Citizen Relations: Agency Business Report 2015

Citizen Relations finished 2014 with global revenue growth of 5%, while US figures also increased by the same figure.

Chairman and CEO Daryl McCullough
Chairman and CEO Daryl McCullough

Principal: Daryl McCullough, chairman and CEO
Ownership: Vision7 International; BlueFocus International (North American assets)
Offices: Global: 9; US: 3
Global: $28,588,137; US: $16,345,431
Headcount: Global: 142; US: 67
Note: Citizen's 2013 revenue figures were reported in Canadian figures

Citizen Relations finished 2014 with global revenue growth of 5%, while US figures also increased by the same figure. The firm’s chairman and CEO Daryl McCullough says he "won’t be overly dramatic about saying 2014 was great," but the agency delivered on the growth it planned and has been fighting above its class in pitches.

Citizen expanded its existing Canadian relationships with Travelocity and Rocky Mountaineer to the US last year – winning the former from Edelman – and picked up sustainable energy companies Sungevity and NRG in the US. In Canada, the firm won work with Kraft Foods, Emirates Airlines, Disney, McArthur Glen, and Cirque du Soleil. And in the UK, the agency brought on Gourmet Burger Kitchen and Bacardi.

The firm exited the government education category last year to focus on corporate and consumer clients in the US. As a result, Citizen ended work with the California Mental Health Services Administration and the Network for Healthy California. The agency also lost work with Pulse, maker of the "guybrator," which shifted the global account to Manifest last March.

In the coming year, McCullough hopes to see the agency’s food and beverage sector expand, including work for quick-service restaurants, spirits, consumables, organics, and healthier alternatives.

Joe Sinclair, creative director, left, as did Misha Dhanak, MD of Citizen UK, after less than a year in the role. Mark Cater was brought on to replace her. The firm is planning to add talent this year, but specifically in the US and Canada for specialty disciplines, including strategic planning, digital innovation, and experiential events.

Leveraging BlueFocus’ network
One of Citizen’s goals last year was to grow in Asia and EMEA, and in Q2, the firm will open an office in Hong Kong. The agency also plans to leverage the Asia network of new owner BlueFocus to expand its footprint in the region. The Beijing-based organization acquired a majority stake in Citizen parent company Vision7 in mid-December.

Citizen’s strategy is to have four global hubs – North America, the UK to serve EMEA, Latin America, and Hong Kong to serve Asia-Pacific.

"It’s the most streamlined approach for clients," adds McCullough. "Instead of having 60 offices on a phone call or an email chain, we have four leaders."

The hubs, overseen by McCullough, are led by Chris Chamberlin, GM of US operations; Nick Cowling, GM of Canada operations; and Cater, MD of EMEA. Cynthia Rude, global COO, ensures culture and service offerings remain consistent across offices. The MD of Asia-Pacific, based in Hong Kong, will be named in Q2 2015. 

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