Updates on Porter Novelli Being Fired, Edelman’s Race For A Billion Dollars & More…

Porter Novelli PR

Edelman 2015 Revenues up 7.2% Hitting an all-time high of $855 Million

2015 was a good year for Edelman, not their best ever, but a good one all the same. They acquired four firms due to a strong U.S. dollar compared to other markets around the world. They added Smithfield in the U.K., Ergo in Germany, Dabo & Co. in Dubai, and Position in Colombia. Making a growth in size and numbers of 5.2% for the year. And then, of course, the revenue growth at 7.2%. It didn’t quite match their 8.8% revenue growth in 2014, but close.

The firm saw strides in the U.S. (7.1%), Europe (6.3%), Asia-Pacific, Africa, and the Middle East (11.9%), and Latin America (9.6%). However, Canada business was down for the firm (-6%). Company-wide they added nearly 400 employees, with the digital sector being their fastest growing and attributing 22% of the company’s revenue. Corporate revenues remain stable at 30%. All of this means that Edelman remains likely to be the first PR firm to hit $1 billion in revenues.

Though Edelman has been in an acquisition mode for the last couple of years, they say they’ll probably spend 2016 bringing all the new firms tighter into the company and add new employees rather than companies if they need more depth of skills in an area.

What did Porter Novelli do for Indiana and Religious Freedom Restoration Act?

There was a conflagration in Indiana in 2015 about the RFRA – the State initially hired Porter Novelli for PR, but then terminated them abruptly only half-way through the contract period. IndyStar requested copies of the paperwork done by PN for the state and eventually received 1,100 pages of records though the pages were redacted extensively and 50 documents were not given because of confidential, proprietary information. Unfortunately, even with all that paperwork, IndyStar wasn’t able to find much about what had been done by the PR firm for their $365,000 fee or why the contract ended ahead of schedule.

Crisis monitoring “Radar” deployed for Indiana by PN.

While PN was on the case, they provided daily reports (IEDC Radar) tracking print, social media, and broadcast media for analysis and crisis management. An early report from April 15 said, “Traditional media remains neutral to negative in tone as attention has shifted to the price tag of the PR campaign. A number of opinion writers and LGBT community leaders believe spending $2 million in taxpayer money is unnecessary, and that the state should instead pass nondiscrimination laws.”

Indiana asked PN to include any other comments found regarding the State and their currently running tourism and other PR campaigns, wanting them included in the daily reports as well. PN did so, although early on, there was very little found on anything other than the backlash and widespread claims of discrimination against members of the LGBT community.

But the PR crisis faced by the state soon turned as protestors wondered why they were spending so much on a PR firm instead of simply changing the law to rectify the situation. That extensive push may be the reason PN was fired.

Olson’s Minneapolis ad agency expanding global reach with consolidation of ICF International

ICF International, parent company of Olson and Olson Engage – the ad company and the PR company – is merging the two, as well as a few other agencies it has acquired, into a new full-service entity, ICF Olson.

Margaret Murphy, CEO and President of Olson, said, “We’re thrilled about it because it allows us to take the business to a global level and also offer new and different capabilities that we didn’t have prior to this in an easy structure.”

ICF, a consulting firm based in Virginia acquired Olson in 2014. More recently ICF acquired other companies, including Ironworks Consulting (a Virginia web development firm), and Citytech (a Chicago digital interactive consultancy). These two and other recent acquisitions will also be folded into the new ICF Olson. The new company will employ more than 800 people in 14 offices located in India, Canada, and the U.S.

ID PR Adds Sam Smith’s Publicist, Juliana Plotkin

Former VP of publicity at Capital Records, Juliana Plotkin joined ID PR, finding a home in the music department headed by Allison Elbl. Last week she enjoyed the fruits of her labors celebrating a victorious Oscar night with client Sam Smith, who she originally started working with while at Universal Music Group label. She left Universal in early January.

Sam’s Academy Award came for his best original song for the latest in the Bond shows, Spectre,  “Writing’s On the Wall.” The song was written with Jimmy Napes. But Sam also has a Golden Globe Award, four Grammy Awards, and an American Music Award. He’s had the opportunity to work with singers such as Ne-Yo, Mary J. Blige, Bob Seger, Disclosure, and 5 Seconds of Summer.

Plotkin has also worked at DreamWorks Records, The Chamber Group, and Shore Fire Media, as well as a boutique firm she founded called Ink Tank where she represented Silversun Pickups, Juliette Lewis, and Carson Daly, among others.

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