Polansky: IPG PR firms score mid-single-digit revenue growth in Q1

Weber Shandwick's CEO said his agency, Rogers & Cowan and Current Global performed particularly well in the quarter.

NEW YORK: The PR firms within Interpublic Group’s Constituency Management Group registered mid-single-digit organic growth in Q1, Weber Shandwick CEO Andy Polansky said on Friday.

The PR agencies also saw low-single-digit growth on an as-reported basis in Q1, he said. CMG’s PR firms include Weber, Golin, Rogers & Cowan, DeVries Global and Current Global. The unit also includes marketing specialist agencies such as Jack Morton, FutureBrand, and Octagon. Interpublic’s Integrated Agency Network largely consists of creative networks such as McCann Worldgroup, FCB and MullenLowe Group.

"The PR agencies within CMG had a strong Q1 2019," said Polansky. "As a group, we continue to register strong growth relative to our competitors."

Weber, Current, R&C and specialty healthcare units including ReviveHealth and DNA Communications saw particularly strong growth, he added. "Golin picked up important wins in the quarter around the world, which will position them for another strong year," Polansky said.

As a whole, CMG posted an organic revenue increase of 1.9% in Q1 to $293.6 million.

Weber had mid-single-digit growth on an as-reported basis and high-single-digit growth on an organic basis in Q1.

"Performance in the quarter reflected Weber’s continuing growth and momentum as the business returned to strong organic growth in the back half of last year," said Polansky. "We continue to see vibrancy in our North America and Europe operations and from a global perspective had 19 operations register double-digit organic growth in the quarter."

The firm saw "considerable growth" in its healthcare and technology practices. It is developing its data and analytics capabilities, which are having a "transformative effect" on the firm’s offerings and client campaigns, he added.  

"We had significant wins last year that created tailwinds for us heading into this year," Polansky said.

In Q1, Weber won accounts including Kellogg, as well as Buick and GMC.

"We are cautiously optimistic looking ahead," he said. "The tone of the business seems strong around the world."

For the entire holding company, IPG posted organic revenue growth of 6.4% in Q1 to $2 billion. The U.S. saw a net organic increase of 5.7%, while international growth was 7.7%. The company saw a net loss of $9.5 million, compared with a net loss of $16.1 million in Q1 2018. The holding company beat analysts’ expectations.

On IPG’s earnings call, Roth emphasized the importance of its individual brands.

"When we say we are a client-centric holding company, it means we support and invest in our agency brands, and put collaboration at our core," he said. "This focus has meant we remain vital in new business, we drive high levels of industry recognition and we are able to attract and retain talent who want to develop their careers with us."

Roth added that the "best creative ideas come from strong agency brands."

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