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Prosek Partners was founded in 1991 with the vision that the financial services sector would one day “wake up and smell the marketing.” Prosek helped make this vision a reality, fuelling strong business across the firm's US network.
New York (HQ), along with offices in Boston, Los Angeles and Fairfield, Connecticut.
Prosek established itself as a leader in the financial services sector quickly, with expertise in the kind of thought leadership that fits well with the industry’s conservative values. But since the 2008 financial crisis, with the sector facing reputation challenges, financial services marketing has expanded considerably, and Prosek also delivers integrated marketing solutions through its Propel Marketing Practice, which has served as a growth engine through the pandemic.
Prosek Partners registered $62 million in fee income in 2020, a roughly 7% lift from the $58.2 million the firm earned the year before. At the end of the year, Prosek’s staff team was 225-people strong, up from 195 the year before. Prosek currently advises clients with more than $26 trillion in client assets across the US, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East, providing an array of offerings including brand strategy, digital, creative services, content marketing and web development capabilities in addition to its more traditional earned media capabilities. New business over the last 12 months came from Aegon, Amundi Pioneer, Aquiline, Dimensional Fund Advisors, Kairos Ventures, ICE/NYSE, and Rockefeller Capital. Key clients include Bloomberg, Citi, Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Edward Jones, Prudential, Bridgewater, Franklin Templeton Investments, Silicon Valley Bank and Carlyle Group.
Culturally, Prosek Partners identifies as an Army of Entrepreneurs. The firm’s transparent, flat and entrepreneurial environment gives employees varying challenges and responsibilities at every level of their career — something so ingrained in the company culture that founder and CEO, Jennifer Prosek, captured it in a book, “The Army of Entrepreneurs.” In addition to Jennifer Prosek, partners David Wells, Andy Merrill, Caroline Gibson, and Karen Niovitch Davis are responsible for the firm’s direction and operations. To strengthen Prosek’s marketing offering and manage the growing demand for these capabilities, the firm made two strategic hires last year: Anne Swan was appointed chief creative officer; Joe Scannell was appointed head of digital communications.
Prosek has long been committed to furthering D&I. 26% of the firm’s fulltime employees are diverse, as are 18% of staff at senior VP level and above. In the past year, however, the firm ramped up its efforts surrounding DE&I, which included rolling out a Culture, Diversity, and Belonging Council comprised of employees. The committee’s focuses include community (give back and local initiatives), culture (internal efforts, bringing in diverse external speakers, recruiting and retaining diverse talent), and commercial (how can we as PR practitioners and communicators impact this space). In a year of social unrest, Prosek launched a series of deeper discussions on the topic, called candid conversations, which allowed people to speak openly about these topics. The firm also created a mentorship program for diverse employees.
Prosek's Propel offering includes brand strategy, digital, creative services, content marketing and web development capabilities that build brand capital for clients. With more than 20 new client wins, the Propel Marketing Practice grew 43% year-over-year and 145% since its inception in 2018. The team also expanded with three new product offerings: turnkey rapidly produced, practical video reels; Brand Boost, a time-tested branding and marketing service for portfolio companies, small and/or early-stage companies to further increase performance and maximize clients’ ROI; and lastly, microsites, custom branded online experiences to showcase in-depth information about a particular service, product, or event.
Prosek’s notable 2020 work included averting a boycott of the Grammy Awards by artists and advertisers, by vigorously defending the Recording Academy, which was engaged in a public battle with a CEO suspended for creating a toxic workplace. The campaign succeeded, with the Grammy Awards airing without disruption.
— Diana Marszalek
The world’s largest public relations firm, and the only independent, family-owned firm in the top tier, Edelman was founded in Chicago in 1952 and has grown to become a global powerhouse.
Edelman is headquartered in New York, remains a market leader in Chicago, and operates an extensive network of 13 offices in the US and an additional five in Canada, as well as an extensive footprint in EMEA, the Asia-Pacific region and Latin America.
In recent years, with digital and social media driving much of the PR industry’s growth, attention has been focused on Edelman’s strong consumer portfolio, which catapulted it into the number one spot, and its creative credentials, which were strengthened with the addition of experts in paid media, digital content creation, and data and analytics. But Edelman has equally formidable expertise in corporate and financial PR (it is the only full-service global player to feature regularly on the mergermarket list of M&A advisors), public affairs, and healthcare—three areas that grew impressively in 2020.
While Edelman’s revenues were down 5.7% during the calendar year, the picture for its fiscal year (which ends in April) is expected to be much rosier, with growth in the low single digits. And while the consumer business suffered in 2020, there was growth elsewhere: financial communications was up 18% and the firm ranked 12th in terms of volume of M&A work in the US; business transformation work was up 17%, business-to-business marketing was up 15%, employee engagement was up 11%, sustainability and social impact work was up 10%.
A major management restructuring early in 2021 saw the elevation of Lisa Osborne-Ross elevated to US president, with incumbent Russell Dubner taking on a new role chairing the Edelman Trust Institute, but there were other significant appointments in 2020, including Kirsty Graham, who joined from Pfizer as CEO of Edelman Public Affairs; Ogilvy veteran Michele Anderson, who was named vice chair, brand, US; former Chevron CCO Dave Samson, named vice chair, corporate affairs; Helga Ying from the International AIDS Society as global and US chair of purpose; and former GE communications chief Deirdre Latour to lead the New York office. In 2018, Edelman committed to reach 30% workforce diversity in the US by 2022—the firm is currently closing in on 27%.
Edelman’s Trust Barometer research isn’t just a great generator of media coverage for the firm; it also provided an underpinning for much of the most critical work of 2020, when trust—and the lack of it—came to the forefront during the Covid pandemic and became even more of an issue following the murder of George Floyd. Over the course of the year, the firm worked with Pfizer to diversify the clinical trial recruitment process—a crucial step in winning acceptance of treatments among diverse populations—and provided counsel related to Black Lives Matter to more than 250 clients. The firm also worked with Unilever on campaigns for Good Humor (a new jingle after the old jingle was revealed to have roots in racist minstrel shows) and on more purpose-driven work for Dive, and spearheaded Ajinomoto’s #Takeouthate campaign.
— Paul Holmes
The international consulting business of Finsbury Glover Hering was formed at the beginning of 2021 by the merger of Finsbury (a UK-based financial consultancy that had absorbed the US business of Robinson Lerer), Washington public affairs consultancy Glover Park, and German corporate and financial specialist Hering Schuppener. The merger also involved buying back much of the stake in the three companies held by WPP, which remains a partner.
The newly-merged firm has powerhouse offices in both New York and Washington, DC, with a west coast presence in Los Angeles, and can draw on an international network that is exceptionally strong in the UK and Germany and an increasingly prominent player in Asia.
The US operations of Finsbury had their roots in the corporate reputation realm, providing high level strategic counsel on crisis and issues and employee engagement, before the merger with the UK firm, which immediately elevated the firm into the front rank of financial communications specialists and advisors on mergers and acquisitions and other transactions. Glover Park, meanwhile, had established itself as the first—and one of the best—of a new generation of public affairs firms, with extensive integrated capabilities (paid advertising alongside earned, significant research capabilities).
North America accounts for just under $129 million of the firm’s $220 million in global revenues, which were roughly flat in 2020—a year in which the challenges of merging three large agencies were compounded by a global pandemic and more. On another critical metric for the firm, it ranked third among global M&A advisors including industry publication mergermarket: in North America, FGH advised on more than 100 deals worth more than $100 billion.
In the wake of the merger, Mike Feldman, who was one of the original partners at Glover Park and served eight years in the Clinton-Gore White House, and Winnie Lerner—a former managing partner at Finsbury in New York—were named as co-CEOs for North America, although there is plenty of senior consulting depth in both New York and DC. There were several new hires in 2020 too, including Vickee Jordan-Adams who joined from Wells Fargo as the first new partner hired post-merger. The firm also underscored its commitment to diversity, and to community support through its pro bono work.
As befits a firm that specializes in advising CEOs on mission-critical issues, Finsbury Glover Hering generated an immense amount of thought leadership on both Covid-19 (issues ranged from the reputational risk of Covid-related litigation to employee communications challenges) and the rising Black Lives Matter movement globally and its implications for business. While the firm does not routinely talk about individual campaigns or clients, it worked with BioNTech—the German company that played a significant role in developing Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine—and supported the Virgin Media-O2 merger, the first major deal of the lockdown.
— Paul Holmes
A decade since it was founded by Matthew Doering with Carol Harrison, Global Gateway Advisors (GGA) has evolved into a strategic communications firm that works with companies, nonprofits, and governments to prepare for the future, building out broad, integrated programs that can protect organizations down the road.
Brooklyn, NY (HQ)
GGA partners with clients to leverage dialogue and influencer engagement to establish, grow, enhance and protect their reputations among key stakeholders. The firm used the Covid pandemic as an opportunity to take stock of its business model — and quell anxiety among team members — by instituting a change management strategy called RePro, which resulted in a plan that enabled the firm to stay flexible, nimble and strategic, and build and maintain its culture, during the health crisis and beyond.
GGA’s business was up 50% in 2020, rising to $4.5m, with headcount up to 17 from 12. An uptick in crisis and issues management work helped fuel the growth, as clients sought guidance on navigating social justice events, a polarizing political climate, and internal and external communications about remote work and employee safety. The intersection of the firm’s work in health and tech, and capabilities in digital and strategic communications, were bigger drivers of growth as well. New business came from The Board Challenge, Catalyst, Downtown Music Holdings, Institute of International Education, Johnson & Johnson and Sutherland Health. Among existing clients are Atlantis, Paradise Island Bahamas, Glassdoor, Johnson & Johnson, Office of the Chief Medical Officer, Lonza, Ludwig Cancer Research, New York Academy of Sciences, PwC and Zillow.
In addition to Doering, the firm’s leadership includes partners Carol Harrison and David Fishman, who together have decades of industry experience. In 2020, leadership renewed its commitment to putting people first. The firm increased its team size, successfully onboarding six employees virtually, and grew its advisor network. GGA built new relationships and resources from video production to design to media relations to support full-time staff on new opportunities. The firm provided stipends for remote work supplies and equipment and proceeded with annual raises and bonuses.
GGA is committed to promoting diversity & inclusion and focuses its efforts on three key areas: DEI training, which is integrated into the firm’s professional development program; talent recruitment and retention; and infusing DEI into its culture through trainings and conversations on topics such as implicit bias, microaggressions and building and maintaining an inclusive culture. GGA is also working with clients on diversity & inclusion: They include The Board Challenge, an initiative focused on increasing Black representation at the board level, and Johnson & Johnson, which expanded GGA’s remit to include communications and thought leadership in support of the office of the chief of diversity, equity & inclusion.
In the last year, GGA rolled out a slate of new products that leveraged its areas of expertise.
The new Global Gateway Studio amplifies the firm’s ability to create print, and digital content that resonates with audiences, as well as experiential offerings such as events and small conferences and salons. CrisisQHorizon is a new suite of services and tools to help organizations of all sizes mitigate and manage reputational risks. GGA’s new Pivoting to Virtual, which debuted at the outset of the Covid pandemic, offers a communications checklist and daily email newsletter to provide senior leaders and communicators with counsel, resources, and examples to inform their organization’s transition to virtual. GGA’s most notable work over the last year included its support of The Board Challenge, a movement to improve the representation of Black directors on US corporate boards by challenging companies to take the pledge to appoint a Black director within the next year. More than 60 companies including Zillow, Nordstrom, Nasdaq, Best Buy, Uber and Salesforce have agreed to participate.
— Diana Marszalek
In September 2018, five former Sard Verbinnen & Co. colleagues banded together to launch Reevemark, a corporate and financial firm based on the idea of providing clients big agency expertise in reputation and value in a boutique setting. In less than three years, Reevemark has more than 65 clients including Fortune 500 companies, private corporations, start-ups, and non-profit organizations.
New York (HQ).
Reevemark has grown its business by delivering on three core goals: providing candid and results-oriented strategic communications counsel, developing quality content and delivering favorable outcomes for clients. The firm was ranked in the Top 10 advisors on shareholder activism by Bloomberg and as the fourth global bankruptcy advisor in The Deal.
Despite the impact of the pandemic, Reevemark increased headcount in 2020, growing to 16 full-time professionals, including individuals with backgrounds in law, business, and public affairs. In 2020, Reevemark served 68 clients, up from 50 in 2019, its first full year of operation. New business came from Sanderson Farms, Antara Capital, HC2 Holdings, and Away luggage co-founder Steph Korey. They join an impressive roster of existing clients including Simon Property Group, Chesapeake Energy, Bausch Health, The Children’s Place, Scholastic, and former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
Reevemark’s founders — Brandy Bergman, Hugh Burns, Paul Caminiti, Renée Soto, and Delia Cannan — have decades of experience serving as trusted advisors to boards of directors, management teams, corporations, non-profits, and high-profile individuals on communications issues including friendly and contested transactions, public offerings, SPAC-related transactions, shareholder activism, corporate governance, investor/public relations, earnings warnings and restatements, litigation and regulatory matters, crises, executive changes, and corporate positioning. 2020’s new hires include senior VP J. Peter Donald, a former NYPD communications director/assistant police commissioner and spokesperson for the FBI’s New York office.
Reevemark is committed to providing opportunities for women, people from underrepresented communities, and those with non-traditional backgrounds. Notably, three of the firm’s five founders are women, one of whom is of Puerto Rican descent. Reevemark is an avid and regular supporter of Row New York, a charitable organization that brings the sport of rowing and academic tutoring to inner city teenagers, a significant portion of which are minorities and female. Additionally, Reevemark provides pro bono crisis management planning and implementation to Achilles International, a charitable organization providing specialized athletic programs for people with disabilities.
In 2020, Reevemark ramped up its thought leadership, publishing articles on bankruptcy, the Game Stop mayhem, crisis management and communications in the Covid era. Key work included representing Chesapeake Energy through their Chapter 11 restructuring process, one of the largest and most complex bankruptcies and reorganizations of the past several years, managing communications for the US’s second largest gas producer throughout the restructuring and emergence. Reevemark also handled all communications surrounding mall operator Simon Property Group’s acquisition of Taubman Centers, which nearly led to multi-billion-dollar merger litigation after Simon terminated the deal due to Covid’s effect on retail.
— Diana Marszalek
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