The group, which includes London’s Talk PR and Nike Communications of New York, said the growth followed both local and global account wins.
New clients include Pernod Ricard (global, Talk PR), Dyson (local, Approach of Brazil), Mercedes Benz (regional, Mojo PR of the Middle East and the Levant), and Residential by Land Securities (global, Talk PR and local, Talk PR, RSVP in Singapore and Flare Communications in Hong Kong).
Growth was strongest in the ‘new world’, with its agencies in Russia, India, the Middle East and Australia having the highest growth rates at 44, 24, 20 and 20 per cent respectively.
Growth in the more mature European market was slower, at nine percent, although Sermo pointed to a notable exception of Italy’s Negri Firman PR & Communication, which reported 28 per cent growth.
Sermo said its agencies are diversifying into healthcare and technology, with account wins such as Spanish agency Nota Bene working with cosmetic dental treatment provider Invisalign. Dedicated digital and social media practices now account for 13 per cent of total fee income, second only to consumer PR (78 per cent).
Tanya Hughes, president of Sermo, said: "Sermo’s partners are all leaders in their markets and it’s testament to the power of the Sermo model, built on relationships not ownership, that the network saw such strong growth last year. Our shared investment in, and commitment to, nurturing great talent, inspiring creativity, and helping each other to develop our offers and improve client service, will continue to pay dividends and lead to further growth this year.’’
Sermo plans to launch three initiatives this year: the Sermo Blogger Index, the Sermo Globes and the Sermo Academy.
The group has offices in 18 cities across 15 countries, with 490 employees.