Observer’s PR Power 50 Firms for 2016 and Insights for the Future

Observer’s PR Power 50 Firms for 2016 and Insights for the Future

At the bottom of this article is a chart created from the list of 2016’s Top U.S. PR firms according to The Observer. The chart lists the basic statistics of each of the agencies. But there are also some of the thoughts and observations that were listed in the article for you to ponder.

In 2015 there was an obvious overlap happening between PR, social media, advertising, and the like. That increased in 2016 and will probably fully merge over the next couple of years allowing traditional PR and advertising firms to offer both to their client base and do so efficiently. Now it’s less about companies and more about the people overseeing the work for clients. It may also be about who understands niche markets better so that agencies representing one or two sectors primarily will start getting more of their work, whether it be advertising, digital or public relations work for those markets.

Because of that, many agencies have stopped calling themselves PR firms or advertising firms, they talk more about communications, content and media providers and distributors instead. Florence Quinn, founder of the travel and lifestyle powerhouse, Quinn, said: “We create strong ideas that resonate with people and the media. This is incredibly exciting because there are a gajillion ways to produce content and even more ways to distribute it. The line between earned and paid media has been crossed forever; there is no going back.”

Shawn Sachs, CEO of Sunshine Sachs, who represents A-list celebs, blue-chip nonprofits, and global corporations described the radical transformation, saying: “We’ve got 35 people who don’t do traditional communications,” said, the firm’s CEO. “That’s pretty significant for a firm with about 160 people. We hired our second art director this year. If you’d said that 10 years ago, people would have thought you were crazy. In the broadest sense, we’re a communications company. But we’re also an advertising company, a marketing company, a digital company, an events company, an idea company. We’re a lot of things.” That’s not to say that traditional PR doesn’t still have a place, earned media is still a much better way of attracting customers for a client than advertising, in fact, according to Andy Polansky, Weber Shandwick’s CEO, it’s “absolutely critical.”

The Observer said that in choosing the list and assigning placement it didn’t make choices according to size of the agency or their revenues. Instead, it looked at more subjective factors such as momentum, new Superstar hires, how they handled crisis situations for clients, and the firms’ responses to questions from the Observer.

Firm Name Founded Leadership Revenue Empl Previous Year’s List
1. HL Group 2001 Hamilton South and Lynn Tesoro, founding partners N/A N/A N/A
2. Rubenstein 1953 Howard Rubenstein, founder and chairman; Steven Rubenstein, president N/A 190 3
3. DKC 1991 Sean Cassidy, US CEO $51M 250 1
4. PMK*BNC 2010 Cindi Berger and Michael Nyman, co-chairmen/CEOS; Chris Robichaud, CEO N/A 300+ 8
5. Finsbury 1994 Michael Gross, CEO N/A 200+ 11
6. 42West 2004 Leslee Dart, Amanda Lundberg, Allan Mayer, principal partners N/A 100 13
7. Hiltzik Strategies 2008 Matthew Hiltzik, founder, president and CEO N/A 22 16
8. Kekst and Company 1970 Jeremy Fielding, president and CEO N/A 70 7
9. Edelman 1952 Richard Edelman, president and CEO; Russell Dubner, president and CEO US $855M 780 5
10. The Magrino Agency 1992 Susan Magrino, chairman and CEO; Allyn Magrino, president and COO N/A N/A 48
11. M18 2010 Michael Tavani and Meghan McGinnis, co-founders N/A N/A 28
12. Optimist Consulting 2016 Leslie LeCount, Paul Lerner, Scott Cooke, founding partners N/A N/A N/A
13. Joele Frank 2000 Joele Frank, managing partner; Matthew Sherman, president N/A 110 6
14. Hill & Knowlton Strategies 1927 Beth Balsam, US CEO N/A N/A N/A
15. Weber Shandwick 2001 Jack Leslie, chairman; Andy Polansky, CEO; Gail Heimann, president N/A 4,000 2
16. Brunswick Group 1987 Steven Lipin, senior partner N/A N/A 34
17. Alison Brod Marketing & Communications 1995 Alison Brod, founder and CEO N/A N/A 15
18. Havas PR 1976 Marian Salzman, CEO N/A N/A N/A
19. Berman Group 2006 Sarah Berman, founder and president N/A 47 9
20. Burson-Marsteller 1953 Donald Baer, worldwide chairman and CEO $400M N/A 17
21. Global Strategy Group 1995 Jon Silvan, founding partner and CEO; Jefrey Pollock, founding partner and president $31M 86 14
22. Prosek Partners 1991 Jennifer Prosek, founder and CEO $30M 100 24
23. Ruder Finn 1938 Kathy Bloomgarden, CEO $73.8M 565 10
24. Sard Verbinnen 1992 George Sard, chairman and CEO; Paul Verbinnen, president N/A 150 19
25. Goldin Solutions 2010 Davidson Goldin, founder N/A 12 20
26. SKDKnickerbocker 2004 Josh Isay and Jennifer Cunningham, managing directors N/A 95 21
27.
BerlinRosen
2005 Leadership: Valerie Berlin and Jonathan Rosen, principals and co-founders N/A N/A 4
28. APCO Worldwide 1984 founder and executive chairman; Nelson Fernandez, chairman North America and managing director New York N/A N/A 45
29. 5WPR 2003 Ronn Torossian, founder and CEO $25.2M 140 30
30. The Door 2008 Lois Najarian O’Neill, co-founder and president; Charlie Dougiello, co-founder and CEO $6.2M 38 N/A
31. Sunshine Sachs 1991 Ken Sunshine, Shawn Sachs, Heather Lylis, Keleigh Thomas Morgan, partners N/A 162 29
32. Quinn PR 1987 Florence Quinn, founder and president N/A 100 N/A
33. PR Consulting 1997 Pierre Rougier, founder; Sylvie Picquet Damesme, NY partner N/A N/A 41
34. ID-PR 1993 Kelly Bush Novak, founder and CEO N/A 100 32
35. Kwittken 2006 Aaron Kwittken, founder/CEO; Jason Schlossberg, chief creative officer N/A 70 N/A
36. N6A 2010 Matt Rizzetta, founder, president and CEO N/A N/A N/A
37. Mode PR 2008 Amanda Carter, founder and president N/A 7 N/A
38. Cultural Counsel 2015 Adam Abdalla, founder and president N/A 10 N/A
39. Becca PR 2006 Becca Parrish, founder N/A N/A 23
40. Nasty Little Man 1992 Steve Martin, founder and owner N/A N/A 36
41. DiGennaro Communications 200 Samantha DiGennaro, president N/A N/A N/A
42. Sharp Communications 2000 James Brodsky, president N/A N/A N/A
43. Marino 1993 Francis C. Marino, president and CEO N/A 40 12
44. The Peggy Siegal Company 1984 Peggy Siegal, founder N/A N/A 42
45. Nadine Johnson Inc. 1995 Nadine Johnson, president N/A 50+ 27
46. KCD 1984 Ed Filipowski, worldwide president and chief strategist; Julie Mannion, president of creative services N/A N/A 33
47. Kaplow Communications 1991 Liz Kaplow, president and CEO N/A 75 18
48. NJF, an MMGY Company 1987 Nancy J. Friedman, founder and creative director N/A 50 N/A
49. Nicholas & Lence Communications 2007 Cristyne Nicholas, CEO; George Lence, president N/A 14 38
50. Boneau/Bryan-Brown 1991 Chris Boneau and Adrian Bryan—Brown, co-founders N/A 17 47

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