Ownership: Brodeur Partners Management owns 85%; Omnicom owns 15%
Offices: Global: 33 affiliates and partners; US: 6
Revenue: Global: less than $50 million; US: $20 million to $35 million
Headcount: Global: 195; US: 120
Cofounder and CEO Andy Coville sums up 2011 in one word: “restart.” Most of the agency was bought back from Omnicom, which allowed for reinvestment in growth. Operating costs were restructured and lowered. US revenue increased 28% with strong top- and bottom-line growth.
“Some areas we wanted to invest in weren't priorities for Omnicom – and they shouldn't have been,” she explains. “Omnicom has been great to us.”
The firm repositioned with core differentiation being linking communications and behavior change. “Relevance,” a research tool and strategic planning platform that allows teams to create programs based on how target audiences perceive information, was developed last year. It has evolved to address internal-facing client programs and extended into message testing.
Brodeur is also committed to a partnership service model and currently works with more than 15 companies that provide access to a variety of specialized functions. Partners include Digital Pulp (website design); Montieth & Company (IR); and Timeless Brands (African-American marketing).
Coville champions further investment by adding partners and possibly taking stakes in some that were too small for Omnicom.
Headcount rose 16%. Porter Novelli alums Rob Gould and Robyn Castellani both joined last year – Gould as EVP/MD of the Washington, DC, office and Castellani as EVP. Evan Parker was hired as VP, digital.
Top sectors represented by clients include tech, b-to-b, and nonprofit. The agency landed 32 accounts (30% AOR wins), including Ricoh and legal firm Foley Hoag. Projects ended on two retainer accounts – SolidWorks and Wheelabrator. Work with Hankook Tire expanded from AOR for PR to include a digital AOR designation.
“We were originally a tech agency and had an affinity for digital and social media really early,” Coville says. “In integrated assignments, the sweet spot is owning or influencing the research because that informs everything. Competency in earned and social media are table stakes.”
Coville expects to expand Relevance through new partnerships and products.
“We're tracking Q1 at 20% growth,” she says. “Clients are interested in innovating. They're not holding back on budgets if there's good justification for the program.”