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The 2021 LatAm PR Consultancies of the Year are the result of an exhaustive research process involving numerous submissions and meetings with the best PR firms across the region.
Consultancy of the Year winners were announced and honoured at the 2021 LatAm SABRE Awards, which took place on 28 September. Analysis of all Finalists and Winners can be accessed via the navigation menu or below:
Founded 20 years ago by CEO Verónica Cheja, Argentia’s Urban is focused on consumer and corporate work, and is also a regional leader in crisis, reputation management and sustainability.
Urban has offices in Buenos Aires and Chile.
Urban capped 2020 as a $5.4 million, 102-person operation. Over the last 12 months, the firm drew new business from AstraZeneca, Axion, Citi, Coty, Ericsson, INTAL-BID, NovoNordisk, Oracle, PlayStation, and UNICEF, among others. Urban, however, also had an impressive client roster before those additions. Coca-Cola, Unilever, Mercado Libre, Facebook, Instagram, American Express, General Motors, Adidas, Prime Video and Uber are among its key partners. In the last year, Urban continued to expand beyond Argentina, handling regional campaigns for Coca-Cola, INTAL-BID, Ericsson, Cirque du Soleil.
Amid the disruption of Covid, Urban company made what it calls a radical shift by turning the company into a people-centric operation, putting the wellbeing of employees and clients at the center of its work. That included practical matters, like ensuring that employees had the connectivity and supplies to work from home. It all, though, included creating and implementing strategies to accommodate families during the upheaval. CEO and co-founder Veronica Cheja specializes in business development. Cheja’s fellow co-founders — creative director Silvia Maggiani and director Gabriela Korovsky — focus on data-driven PR and sustainability respectively.
The agency launched a stand-alone company focused on digital innovation, helping clients leverage big data in decision making as well as rolling out campaigns. Neuronal serves as a hub for data-driven communications serving Argentina, Latin America and beyond. The offering is interdisciplinary, staffed by engineers, data analysts and data scientists with expertise in communications, strategic planning, market research, and trends. Urban also doubled its digital and design team, adding employees and technology, leading to a chunk of Urban’s new business wins. Its public affairs team also grew. Wanting to get a better handle on Covid, and how it affects clients, Urban struck partnerships with consultants, opinion leaders and government affairs leaders.
— Diana Marszalek
The Costa Rican market is still very much a developing one, so CCK’s 40-strong team and $2.75 million in fee income is impressive and establishes the independent firm as a market leader—as does its success in international awards competitions. Founded in 1988—a difficult time for Central America generally—entrepreneurs Carmen Fallas and Edgar Mata had a vision to create a modern, progressive communications firm.
CCK is headquartered in Costa Rica but since its early days it has focused on the Central America region and since 1996 it has enjoyed an affiliation agreement with Omnicom-owned global powerhouse Ketchum which provides it with access to overseas markets.
Central America was by no means immune to the ravages of the coronavirus, but CCK—with its focus on strategic, integrated communications—was better placed than most to ride out the storm. The firm saw its headcount decline slightly but was nevertheless able to grow revenues by the low single-digits, thanks to a robust and loyal client list that includes the likes of Bac Credomatic, Toyota, FIFCO, Fresh del Monte, KFC, Claro, Huawei, Philips, Janssen, and PriceSmart.
In 2016, a new generation of leadership was empowered, with the appointment of Marcela Alfaro as general manager of Costa Rica and Layla Poveda as regional COO (Fallas continues as founder and chairman, Mata as founder and CEO). The following year, the firm reinvented itself—engaging all of its internal stakeholders in the process—and has since evolved towards a new, integrated communications model, creating business units focused on data mining, content creation and production, and technology.
The only Central American agency ever to win a Global SABRE (Payless Shoesource won the Platinum SABRE Award for best public relations campaign in Latin America for Tinta Para El Alma, which expanded on the brand’s decade-long support for breast cancer research) and it continued to produce great creative campaigns for clients in 2020, with highlights such as the “This is how a united country sounds” campaign, which brought together 150 musicians and producers from Costa Rica to deliver a message of hope, unity and solidarity during challenging times. The firm also focused on the search for greater emotional well-being, conducting an investigation based on the PERMA theoretical model developed by Martin Seligman and his colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania, to assess emotional well-being in the Central America region.
— Paul Holmes
Pizzolante launched in Caracas in 1976 as a TV production company, which quickly evolved into a full-fledged communications agency under the watch of self-taught leaders with a flair for storytelling. By the 1980s, the firm’s work with multinational clients drove its regional growth.
Pizzolante is headquartered in Caracas and has operations in Santo Domingo, Guatemala City, Tegucigalpa/San Pedro Sula and Madrid.
Forty-five years after launch, Pizzolante is Venezuela’s leading PR agency, a testament to the tenacity with which the firm has continued to thrive — winning new business, rolling out new offerings and affording employees new opportunities — through political, economic and, in the last 18 months, public health crises. Over the last 12 months, Pizzolante has won new business from Guia-RD, Curbo, 3.- Asociación Dominicana de Avicultura, Sanut, Grupo Terra, Asopharma, Abbvie, Belgium Embassy in the DR, Ecored and Loyola, joining a client roster with the likes of Copa Airlines, Equinor, Procter & Gamble, Grupo Universal, Corporación Multinversiones (CMI), Fichosa and Nader Enterprises.
Pizzolante has long fostered a culture that puts a premium on collaboration, transparency, and going beyond expectations, which served the firm particularly well during the Covid pandemic. That translated into executives holding weekly meetings with the agency’s 25 employees, in part to quell concern about the state of the business by sharing efforts to keep it strong while also recognizing good news and special efforts. When the agency went remote, leaders were about to reconfigure client services roles to preserve jobs, as well as add new ones. Today, founding partner Italo Pizzolante is an advisor to the firm’s multinational and regional clients, a member of an international think tank on corporate reputation and hosts Mexican and Venezuelan TV programs. Managing partner Thony Da Silva brings the full gamut of PR expertise, having counseled blue chip companies around the world.
Over the past 12 months, Pizzolante has created new services centered around innovation — innovation communications, digital mindset and innovation culture. The firm also capitalized on the growth of digital communications in Latin America, incorporating digital into more of its campaigns, and bolstered its work in sustainability. Pizzolante is most widely known for its work in corporate reputation, crisis & risk management, and corporate social responsibility & sustainability.
— Diana Marszalek
In its five years since launch, Smart PR continues to impress, building a firm strong enough to serve top-tier clients at home in Colombia and Perú with notable year-over-year growth.
Smart PR has offices in Colombia and Perú.
Just four years after Fabian Motta launched Smart PR, the firm capped 2020 as a half million-dollar business, thanks to a 35% lift from the year before. The firm’s headcount rose, too, growing from 10 to 15 to accommodate Smart PR’s brand partners including Stibo Systems, Mercer Colombia & Perú, MediaTek, Smartick, Citrix, Schneider Electric, Tyba, Axity, TechnoApes, Coljuegos, Opel, Gosocket, Crehana, Xiaomi y TigerByAmikam.
Smart PR is a champion of gender equality, both in its own shop (the firm signed the UN’s voluntary agreement to promote gender equity and women’s empowerment) and in client work through concerned efforts to raise the visibility of female executives. Those efforts led to Mercer Colombia CEO Adriana Gonzalez’s selection as one of Gerente Magazine’s 100 top managers of 2019 and Nathalia Ruiz, Teleperformance Colombia’s former CMO, one of P&M Magazine 2020 Women to Watch. Founder Fabian Motta runs Smart PR as general director, while Daniel España serves as associate director and Juan Camilo Motta as planning and operations director.
Smart PR has expertise in the education, tech, human resources, environment, and government sectors, and continues to build out its capabilities and offerings to serve them. In 2019, the firm created a laboratory called SmartLABS, a center dedicated innovation and development in communications. Since its launch, the lab’s studies include look at how young people in Bogotá think; PR in 2020; connected communities; and eBooks. The firm is developing on the first Latin American reputation indicator, a project that aims to transform the way brands can measure reputation with their audiences, and the perceptions of their clients. Smart PR’s four-year relationship with Smartick, which provides online math education, includes partnering with Pies Descalzos Foundation to give 350 children access to the platform for free.
— Diana Marszalek
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