Edelman revenues rise by double digits in 2013/14 financial year

Global revenues at the world's largest PR firm hit $776.5 million, with Europe, Asia, and Latin America performing particularly well.

Edelman's global leadership team at the agency's 2014 Leadership Meeting in New York last month
Edelman's global leadership team at the agency's 2014 Leadership Meeting in New York last month

NEW YORK: Edelman posted global organic growth of 10.3% in its latest financial year, with revenues rising from $707.2 million to $776.5 million.

While still in double digits, the firm’s growth is down slightly on its previous financial year – 2012-13 – when it grew 11.6%. The world’s largest PR firm’s financial year runs from July 1 to June 30. The organic growth figure allows for the impact of currency fluctuations and acquisitions.

US revenue was up 7.8% organically year over year in 2013-14, from $429.9 million to $463.5 million, down from 9.7% growth in the previous 12 months. The New York office was up 18% year over year.

In comparison, Edelman’s global revenue grew 11.4% organically to just more than $740 million in the calendar year 2013, according to figures reported in PRWeek’s Agency Business Report. US revenue was up 10.9% year over year to $450.3 million during the same period.

Agency president and CEO Richard Edelman attributed the fastest growth in the financial year to digital and healthcare, highlighting increased work for Kellogg and Samsung in the former category, and Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, and SC Johnson in the latter.

As well as benefiting from activating big global campaigns on social from brands such as Unilever and Samsung, Edelman highlighted instances where the agency came up with the big idea as well as handling social and digital activation, such as its work for Starbucks on Teavana Tea, Axe and #KissForPeace, and Lung Force for the American Lung Association.

"We’re pleased with double-digit growth, which was driven by our multinational clients and marketing-focused work," said Edelman. "We did especially well where we’re pioneering. We’re a leader in social and digital and we now run 700 communities for our clients on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram."

Europe grew 9% from $130.6 million to $148.8 million; APACMEA (Asia-Pacific, Middle East, and Africa) was up 21.4% from $95.7 to $111.3 million; and Latin America was up 27.7% from $19.6 million to $22.4 million – again, all taking into account currency fluctuations.

Revenues in Canada slipped slightly, from $31.4 million to $31.1 million, largely due to the loss of the multimillion dollar Blackberry account.

Globally, Edelman is extending its remit from just working with multinationals in global markets to also picking up local clients, and also communicating for global corporations in the US and elsewhere. Edelman cited Brasil Foods, which has become a $1 million client, and Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceutical as prime examples of this trend.

Edelman also added that the agency is getting a lot more work with universities, citing crisis work for the University of North Carolina and Dartmouth College, and social purpose work with the likes of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and wealthy individuals such as Jeff Bezos, Paul Allen, Sean Parker, and Tony Elumelu.

In terms of practice areas, public affairs shrank in the period, and technology, where Edelman has undergone significant senior personnel upheaval in the past 18 months, didn’t grow.

There were no acquisitions in the period, although Edelman just acquired 20-strong Stockholm-based creative shop Deportivo. Edelman ruled out future acquisitions in the US, explaining "we are at scale here."

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