth, which he attributes to discretionary and payroll savings.
"Shock and awe" is Spong's recollection of Q1, as client cutbacks kept coming. His firm marks its 20th anniversary in September, and 2009 was the first year it didn't expand. Still, Spong is pleased to report an employee survey last fall showed high morale. He projects modest growth this year.
"Long-time existing clients of record keep coming with more work," he says. "They're identifying more needs and more budget. That's got me encouraged."