Principals: Jeffrey Sharlach, CEO (pictured); Brian Burlingame, COO
Offices: Miami, New York, Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina
Revenue: Global: $9,658,256; US: $5,617,016
Headcount: Global: 107; US: 28
JeffreyGroup’s revenue grew 15% globally and 5% in the US in 2013, compared with the prior year. After the agency opened its Rio de Janeiro office last July, revenue for the firm in that area was up 22%, and in Mexico, the firm was up 50%. Additionally, the firm’s Latin American pan-regional operation based in Miami grew 26%.
"In Brazil and Mexico, you have seen an increase in middle-class population demographics equating to a lot more consumer spending," says CEO Jeffrey Sharlach. "A lot of companies are moving into these emerging markets or expanding their presence there."
In the other markets, 50% of JeffreyGroup’s work moved away from traditional media relations, and the firm focused more on digital, direct-to-consumer, and experiential communications efforts. Because of this, the firm is looking to recruit non-traditional hires to be well equipped for its new growth areas.
"In the US, it is difficult to compete with ad agencies, so we had to make a change to bring in talent with an advertising background," Sharlach adds.
That change came in the form of a spinoff of JeffreyGroup’s US Hispanic operations to launch a separate integrated communications and advertising agency called Pinta in January 2014. Mike Valdés-Fauli, who launched JeffreyGroup's US Hispanic practice when he joined in 2004, served as the firm’s president before moving to Pinta as CEO when it launched.
"All the JeffreyGroup US Hispanic clients transitioned into Pinta, so JeffreyGroup is now 100% focused on Latin America again, as we were for the first 11 years of our existence," says Sharlach of the 20-year-old firm.
Brian Burlingame, JeffreyGroup's COO, continues to manage the day-to-day operations of JeffreyGroup. In December, Theresa Rice, former MD at IGC and Burson-Marsteller Latin America, was selected as MD of JeffreyGroup Miami. As of January, she has led the firm's US management team.
Further senior hires at the agency included Joe Gutierrez as MD of New York, Mauricio Gutierrez as account director of Mexico City, and former Hill+Knowlton Strategies account director Sabrina Orlov as general director to lead the Rio de Janeiro office.
Practice areas that saw the most growth included its technology, healthcare, and consumer marketing divisions. And, last year, the firm expanded engagement with multinational clients including Bayer, Diageo, Johnson & Johnson, and Mozilla. It also won new assignments for brands looking to launch and expand in Latin America, including Amazon, Facebook, and Spotify.
"Facebook has been expanding in terms of advertising for business, so we aided the company to establish that part of its business in Latin America for the first time," Sharlach explains.
Account losses included Jose Cuervo, due to the brand dropping from the Diageo portfolio, and Americas Business Council, which went in a different direction in terms of its program, adds Sharlach.
In 2014, JeffreyGroup will recruit staffers who know how to access and interpret data-driven information to aid the firm’s strategic planning efforts. The firm will also integrate paid and earned media into more campaigns – a method Sharlach calls the "most effective" strategy for direct-to-audience communications.