PainePR: Agency Business Report 2010

CEO Daryl McCullough says Q1 and Q2 of 2009 were "down precipitously," though things began to normalize by July.

Principals: Daryl McCullough, CEO
Ownership: Cossette
Offices: Los Angeles, Irvine, CA, and New York

Staff
Headcount fell five to 71 last year, but is back to 76. Client budget freezes and cuts led to a few mid- and junior-level cuts. Voluntary turnover was 6% (total turnover was 25%). Group director in automotive and sports Kevin Twer left. Chris Chamberlin was promoted to managing partner.

Practice areas
Focus is on four pillars across multiple categories: social engagement, social responsibility and sustainability, social marketing, and influencer marketing PR. Paine continued to excel in consumer packaged goods and services. Corporate sustainability and social media grew across all practice areas. Healthcare, which is primarily focused on social issues, showed the least growth.

Accounts
Wins included GM, Sony VAIO, Cycling Sports Group, and Avery Dennison. Hilton Garden Inn was lost last spring because the company brought PR in-house. The agency also resigned freecreditreport.com/protectmyid.com.

Financial performance
After a record year of 17% growth in 2008, revenue was down 7% last year to $12.4 million with a 7% profit margin.

Analysis
CEO Daryl McCullough says Q1 and Q2 of 2009 were "down precipitously," though things began to normalize by July. Staff cuts and redeploying existing employees on internal projects helped shore up profit.

He adds that because Paine has one profit center, it shares talent and resources across offices, which helped it get through 2009.

Q4 brought new business and organic wins. The key consumer account win of Cadbury this year is fueling growth, which McCullough projects will be one of Paine's best ever (up at least 15%). He's now hiring across all offices and formulating "dynamic and aggressive" plans for the next five years.

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