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 NameFoundedLeadershipRevenueEmplPrevious Year’s List
1.HL Group2001Hamilton South and Lynn Tesoro, founding partnersN/AN/AN/A
2.Rubenstein1953Howard Rubenstein, founder and chairman; Steven Rubenstein, presidentN/A1903
3.DKC1991Sean Cassidy, US CEO$51M2501
4.PMK*BNC2010Cindi Berger and Michael Nyman, co-chairmen/CEOS; Chris Robichaud, CEON/A300+8
5.Finsbury1994Michael Gross, CEON/A200+11
6.42West2004Leslee Dart, Amanda Lundberg, Allan Mayer, principal partnersN/A10013
7.Hiltzik Strategies2008Matthew Hiltzik, founder, president and CEON/A2216
8.Kekst and Company1970Jeremy Fielding, president and CEON/A707
9.Edelman1952Richard Edelman, president and CEO; Russell Dubner, president and CEO US$855M7805
10.The Magrino Agency1992Susan Magrino, chairman and CEO; Allyn Magrino, president and COON/AN/A48
11.M182010Michael Tavani and Meghan McGinnis, co-foundersN/AN/A28
12.Optimist Consulting2016Leslie LeCount, Paul Lerner, Scott Cooke, founding partnersN/AN/AN/A
13.Joele Frank2000Joele Frank, managing partner; Matthew Sherman, presidentN/A1106
14.Hill & Knowlton Strategies1927Beth Balsam, US CEON/AN/AN/A
15.Weber Shandwick2001Jack Leslie, chairman; Andy Polansky, CEO; Gail Heimann, presidentN/A4,0002
16.Brunswick Group1987Steven Lipin, senior partnerN/AN/A34
17.Alison Brod Marketing & Communications1995Alison Brod, founder and CEON/AN/A15
18.Havas PR1976Marian Salzman, CEON/AN/AN/A
19.Berman Group2006Sarah Berman, founder and presidentN/A479
20.Burson-Marsteller1953Donald Baer, worldwide chairman and CEO$400MN/A17
21.Global Strategy Group1995Jon Silvan, founding partner and CEO; Jefrey Pollock, founding partner and president$31M8614
22.Prosek Partners1991Jennifer Prosek, founder and CEO$30M10024
23.Ruder Finn1938Kathy Bloomgarden, CEO$73.8M56510
24.Sard Verbinnen1992George Sard, chairman and CEO; Paul Verbinnen, presidentN/A15019
25.Goldin Solutions2010Davidson Goldin, founderN/A1220
26.SKDKnickerbocker2004Josh Isay and Jennifer Cunningham, managing directorsN/A9521
2005Leadership: Valerie Berlin and Jonathan Rosen, principals and co-foundersN/AN/A4
28.APCO Worldwide1984founder and executive chairman; Nelson Fernandez, chairman North America and managing director New YorkN/AN/A45
29.5WPR2003Ronn Torossian, founder and CEO$25.2M14030
30.The Door2008Lois Najarian O’Neill, co-founder and president; Charlie Dougiello, co-founder and CEO$6.2M38N/A
31.Sunshine Sachs1991Ken Sunshine, Shawn Sachs, Heather Lylis, Keleigh Thomas Morgan, partnersN/A16229
32.Quinn PR1987Florence Quinn, founder and presidentN/A100N/A
33.PR Consulting1997Pierre Rougier, founder; Sylvie Picquet Damesme, NY partnerN/AN/A41
34.ID-PR1993Kelly Bush Novak, founder and CEON/A10032
35.Kwittken2006Aaron Kwittken, founder/CEO; Jason Schlossberg, chief creative officerN/A70N/A
36.N6A2010Matt Rizzetta, founder, president and CEON/AN/AN/A
37.Mode PR2008Amanda Carter, founder and presidentN/A7N/A
38.Cultural Counsel2015Adam Abdalla, founder and presidentN/A10N/A
39.Becca PR2006Becca Parrish, founderN/AN/A23
40.Nasty Little Man1992Steve Martin, founder and ownerN/AN/A36
41.DiGennaro Communications200Samantha DiGennaro, presidentN/AN/AN/A
42.Sharp Communications2000James Brodsky, presidentN/AN/AN/A
43.Marino1993Francis C. Marino, president and CEON/A4012
44.The Peggy Siegal Company1984Peggy Siegal, founderN/AN/A42
45.Nadine Johnson Inc.1995Nadine Johnson, presidentN/A50+27
46.KCD1984Ed Filipowski, worldwide president and chief strategist; Julie Mannion, president of creative servicesN/AN/A33
47.Kaplow Communications1991Liz Kaplow, president and CEON/A7518
48.NJF, an MMGY Company1987Nancy J. Friedman, founder and creative directorN/A50N/A
49.Nicholas & Lence Communications2007Cristyne Nicholas, CEO; George Lence, presidentN/A1438
50.Boneau/Bryan-Brown1991Chris Boneau and Adrian Bryan—Brown, co-foundersN/A1747