Principals: Grace Leong, managing partner; Jason Winocour, partner; Jonathan Lyon, partner
Office: New York
Hunter PR had even more reason to celebrate its 25th anniversary this March, as 2013 was the best year in the firm’s history.
Revenue growth of 26.5% exceeded expectations and surpassed the 21% rise it enjoyed the prior year. A key driver of this came from organic growth, as Hunter’s marquee clients, which include McIlhenny Co. (makers of Tabasco sauce), Kraft, and E. & J. Gallo increased demand for services in social media, digital, and the emerging Hispanic strategies and solutions team.
According to managing partner Grace Leong, the agency’s Hispanic group has been "going gangbusters."
"Clients have taken advantage of our service, which allows them to reach an important market," she adds. Leong says the firm plans to expand this offering in 2014.
As a specialist in the food and beverage sector, Hunter has not been impacted by wider economic conditions, she adds.
The firm also recently won the AOR account for education company Sylvan Learning. While the task is its first piece in the vertical, Hunter’s deep knowledge of the "digital mom" helped it win the pitch. This audience expertise has also helped the firm grow its healthcare business by 16%.
Another key win was restaurant chain Outback Steakhouse, which named Hunter its AOR last December. The victory offset the loss of the Arby’s account.
Selective new business policy
Leong says Hunter is very selective about new business and turns down a lot of RFPs.
"We want to work with clients that are looking for a long-term relationship and that want to be in good company with peers so we can share best practice," she says. "We are not interested in transactional work. We are all about deep expertise."
The agency also saw bottom-line growth through the renegotiation of contracts with vendors and leasing agreements, as it opened a larger Manhattan office space in June 2013. Staff turnover was 15%. SVP Joanne Freed departed the firm.
Retaining staff and keeping them engaged is a major challenge for the agency and the industry as a whole, Leong explains.
"PR is a challenging job that is getting tougher," she adds. "Some younger staffers do not have the stamina. We have to plot against Millennials’ different values and build opportunities to keep up with their entrepreneurial spirit, creativity, and drive."