Kwittken: PRWeek Global Agency Business Report 2016

Entering its 10th year, Kwittken clocked double-digit growth in all three of its regions -- New York, Toronto, and London.

Aaron Kwittken, CEO and global chairman, Kwittken
Aaron Kwittken, CEO and global chairman, Kwittken

Principal: Aaron Kwittken, CEO and global chairman
Ownership: MDC Partners
Offices: New York, Toronto, and London
Revenue: Global: $9.8 million; U.S.: $7.5 million

Kwittken, which turns 10 this year, posted a revenue increase in 2015 of just more than 12% globally and 11% in the U.S. All three of the firm’s regions — New York, Toronto, and London — experienced double-digit growth.

Aaron Kwittken, the firm’s CEO and global chairman, says 85% of growth came from new business, including Amway, Deloitte, Pantone, and Wyndham Rewards; 75% of its clients are on a retainer.

Kwittken lost Proctor & Gamble’s SK-II skincare product line, for which it handled social media for three years. "SK-II brought all its social media in-house and managed it out of Singapore," notes Kwittken.

Last year Kwittken created a special situations group to formalize its issues and crisis management capability; and launched an integrated healthcare agency with parent company MDC Partners called Antidote 360.

Top service offerings included corporate reputation and brand management; PR; digital and social media; and content marketing. The CEO says Kwittken’s consumer lifestyle work is poised to account for half of its revenue this year.

Sam Bowen, MD London, led the office to 17% growth. He also managed an office move to co-habit with sister agency CP+B. Kwittken notes that the firm’s remit for American Express in the U.K. has been "growing at a rapid pace."

Key 2015 hires included Shanee Goss, New York MD; Betsy Cooper, Toronto MD; and Jay Gallwitz, global finance director. Melissa Ferrara was also brought on as director of people and culture to lead recruitment and professional development. In June 2015 the agency tapped ?Adam Snyder, formerly at Burson-Marsteller, as its first chief digital officer?.

Separation from KBS
Last summer Kwittken began the process of separating from sister firm KBS — which was finalized this January, though it remains part of MDC.

"KBS did a great job incubating us to become more socially and digitally driven, so we started to compete with each other on certain assignments — especially when it comes to content marketing," Kwittken explains.

The firm is focused on training and retaining staffers — last year staff turnover was 17% globally and a high 23% in the U.S.

An office opening in San Francisco is possible this year since the firm is racking up clients there and global clients want the firm to have a physical presence in the "epicenter of the tech universe."

"Our goal is to grow our top line by another 15% to 20% and to continue to go after global assignments," says Kwittken.

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