Polansky: Mid-single-digit growth for Interpublic PR firms in Q4

Interpublic's PR agencies include Weber Shandwick, Golin, DeVries, Current, and The Axis Agency.

Weber Shandwick CEO Andy Polansky
Weber Shandwick CEO Andy Polansky

NEW YORK: The PR firms within Interpublic Group’s Constituency Management Group posted organic growth in the mid-single-digit range in the fourth quarter and all of 2016, compared with the year prior, according to Weber Shandwick CEO Andy Polansky.

The PR firms in CMG include Weber Shandwick, Golin, DeVries, Current, and The Axis Agency.

Polansky added that Golin and DeVries are poised for a strong 2017. Golin’s momentum was fueled by the integration of Brooklyn Brothers and its acquisition of Magic Group in China, as well as new business wins. Current, meanwhile, saw double-digit growth on an organic basis for the quarter and the full year, Polansky said.

Weber posted organic growth for the quarter and all of 2016 in the mid-single-digit range on top of double-digit growth for Q4 2015 and full year 2015, he added.

"Weber’s performance in the quarter marks its 28th straight quarter of organic growth, covering a span of seven years," said Polansky. "Weber’s performance has been consistently strong."

He added that Weber saw strong growth in New York, Chicago, California, London, Africa, India, Singapore, and Japan. In terms of practice, healthcare and consumer marketing, along with digital, social, and content marketing, were significant growth-drivers.

"We’ve seen strong demand for corporate issues and public affairs support, given the significant geopolitical challenges around the world," he said, adding that the firm’s 2016 acquisitions of U.K. firm Flipside and healthcare specialist agency ReviveHealth boosted its strengths in those areas. He attributed more than two-thirds of Weber’s growth to existing clients.

"We had a strong year," said Polansky. "I am feeling cautiously optimistic about 2017, having spent time with our regional leadership around the world."

The organic growth by CMG’s PR firms contrasted the unit as a whole, which saw a 0.9% drop in organic revenue in the fourth quarter to $389.9 million. While the group contains the lion’s share of Interpublic’s PR firms, it also includes marketing specialist firms such as Jack Morton, FutureBrand, and Octagon. Meanwhile, much of Interpublic’s Integrated Agency Network is made up of creative firms such as McCann Worldgroup, FCB, and MullenLowe Group.

The holding company as a whole reported organic revenue increases of 5.3% in Q4 and 5% for the full year. It also posted net income of $336.9 million and $485.1 million in operating income in the fourth quarter, easily beating analysts’ expectations.

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