PadillaCRT: PRWeek Global Agency Business Report 2016

PadillaCRT looked to reverse 2014's revenue decline with a high-single-digit increase last year.

Lynn Casey, CEO and chair, PadillaCRT
Lynn Casey, CEO and chair, PadillaCRT

Principal: Lynn Casey, CEO and chair
Offices: Los Angeles; New York; Norfolk, VA; Minneapolis; Richmond, VA; and Washington, DC
Revenue: $34,813,666

PadillaCRT looked to reverse 2014’s revenue decline with a high-single-digit increase last year.

"We were hoping to grow by a little over 7%, but we ended up doing just over 10%," says CEO and chair Lynn Casey. Revenue last year was just over $34.8 million.

The agency won more than a dozen pieces of business, which were responsible for 65% of revenue growth. They include Cognate Nutritionals, Original Farmers Market, LPL Financial in San Diego, University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Ecolab. The agency says its sole client loss was the Florida Sweet Corn Exchange.

The firm also made a concerted effort to win more business from existing clients by building out specialized capabilities, particularly social, digital, and creative groups. To this end, it hired several executives including Sean O’Brien, VP of technology innovation, who previously worked at McCann Minneapolis (formerly Mithun).

It also brought on Anastasia Lopez, VP of social media, who held the same position at Hill+Knowlton Strategies, and former Olson staffer Jennifer Iwanicki as VP of operations in its 25-person creative group.  

"We have a goal of bringing these newer services to a certain percentage of our existing clients in three years," says Casey. "We are ahead of target."

While the agency was happy with its top-line growth, its bottom line increase — 40% — was even more impressive. Casey attributes that to a reduction in expenses from Padilla Speer Beardsley’s acquisition of CRT/tanaka in September 2013. Patrice Tanaka, who founded CRT/tanaka and was chief counselor and creative strategist at PadillaCRT, departed the firm late last year to launch a career coaching company. SVP Janet Stacey and VP Amy Epstein also exited due to career changes.

More acquisitions planned
In November, PadillaCRT acquired Joe Smith Brand Consulting, a seven-member brand strategy consultancy whose executives had left Prophet two years earlier. That acquisition was aligned with one of PadillaCRT’s strategic growth pillars.

Casey says the firm may make more acquisitions in the areas of food and healthcare. The latter was its fastest-growing practice last year.

"Healthcare has changed to a much more consumer-directed marketplace, no matter what sector you’re in, be it payer, provider, medical tech or device manufacturer, or over the counter," she says. "There is a lot of activity all around."

The firm also put several initiatives in place to help with recruitment and retention. Staff turnover was 20%, and the firm added 20 employees last year, bringing its staff number to 205.

This profile was updated on May 4 to correct details about Padilla's acquisition of Joe Smith.

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