Shift Communications: Agency Business Report 2009

In its fifth year of business, Shift Communications attributes its success to additional social media projects and consumer accounts, as well as a hybrid approach that combines traditional media relations with social media.

Outlook
In its fifth year of business, Shift Communications attributes its success to additional social media projects and consumer accounts, as well as a hybrid approach that combines traditional media relations with social media.

"When we started [the agency], it was 100% technology. We're now getting close to 50% consumer and technology, and there's a smattering of healthcare," says Todd Defren, principal at Shift. "That's a big amount of diversification."

Regarding the future, he says, "We'd like to land more name-brand clients. My ultimate goal is whenever you call an Edelman, Text 100, or Fleishman, you'll also think to call Shift. We're getting there."

He adds that he hopes to flesh out a digital content marketing offering that the agency added in 2008.

Staff
Headcount rose from 93 in 2007 to 100 in 2008. No senior hires were made. Due to a rough Q4 and gloomy forecast, however, the firm cut about 10% of its staff in January 2009, mostly at the junior level.

Regional performance
Business across both offices grew in 2008.

Practice areas
Practice areas consist of consumer, b-to-b, clean tech, security, and healthcare. In 2008, the agency saw the most growth in its consumer division and added the clean tech practice.

Accounts
Shift added three new accounts: H&R Block, Virgin Mobile, and J&J corporate (social media consulting). It lost Travelocity. All of its clients are on retainer.

Financial performance
In 2008, US revenue rose to $12,200,000. The agency attributes most of this growth – 15% over 2007 – to new business, despite a rough Q4.

Key facts
Principal: Todd Defren

Ownership: Independent

Offices: Two, Boston and San Francisco

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