Principal: Aaron Kwittken, CEO
Ownership: MDC Partners (part of KBS+)
Offices: New York and London
Revenue: Global: $8.4 million; US: $6.4 million
Headcount: Global: 55; US: 40
Last year, CEO Aaron Kwittken said one of his main objectives for the agency going forward was to continue building out the consumer practice.
"So far, I’m happy to say we’re on the right track," he explains.
In 2013, the firm posted a 10% increase in revenue in the US, while the UK contracted a bit. Overall, global revenue was down 1%. Profit margin was 25%. Kwittken says the London office is "still strong and doing well," but experienced a slowdown due to the loss of its SAS client, as well as economic factors in Europe.
A major goal for the firm is to garner half of its revenue from consumer lifestyle work by the end of 2015. Consumer lifestyle comprised up to 30% of revenue in 2012, up to 40% in 2013. The agency hired former Edelman staffer Stephanie Fogle last September as the first MD of its consumer and lifestyle practice.
The firm was awarded work for a number of consumer brands in 2013 and early 2014, such as Sharp Electronics, Procter & Gamble’s Prestige SK-II, and Simmons mattresses, the latter as integrated AOR with parent company KBS+.
Other wins include Dauria Aerospace and Windstream in 2013, as well as work for Target. Healthcare and financial services work related to technology remained strong, and social content and experiential reported significant increases, particularly with American Express, P&G, and Target. In April of this year, the firm won work with Fresh Direct. It stopped working with Constellation Energy and IntraLinks.
Critical growth stage
In addition to bringing on Fogle, Kwittken placed a heavy emphasis on talent development and recruitment.
"We were at a critical stage of growth where we needed to fortify our processes, as well as our culture code," he explains.
The agency is looking to bring on about eight staffers in the US, and an MD in the UK. Karen Marotta, MD, left last year. As the lines continue to blur between paid, earned, shared, and owned, competition is getting more diverse. Kwittken says the firm has been pitching against branding, digital, and research companies, making it question how to describe its work.
"We are still including [PR], but not leading with it," he explains.