Principal: Tom Coyne, CEO
Offices: New York; Parsippany, NJ; and Santa Monica, CA
Coyne PR ended 2013 with flat year-over-year revenue at $20 million.However, agency CEO Tom Coyne was, on balance, pleased considering the firm lost two large clients during the year that totaled $3 million in fees.
Both losses were due in part to changes in personnel at the clients, with long-term contacts Miguel Piedra at Burger King and Greg Zimprich at General Mills leaving their positions. Coyne worked on Pillsbury, Yoplait, and blogger relations for General Mills; it was US AOR for Burger King.
"The year was characterized by us making hard decisions about who we do and don’t want to work with," explains Coyne. "Sometimes you get tested and have to walk away from major brands."
The firm declined to repitch the Burger King business when it came up.
"The brand had a lot of turnover in its PR department and the fun parts of working together had gone away," he adds.
Coyne also lost five-year client Crayola in January 2014 to Edelman, a $250,000 account for which it did repitch.
The agency filled the billings gap with new clients such as Novartis, Daytona International Speedway, and the Los Angeles Marathon, as well as organic growth from existing clients.
Staff turnover was 15%. Despite the high-profile account losses, nobody was let go. In fact, there were 41 new hires and the firm also opened an office in Santa Monica in July. In October, it brought on Rob Schnapp as creative director and in August, Chris Cullmann joined as director of digital strategy in the firm’s health group. VP Shelby Rohwedder left the agency.
More integrated approach
The agency reacted to the setbacks by "reassessing the firm’s approach to business as a whole," shares Coyne. "It was a good time to reinvent ourselves."
As a result, the firm takes a more integrated approach to its service offerings and spent the latter half of 2013 repositioning itself with a new ad campaign and website. This more judicious approach to new business helped it win 100% of the 12 pitches it took part in during January and February.
The agency joined the Worldcom network last year to spread its wings globally.
"We want to stay independent," adds Coyne. "Worldcom gives us the choice of multiple agencies to work with globally."