GolinHarris: Agency Business Report 2009

In 2008, Golin won many new accounts, while numerous existing relationships were expanded. "We were firing on all cylinders," says Fred Cook, president and CEO.

Outlook
In 2008, Golin won many new accounts, while numerous existing relationships were expanded. "We were firing on all cylinders," says Fred Cook, president and CEO.

The firm also reintroduced GolinHarris Public Affairs in 2008, which enables it to combine traditional tactics, such as lobbying, with its strengths in digital marketing.

Also, employee communications, though noted as one of the areas experiencing the least growth in 2008, has grown very quickly in the past few months.

"The economy has had a positive impact on [the] employee communications practice," says Cook. "There are a lot of issues with the economy that require additional communication, [such as] with employees, layoffs, and cutbacks."

Staff
The agency declined to disclose any specifics on 2008 headcount or turnover. Senior-level hires included Susan Corsini, MD, Washington, DC; Lynn Martenstein, MD, Miami; and Sarah Devaney, EVP and group director, Chicago.

Senior promotions included Lane Bailey, president, GolinHarris Public Affairs, Washington, DC; Jonathan Hughes and Matt Neale, co-MDs, Europe. Two key departures were Talal Eid, MD, Dubai, and Susan Puflea, EVP, Chicago.

Regional performance
While solid growth occurred in most offices, significant expansion was found in the US and Europe, particularly Chicago, DC, Atlanta, New York, London, and Los Angeles. In 2008, the firm opened its office in Stockholm, Sweden, which has oversight of the Scandanavian region.

Practice areas

Golin's six primary practices are corporate communications, employee communications (Insidedge), healthcare, marketing and brand strategy, public affairs, and tech. Its account distribution is 30% consumer marketing, 25% corporate, 17% healthcare, 12% tech, 9% public affairs, and 7% employee communications. Most practice areas grew, with consumer marketing, corporate, and healthcare seeing the most growth. CSR and employee communications grew the least.

Accounts
US wins included Kaiser Permanente, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, PetSmart, Concerta, and TetraPak. Golin lost State Farm in 2008. About 25% of clients are on retainer.

Financial performance
US and global revenues, percent changes over 2007, or profit margins were undisclosed. However, 2008 was reported as Golin's best year in its 50-plus-year history, with revenue and profit increasing at double-digit levels for the third straight year. Half its growth was from new business, while the other half was organic.

Key facts
Principal: Fred Cook, president and CEO

Ownership: Interpublic Group, as part of CMG

Offices: 33 wholly owned globally; 13 in the US

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