5W Public Relations: Agency Business Report 2012

New York City-based 5W Public Relations continued what has been a steady growth curve since 2003.

Principals: Ronn Torossian, president and CEO (pictured); Don McIver, COO
Ownership: Independent
Offices: New York (headquarters), Los Angeles
2011 Revenues: $12.5 million
2011 Headcount: 72

New York City-based 5W Public Relations continued what has been a steady growth curve since 2003. In 2011, 5W saw $12.5 million in revenue, up 9% from  the previous year, and COO Don McIver says of 2012, “We're now up about 17% year over year as we're really seeing some growth in our consumer practice, health and beauty, as well as corporate.”

5W currently has offices on both coasts and McIver says the agency is considering expansion into markets such as Miami and Chicago.

5W has been in hiring mode, adding 12 employees in 2011 and 18 in the first half of 2012, bringing total staff to 90. Among its key recruits, assistant VP Jason Geller, who came over from cinema advertising company, Screenvision, in late 2011 to boost the agency's consumer and entertainment practices. 

“Our big challenge is finding great talent as we continue to grow so we can ensure that our client's expectations are met and exceeded,” McIver says.

While some of 5W's growth has come from expanding the business of existing clients, the agency also landed some significant wins in 2011, including candy maker Promotion in Motion and its Gummi Bears, Fruit Jacks, and Welch's Fruit Snack brands; Groupe SEB, the holding company for Krups, T-fal, and Rowenta brands, and its most recent pick-up, Travel Alberta.

As for losses, McIver says, “The ones that we lost have been projects that came to fruition. I'm glad to say that we haven't had any major losses.”

Like many agencies, 5W has been investing in its digital team and social media, but McIver stresses that's not at the expense of other efforts. “We feel social and digital media needs to be part of every program and integrated into what is happening in traditional media,” he says. “It's no longer a time when you can look at it as a standalone—it has to be integrated.”

Going forward, McIver says the ongoing macro-economic uncertainty is a challenge, but points out, “PR tends to a leading indicator of an economy that's starting to turn around. And we've seen an uptick as an industry and certainly here at 5W, we've been seeing an uptick in business. When brands and companies realize they need to start getting their branding and messaging out, they come to PR firms first.”

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