Principal: Jeffrey Sharlach, CEO; Brian Burlingame, COO; Michael Valdes-Fauli, president
Offices: Miami, New York, Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina
2012 revenue: Global: $8,400,330; US: $5,064,702
JeffreyGroup marked its 20th anniversary this year after growing global revenue 10% to $8,400,330 in 2012, another record-breaking financial year for the agency. The firm's business, which focuses on Latin America and the US Hispanic market, weathered economic turmoil with its practices in consumer marketing, technology, and healthcare, says CEO Jeffrey Sharlach.
In particular, JeffreyGroup has continued to see strong growth due to a rising middle class in its two largest markets, Brazil and Mexico, Sharlach says. The agency opened an additional office in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil this summer.
"Consumer marketing is driven heavily by consumption, and in Mexico and Brazil there is a very strong middle class emerging that is buying a lot of products, such as smartphones and other new technology, for the first time," he explains.
Since its founding, the agency has helped introduce tech brands such as the Nintendo Game Boy, Palm PDA, and Amazon Kindle to consumers in Latin America. Earlier this year it began working with Facebook, Spotify, and Airbnb in the region.
"When we introduced Game Boy in the ‘90s, we announced it in Argentina in November and in Brazil three months later. You can't do that anymore, because the day a new product is announced everyone knows about it," Sharlach says. "Companies are more aware of how important it is to manage that process in important markets."
Last year JeffreyGroup expanded work with Johnson & Johnson, its largest client, to represent pharmaceutical division Janssen Pharmaceuticals in Brazil. Pfizer tapped the firm to conduct a public health campaign across Latin America.
"Healthcare continues to be strong because it lends itself to PR messaging much more than advertising. PR is more educational, informative, and engaging," Sharlach says.
Other notable account wins included Mozilla Firefox and Hilton Hotels & Resorts in Latin America, Nestlé in Brazil, and TD Bank for Hispanic PR in the US. Last year JeffreyGroup expanded work with Fox Hispanic Media to launch MundoFox, News Corp.'s first national Spanish-language broadcast network. The Miami Marlins hired the firm at the beginning of 2013 to improve relationships with fans.
The agency lost Volkswagen's US Hispanic account, Bayer CropScience in Brazil, and Target's Hispanic PR business last year.
In May, JeffreyGroup hired Mauricio Gutierrez, former director at Madrid-based firm Llorente & Cuenca, as group director of its Mexico office. The agency's senior-level staff has otherwise remained stable, with many top executives staying in their roles for a decade or more. However, recruiting new talent continues to be a challenge, Sharlach says.
"It's harder for us to find good talent than it is to find good clients," he adds. "There's a really high demand for good people, and with us it gets even more complex because we need the language skills."
Looking ahead, JeffreyGroup is hoping for more work in its US Hispanic practice, which could be bolstered by more Mexican and Brazilian companies beginning to target US Hispanic customers, Sharlach says.
"Clients are paying more attention to Hispanic marketing and realizing what a cultural force Hispanics are in the country," he says. "One of the challenges is getting them to really dedicate the resources that the market deserves. That's why we see potential for growth."