Technology PR Agencies of the Year, North America 2015 | Holmes Report

2015 North America Technology Agencies of the Year

Our 2015 North America PR Agencies of the Year are the result of an exhaustive research process involving more than 150 submissions and 50 face-to-face meetings with the best PR firms across the US and Canada.

Analysis of each of the Agencies of the Year and Finalists for each category can be accessed via the navigation menu to the right or here.

Technology Agency of the Year — Eastwick (Independent)

Eastwick’s reinvigorated business has not only shown sustained growth but is also positioned for long-term success.       

Founded in 1991, Eastwick was among the firms that established modern technology PR on the West Coast. Over the next 25 years, Eastwick underwent some significant changes including the departure of two co-founders. CEO Barbara Bates, however, persevered by pushing the agency back onto the forefront of tech PR by diversifying the business and making strategic marketing technology investments. Eastwick also joined Axicom to bid for more global work.      

Revenues were up 24% to just over $10m in 2014 and headcount spiked from 26 employees in two offices to 58 people across three offices spanning two coasts. Clients include established companies amid upheaval — BMC Software and Unify, as well as companies making waves in their sector:, Schneider Electric, Salesforce, Facebook, Ooyala and Neustar.

Clients are serviced with well-built offerings across content marketing; digital media and strategy; creative services; research and analytics; and its core strategic communications.  

Eastwick’s work stands out in the media relations-dominated tech PR field. For Unify, Eastwick took on a global remit to lead the global communications strategy, social media, customer marketing programs and content marketing around its rebrand. Its efforts resulted in more than 250k website visitors, 38 million Twitter impressions and 111 unique articles. The 20-year-old Webtrends came to Eastwick as an outdated analytics company. Through an aggressive media relations, analyst engagement and content program, Webtrends reversed its reputation.

Ultimately what’s kept the 25-year-old agency from growing stale is — not only Bates’ vision — but also the willingness to reinvest in the business. EVP and GM Heather Kernahan joined in 2013 to helm a solid leadership bench and the firm continues to seek creative programs to better itself. For instance, its CMO-in-residence initiative adds more depth to agency strategy and brings together the CMOs with clients looking for such consulting.

The combination of strong leadership, the willingness to change and the maturity to take on heavier assignments puts Eastwick in the sweet spot of a being technology firm that’s both innovative and experienced.— AaS


Blanc & Otus (WPP)

In the technology category, 2015 was a year of comebacks — PR brands that seemed to have their glory days behind them came charging back with renewed vigor but also a certain wisdom from weathering several boom and busts. Among these, the 30-year-old Blanc & Otus has sprung back into relevance under the leadership of CEO Josh Reynolds (who joined from sister agency Hill + Knowlton last year).

It’s Reynolds’ macro-thinking and methodological approach to storytelling that has shined through. The new culture is one of “change agents that help up-and-coming companies challenge the incumbents in their space” — notable considering the firm’s legacy includes Oracle, HP and Sybase.  

But like any sound agency, B&O’s client portfolio is diverse mix of the established and the emerging: Covisint, Hootsuite, Oracle, Polycom, Xactly, the Internet of Things Consortium, ThinFilm and Intelligent Energy. Revenues are up 24.5% — taking into account the budget cuts and losses from its recovery — and the headcount is up to 34, mostly in San Francisco but also Boston and New York.

This cuts across the core areas of tech PR: deep analyst relations; hype cycle analysis that helps tech companies be heard; audience blueprinting and conversation mapping; and a storytelling model crafted on Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey.

B&O worked with Oracle to create a brand personality — Modern Mark, a cartoon who represents the marketer’s journey and broke through the conversations that were dominated by Salesforce, IBM and Adobe. Ultimately, B&O developed a cohesive story around the Oracle Marketing Cloud with impressive results that are too numerous to name here. — AaS

The Hoffman Agency (Independent)

Like the others on this list, the Hoffman Agency survived several technology boom and bust cycles. But Hoffman perhaps came closest to the brink as an independent that had lost its way in the US. After hitting a low-point in 2012, founder Lou Hoffman made a decision to overhaul US operations by handing over control to new hire Steve Burkhart, allowing Hoffman to return to big-picture thinking as global CEO.

The efforts have paid off — the work that Hoffman does is among the most sophisticated and creative in the tech sector, especially considering its size. Since the reorganization in Q2 2012, growth has been steady. In 2014, revenue grew by 31% to $4.9m with healthy profitability.

Clients — among them Nautilus, City of Freemont, Endicia, Alcatel-Lucent — benefit from Hoffman’s smart approach to storytelling that takes into account that business communications doesn’t often allow for a full blown start, a middle and end. The firm also hasn’t been afraid to dive into the mechanics of search engine optimization — which it does through both quality content and technical rigor.

This comes through in the work. For Endicia, Hoffman developed a blog and was able to substantially extend its reach via a customized SEO program — showcasing both its content and SEO chops. A creative campaign for Alcatel-Lucent capitalized on the 50th anniversary of the Big Bang theory discovered by Bell Labs (part of Alcatel-Lucent), helping to rebound and rebuild the brand around innovation. — AaS

Racepoint Global (Independent)

Started 12 years ago, Racepoint has — somewhat quietly — become a heavy hitter on tech PR scene that is delivering on the promise of integrated work. Since integrating with sister agency DIG, Racepoint has reinvigorated the firm’s core offerings and areas of expertise.    

In 2014, fee income was $27.3m showing 14% topline growth. Under the leadership of chairman/CEO Larry Weber, president Pete Prodromou and US head Dan Carter, Racepoint added significant enterprise engagements in 2014. Among its clients: ARM, IBM, New Balance, Dassault Systems, Tyco, Samsung and Rambus.

Racepoint’s forward-thinking has resulted in notable IP such as FieldFacts, a software designed to facilitate relationship development by tracking social and real-life footprints for three separate modules: one for influencer engagement, sales and advocacy.

When it comes to the work, Racepoint’s results stand out. Samsung brought Racepoint on to build suspense around the launch of its digital health initiative — within a two month turnaround. Not only was Racepoint able to raise intrigue in the media, the firm hosted a large scale event around the launch in San Francisco. For the Michigan Economic Develop Corporation, Racepoint brought to the forefront the technology, entrepreneurship and innovation happening within the state by decoupling this message from the Detroit-centric story of bankruptcy. — AaS

Text100 (Next 15)

Text100 has remained not only relevant — but innovative — after more than 30 years in tech PR. More recently the agency has astutely evolved its positioning from the early days of “high-tech” to today’s world where technology is at the core of almost everything.     

In the US, Text100 grew 20% with global revenues totalling $57.3m. CEO Aedhmar Hynes has thoughtfully guided Text100 to be a longtime, trusted partner for the tech blue chips — IBM, Cisco, Lenovo, Xerox — while also attracting the likes of MTV Networks, Adobe, British Airways, Jive Software and Kayak along with emerging companies. The industry took notice when Text100 used an unconventional approach to its bid for Blackberry by partnering outside of its parent company Next 15 with APCO to win the business. While the Blackberry business fell away, Text100’s out-of-the-box thinking showed it to be an agency poised for the future.

Among its notable work in 2014, Text100 carried out a smart and targeted LinkedIn campaign for Lenovo and showcased its creativity with “The Building of HomeAway - One Million Live Vacation Rental Listings” content program for HomeAway. Text100 also has shown deep expertise around analytics in its planning and insights work for the Xerox Social Executive Program and Influencers at the Wheel initiative. — AaS