Offices: New York; London; Fairfield, CT
Revenue: $12.7 million
Headcount: Global: 57; US: 53
When Wall Street made notable strides last year toward recovering from the financial crisis of 2008, it helped CJP Communications to what managing partner Jen Prosek called “an amazing year.” The New York-based independent firm reported global revenue of $12.7 million – nearly all of it in the US – and 26% revenue growth compared with 2010. Seventy percent of the growth was from new business at CJP, which specializes in financial communications.
“Major financial institutions took their head out of the sand and said, ‘We must do something again,'” says Prosek. “During the crisis, everyone stopped spending. When it felt better, everything started to come back. Our clients began spending again on everything from social media to thought leadership.”
However, as the financial sector continued to rebound, large segments of the population remained skeptical about the financial sector, even before the Occupy Wall Street protests began driving the media narrative in late 2011. Financial services institutions that did not have to communicate with the public much in the past began to do so using new methods last year, says Prosek.
“Alternative clients such as hedge funds, private equity funds, and asset managers are new to the marketing game and to reputation management,” she explains. “Now the public cares what hedge funds do. Look at Mitt Romney. There's a discussion going on about private equity. They've never had to deal with these things before.”
Among companies to hire CJP in 2011 was online brokerage firm E-Trade Financial, which cited CJP's “really solid focus on financial services” in naming it AOR. CJP also won tasks from Bridgewater, ING North America Insurance, Lazard Wealth Management, and Intech, among others. It lost business from Aflac and Greentech Capital.
The agency also opened a London office last year and boosted headcount by 20%. Staff turnover at CJP in 2011 was 11%.
Looking for the best idea
Prosek adds that the firm also noticed a growing open-mindedness among CMOs in 2011 to assign work to PR firms with dynamic ideas, instead of only considering marketing or advertising agencies.
“CMOs don't care anymore who comes up with the best idea,” she explains. “The playing field has been leveled among the ad agencies, PR agencies, and marketing firms. The smartest guy in the room wins.”