Principal: Amy Binder, CEO and founder
Ownership: The Ruder Finn Group
Offices: New York and Boston
Revenue: $13.2 million
Amy Binder, CEO and founder of RF|Binder Partners, calls 2012 “a good, solid year,” noting plenty of new business and deepening of client relationships.This time last year Binder expected a 25% revenue increase, but unforeseen year-end losses led to a more modest 6% uptick.
“We met our objective, winning $3.5 million in new business,” reports Binder, “but we had more projects end than anticipated. Losses are always unfortunate, but there weren't any that impacted us significantly. We lost about $2 million and about two-thirds of that was project work that ended.”
Losses included Dr. Praeger's, Staples, and Hershey's Dagoba brand. Work on the former two ended due to internal management changes, while the latter took PR in-house.
New business highlights included AOR wins for Abine and Diligent, plus new project-based corporate work for Johnson & Johnson. The agency began a relationship with Capital One that expanded from project work to include CSR retainer work.
An AOR relationship with Cargill's Truvia expanded last year on the global and sustainability fronts. Binder says the firm is increasingly providing global support for clients such as Cargill, Dunkin' Brands, and Tupperware through sister firm Ruder Finn or through agency partnerships.
Headcount was up 7% to 80. A major addition was Linda Perry-Lube, who joined from the American Museum of Natural History as chief digital officer. Binder cites the hire as a signal of how its digital business has grown rapidly.
Growth of digital
“Digital is reshaping traditional media and the way people interact and engage,” she explains. “It's redefining what we do.”
Finding exceptional talent is Binder's top priority. To that end, HR manager Dori Rosner Sarney joined this past March.
Binder is confident new business this year will be on par with 2012. In addition, she also expects increasing growth in digital and social media work, with AOR assignments from Legal & General Investment Management America and Saffron Road, landed earlier this year, epitomizing that.
Binder also sees real opportunity for the broader PR industry as clients want the best ideas. “We need to lead in new directions,” she says, “but innovation for innovation's sake alone isn't what's needed. It must help clients achieve their goals.”