Principal: Rick French, chairman and CEO
Offices: Raleigh, NC (HQ); New York; Los Angeles; Austin, TX; Tampa, FL
French | West | Vaughan started 2012 with a fire in its belly.
Following a 2% decrease in revenue between 2010 and 2011 the agency came back swinging with a 29% increase last year, with more than half coming from new account wins.
“[Revenue growth] was higher than anticipated,” says CEO Rick French. “We had one of the biggest percentage growths in the agency's history.”
Clients tapping into the agency's digital offerings accounted for much of the growth. The firm assisted new and existing clients with online media buying and content creation for online platforms. “Companies are looking for unique and engaging ways to talk to their consumers,” says French.
Growth was especially evident for the firm in its consumer practice. A major account win in this area was Optek Music Systems, makers of the Fretlight Guitar. The company initially hired the agency for a small project after sales of the guitar became stagnant. French | West | Vaughan was able to dramatically increase the size of the account by pitching an integrated marketing plan that would help Optek meet several of it business goals.
Other wins included Wilmington NC Beaches; Dude Ranchers Association; data warehousing company Teradata; TigerSwan, a global defense security firm; and Southwest Athletic Conference.
Maintaining a presence
The agency's Tampa office didn't perform as well as the others. The area has a dearth of corporate headquarters and has been hurt by the economic downturn, says French. Still, current clients in the region mean the firm will maintain its presence there. “It's more important that we have strategic resources where we need them when we need them,” French says.
Healthcare revenue was flat. The scope of RFPs received were more project based in nature and had smaller budgets than some of the opportunities the agency was considering and as a result the practice “took a backseat,” explains French.
He hopes to grow the practice this year and is also optimistic about expanding work in the public affairs realm now that the agency has relocated its Dallas office to Austin, Texas. Talks are under way with some firms in the area to team up on public sector work, he adds