Principal: Elise Mitchell, CEO
Offices: Fayetteville, AR; New York; and Chicago
Revenue: $15 million
For Mitchell Communications Group, 2013 was a year to focus on investment in staff-training programs and developing in-house technologies, as well as on geographic expansion. The agency experienced top- and bottom-line growth in 2013 as revenue climbed 6.4%.
In 2013, the company spearheaded the development of a new PR offering for parent agency Dentsu Aegis Network. A key focus was to grow the Mitchell Communications Group brand and, in June, the agency opened new offices in New York and Chicago.
Key hires in the New York office included former Ketchum executive Brett Carrey, who was named SVP and GM, along with VP of digital and social strategy, Tracy Shea. Sarah Larsen, a former Ogilvy SVP, will lead the Chicago office as SVP and GM. Brent Gambill joined in April as senior director of digital and social media. However, staff turnover at the agency jumped from 1.3% in 2012 to 13.9% in 2013.
To facilitate growth, the firm expanded not only its offices, but also its content marketing services. Last year also saw investment in the agency’s in-house video production technology, motion graphics, and editing equipment. According to CEO Elise Mitchell, the team produced 225 video and photo projects in 2013. She predicts that "visuals will continue to trump words and dominate content" this year.
The firm added a handful of new clients last year including Kraft Lunchables, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, and Dannon. There were no client losses, according to the CEO.
In 2013, the firm implemented its Making InRoads program, which focuses on customizing campaigns by building relationships on a local and hyper-local level. It is gaining traction with clients that want to connect with consumers in a customized, yet scalable manner, says Mitchell.
The agency also launched the Full Throttle talent development program, which offers training and development opportunities for staff members.
"It is a true differentiator for attracting, developing, and retaining talent," she adds.
Mitchell acknowledges a challenge for 2014 will be hiring more non-traditional PR talent with specialized expertise in digital, social, and analytics.