Principal: Sam Singer, president
Office: San Francisco
San Francisco-based crisis, litigation, and public affairs specialist Singer Associates’ business picked up steam in 2014, with revenue increasing 31% over the year prior, when its revenue-growth rate was up by just 3% from 2012.
Last year’s revenue topped out at $6.7 million, and profit margin was 62%. Eighty percent of the firm’s growth was from existing clients, the remainder from new business. The agency listed energy, healthcare, and food and beverage as its top three performing verticals in 2014.
Chevron remains the firm’s keystone client. Singer took on new – and controversial – work last year, launching The Richmond Standard, an online local news website funded by the energy giant.
The corporate website got attention in media outlets from Forbes to The Guardian in the UK, not all positive. The Los Angeles Times claimed the Standard was just a propaganda organ for the oil company, with one column running under the headline, "A Chevron PR website pretends to be an objective news source."
Singer brushed off the criticism, saying: "The Richmond Standard has more readers than the columnist who wrote it."
"The critics don’t understand journalism," he jabs, noting that nearly every major media outlet in the US is or has been owned by a business. "Some major corporations have asked us about doing similar projects."
Other new business included expanding its work with Chevron on the West Contra Costa Unified School District. The agency was also brought on by Charles Schwab in 2014 for litigation-related communications, as well as Hack Reactor to assist with permit and regulatory issues in California.
More new clients from 2014 included healthcare system Daughters of Charity and the California Physicians Association. Singer claims no client losses last year.
Booming San Francisco market
Singer attributes his firm’s success in the past year partially to the booming San Francisco and Silicon Valley markets.
"In San Francisco, you can’t pick up your phone fast enough. The issue is really narrowing down what you want to work on," he explains. "The biggest challenge is finding qualified professionals. There’s more than enough business for every agency in the West right now, but can we find more professionals to handle it?"
The firm was named Small PR Agency of the Year at the 2015 PRWeek US Awards.
"Our agency is vibrant and has the best staff in its history, and we’re looking forward to continuing in a very competitive field in California," he says. "The winners in California and beyond will be the folks who have the most experience and the best staff."