Text 100: Agency Business Report 2010

With global revenue down nearly 22% and US revenue down 29%, 2009 was a tough year for Text 100.

Principals: Aedhmar Hynes, CEO; Scott Friedman, regional director for North America
Ownership: Next Fifteen
Offices: 26 wholly owned globally; 5 in the US
Revenues: Globally: $49.5 million; US: $17 million
Headcount: Global is 450; US is 85

With global revenue down nearly 22% and US revenue down 29%, 2009 was a tough year for Text 100. Along with de-creased revenue, the firm closed its Seattle and Dublin offices last year – a move CEO Aedhmar Hynes says better aligned the business with current market demands.
 
Its 71-person global reduction in staff from 2008 "seems like a lot. But spread across all of the outposts, it was one or two in most offices – with the exception of the ones we closed," she says. While the agency kept its business lean, it plans to announce key senior-level appointments in the coming months.
 
The agency lost Philips and a substantial portion of its eBay business earlier this year, but Hynes says its "top 10 clients have remained remarkably stable – although some clients reduced budgets." With key wins such as Schneider Electric, CNN Digital, Tripwire, and the Flip launch in Australia, the agency is expanding its technology know-how to new markets.
 
Global tech positioning
Even though Text 100 isn't angling to compete with the large generalist firms, Hynes wants to position the agency as a global firm that specializes in technology.

She points out that "very few other companies sit in that space, as tech specialists tend to be national."
 
Yet Hynes acknowledges the agency has some way to go before getting back to the size and strength it enjoyed before the downturn. She would like the firm to rebound to 7% to 8% growth – considered typical for it during healthier times – in the next few years.
 
Expanding client base
"We're going to see a different makeup in the business in the next two years," Hynes explains. "While we served the tech sector, lifestyle clients are now coming to us for social media and digital offerings."
 
Hynes says targets for fiscal year 2010, which ends in July for Next Fifteen, were "flat from last year and we have exceeded that for both revenue and profits."

But the agency isn't looking to "grow for its own sake." Rather, its plans include investing in training for its entire team in social media and digital, making inroads in accessing marketing budgets, and using its expertise in technology to branch into new markets.

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