Levick Strategic Communications: Agency Business Report 2015

CEO Richard Levick says clients who have long known Levick Strategic Communications for its "fix-it" capabilities are staying for the full swath of services the firm has grown to offer.

CEO RIchard Levick
CEO RIchard Levick

Principal: Richard Levick, CEO
Ownership: Independent
Offices: Washington, DC; New York; Coral Gables, FL; and Chicago
Revenue: $17,231,618
Headcount: 64

CEO Richard Levick says clients who have long known Levick Strategic Communications for its "fix-it" capabilities are staying for the full swath of services the firm has grown to offer; no longer only reaching out during times of trouble.

Clients are working with the agency through "all three stages" of work: peacetime, the actual crisis, and re-emergence, he adds.

"They trust us to do larger, long-term work, which means bigger, long-term relationships," says Levick.

Overall, the CEO feels clients have become "bullish on the future," seeking out lengthy relationships with communications agencies once again. Levick recently opened an outpost in Chicago, where it is ramping up litigation crisis work, and has eyes on further expansion in California, Florida, and Texas, he says. Year over year, the firm grew 40.4% in 2014, partly due to acquisitions – with more than 70% of the growth attributable to new business.

The firm’s profit margin was 13.3% in 2014 compared to 18.1% in the prior year.

Former White House special counsel Lanny Davis and former Republican Congressman Connie Mack joined the firm as EVPs. Davis came on in March, after Levick acquired his and former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele’s strategy and public affairs firm, Purple Nation Solutions. Levick jump-started 2014 with its purchase of Dow Lohnes Government Strategies and named the firm’s president and partner, Rick Kessler, SVP as part of the deal. Michael Scrivner, another staffer at Dow Lohnes was also named SVP.

EVP Gene Grabowski left for kglobal last fall and SVP Leslie Wolf-Creutzfeldt departed the firm.

Client wins in the past year included Comcast NBCUniversal, Ocwen Financial, Texas Roadhouse, and Washington Gas. Levick also added the News Agency of Nigeria, signing a one-year, $1.2 million contract that began in June to support the Nigerian government through public affairs and communications counsel following the terrorist group Boko Haram’s kidnapping of at least 200 schoolgirls.

Accounts lost include Howard University, Kinross Gold, The Sugar Association, and Think Finance.

Battle for business
Levick compares the battle for business and accounts today to that of a political campaign race.

"Life now, more and more, is becoming like a campaign, just as senatorial campaigns have become like presidential campaigns in terms of their frequency, dollars, and the 24-7 nature," says Levick, who adds that "publicly traded company proxy fights have also become like campaigns."

Forecasting for the next 12 months, Levick notes that new senior hires and practice area investments show much promise for the firm. 

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