Text 100: Agency Business Report 2009

Text 100 enjoyed client stabilization for most of 2008, but the agency was hit with the global recession as it began fiscal year 2009 and made headcount reductions.

Outlook
Text 100 enjoyed client stabilization for most of 2008, but the agency was hit with the global recession as it began fiscal year 2009 and made headcount reductions. Its turnover rate (30%) skewed higher last year because of lower retention in areas like China and India.

"It's worth noting that since the recession has deepened, staff turnover has dropped dramatically worldwide," says Aedhmar Hynes, CEO, adding that attrition has halved since the start of 2009.

"It's important to understand that we made a conscious decision over the past two years to focus on improving the productivity of our established business, rather than wildly pursue top-line growth at all costs," she added.

That strategy was taken after weathering the dot-com bust. While the client gains in early 2008 were offset by the cutbacks at the end of the year, Hynes says there are several new business opportunities in the pipeline for 2009, giving the agency an optimistic outlook for the year.

Staff
Text 100's current headcount is 525, a 16-person reduction since FY 2007. The firm added one VP to its San Francisco office, while another VP left to pursue another opportunity.

Regional performance
Text 100 declined to state which of its markets are growing and shrinking.
However, in December 2008 the firm was forced to close its Seattle office following budget cutbacks.

Practice areas
The agency's practice areas are: CSR, social media, media relations, analyst relations, corporate communications, influencer relations, IR, public affairs, and research and measurement. The company has grown its CSR practice by expanding its relationship with nonprofit partner TechnoServe. Most accounts use all practice areas, but some local accounts engage Text on a specific set of practices.

Accounts
Key client wins for the agency in North America included MTV and General Display Technology. Numonyx was won across North America and Asia-Pacific. The agency declined to name its client losses, but eBay cut some of its work, while Philips ended its relationships with Text 100 in early 2009, according to PRWeek reports. Approximately 90% of its clients are on a retainer, nearly unchanged from last year.

Financial performance
Text 100's global revenue was $63 million, a 7% increase from 2007. Its 2008 US revenue totaled $23.9 million, up about 6% from 2007. The agency experienced both top- and bottom-line growth in 2008. That was fueled by organic and new-business expansions.

Key facts
Principals: Aedhmar Hynes, CEO, Text 100; Scott Friedman, regional director, North America, Text 100

Ownership: Next Fifteen

Offices: Five wholly owned in US; 28 globally

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