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The 2022 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.
Jeffrey Group was founded 29 years ago by Burson-Marsteller and Rowland Company alum Jeffrey Sharlach, a Miami-based firm that would help US and international clients position themselves and their products in the Latin American market. It has since developed a network of offices throughout the region while maintaining that unique focus.
In addition to its Miami headquarters, Jeffrey Group has owned offices in Mexico, Brazil (Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo) and Argentina, but is active in every market throughout Latin America, with slightly more than 300 people in the region.
Recovering nicely from 2020’s pandemic-related decline, JeffreyGroup grew 14% in 2021 and posted fee income of more than $13.8 million, the highest total revenue in the company’s history. The firm’s roster includes clients such as Airbus (13 years), Amazon (10 years), American Airlines (12 years), Bayer (13 years), Reckitt (11 years), BMW, Disney, GE, Marriott, Mastercard, PepsiCo, and Salesforce, and 84% of revenues came from existing clients and organic growth. But at the same time, Jeffrey expanded and diversified its client base with new additions such as AbbVie, Citibank, Disney Cruise Line, Dun & Bradstreet, Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices, Tereos, and Telefonica.
CEO Brian Burlingame has been at the agency for 21 years and at the helm for the ast seven, during which time the agency has doubled in size. His leadership team includes market leaders Mauricio Gutierrez, managing director in Mexico, in his ninth year at the company; Patricia Avila, managing director in Brazil, who recently completed two years at the agencyafter serving as CEO of BCW Brazil; and Diego Campal, managing director of Argentina and regional director for public affairs, now in his sixth year. Last year saw the elevation of Natalia Montoya, after four years at JeffreyGroup Mexico, to group director at the firm’s Miami HQ. Jeffrey has always placed a high priority on professional development, running its own management training program to provide local talent with the opportunity to grow into leadership roles.
At one time JeffreyGroup was primarily known for its consumer marketing work, but today its public affairs practice is equally respected, helping clients connect with government and public sector stakeholders using the firm’s proprietary stakeholder engagement models. The firm also produces its own “5 Points” newsletter weekly in Argentina, Brazil and Mexico highlighting critical public affairs issues. A social impact and sustainability practice was a kay source of growth in 2021, as was a dedicated insights and analysis team. The firm has 16 finalists in this year’s Latin American SABRE competition, more than any other agency, and highlights of the work over the past 12 months include reputation management work for Tetra Pak, change management for Bayer, and PepsiCo’s purpose-driven Planet Love initiative.
— Paul Holmes
While other agencies were cutting back, LatAm Intersect PR spent the Covid pandemic in its infancy, cultivating its client services and culture. Launched by agency veterans Claudia Daré and Roger Darashah in 2019, the Brazil-based firm today has a 30-person team across seven Latin American countries and Portugal, and continues to expand into new areas including, most recently, social media and the metaverse.
Intersect PR is active in its home base Brazil as well as Mexico, Columbia, Chile, Argentina, Peru, Costa Rica, and Lisbon.
Two years after launch, LatAm Intersect PR in 2021 doubled down on growing its presence across Latin America and beyond, expanding its team to 30 people in eight countries. With an eye on further expansion, Costa Rica acts as regional hub for Central American work; Lisbon is responsible for Europe and Asia. In a short three years, intersect has worked for 28 clients, 21 of which remain on the firm’s roster. Recent growth is pegged to new business from companies such as Canadian school franchise Maple Bear and Mphasis, which joined existing clients including Temenos, Flybits, Lendit, Yalo and BigDataCorp.
With employees spread across eight countries, Intersect in 2021 turned to the metaverse as a means of creating the cohesive company culture that couldn’t be cultivated in person. In August, Intersect formally opened its office in the metaverse, which team members use for meetings and agency activities, with the overarching goal of forming personal connections across countries. Intersect PR is led by co-founders Claudia Daré and Roger Darashah, both of whom had long careers in the agency world. Before launching Intersect, Daré was Sherlock Communications’ head of LatAm. Lisbon-based Darashah spent six years as COO of India’s Adfactors and was an Edelman Significa executive VP before that.
Hardly a firm to rest on its laurels, Intersect in 2021 doubled down on elevating the caliber of its work, building on its success in 2020, including its SABRE Award-winning campaign, Bora Testar! (Let’s Test!), which promoted Covid testing. Those efforts reaped output like Intersect’s Tie-Less Banking campaign for Temenos, which included consumer surveys that generated robust coverage. Thought leadership included Interesect’s in-house Emotional Climate Reports, which have provided insights on topics including Brazilian elections, the state of the economy across Latin America, vaccines, diversity, corruption and politics as well as the rise of crypto currencies. The agency’s Impact of Covid in Newsrooms project included a survey of 300 journalists across Latin America on their reactions to the ongoing Covid pandemic. Intersect used the survey findings to develop new strategies for effective collaboration with the press.
— Diana Marszalek
Spanish public relations agency Llorente & Cuenca had already established itself as one of the leading corporate and financial consultancies in Europe, and the global leader in Spanish-language markets, before it received private equity funding in 2015 and changed its name to LLYC in 2019. But recent years have seen accelerated growth, much it through acquisition, as the firm established itself among the top 50 in the world, expanding beyond its corporate and financial roots to offer public affairs, consumer marketing, and a wide array of digital and social capabilities.
In addition to its offices in Spain and Portugal, LLYC has built an extensive network in Latin America, with offices in Argentina (Buenos Aires), Brazil (Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo), Chile (Santiago), Colombia (Bogota), the Dominican Republic (Santo Domingo), Ecuador (Quito), Mexico (Mexico City), Panama (Panama City), and Peru (Lima), supplemented by affiliates in Bolivia, Costa Rica, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
Globally, revenues were up by about 40% in 2021, which saw LLYC end the year with fees of €53 million. More than €30 million of that coming from Latin America as LLYC’s shift from corporate and financial specialist to well-rounded modern generalist continued to pay dividends. Just as satisfying to the agency’s leadership must be the fact that after becoming the first communications consultancy to list on the Spanish stock market, LLYC saw its initial €109 million valuation grow by 32% by year end. In Latn America, the acquisition of BESO, a leading creative firm in the Mexican market, added capabilities in data analytics, influencer marketing, and digital marketing. New business came from Alquería, Avianca, Banco General en Panamá, Cámara Paraguaya de la Carne, Maxbsience / Grupo Insud, Petrobras, Petroperu, Televisa, Tetra Pak, and Univisión, joining a roster that already included the likes of Alicorp Prosegur, CCR, Credicorp, Cencosud, Claro, Grupo Romero, Marsh, Primax, and Organización Cisneros.
Founding partner and chairman José Antonio Llorente has built an international leadership team of unusual quality, with Alejandro Romero, managing partner and CEO Americas leading the firm’s expansion in Latin America since 1997, supported by Carlos Gozzer, partner and chief operating officer; and Javier Rosado, partner and chief client officer. New hires at the director level in 2021 strengthened multiple capabilities and geographies. The firm has also deepened its commitment to diversity and inclusion over the past 12 months, launching global gender equality and LQTBIQ+ plans, as well as alliances with BlackID and INCLUI CIEE in Brazil and Pride Connection in countries such as Colombia, Perú, and Mexico.
LLYC’s strength in financial transaction communications, underscored by its parthership with global leader FGH and its consistent prominence in mergermarket rankings, has been supplemented by emerging capabilities in public affairs, corporate communications, consumer marketing, stakeholder management, and a suite of integrated digital services. The firm has its own knowledge hub, which has been producing magazines, books, podcasts and more providing a Latin American perspective on public relations and public affairs issues. During the pandemic, Digicel charged LLYC with developing a creative concept that would highlight its biosafety equipment deliveries to medical staff at hospitals across Panama. Working with The Cámara Paraguaya de la Carne [Paraguayan Chamber of Commerce for Meat Producers], the firm helped overcome obstacles in the Chgilean market. And for Swiss pharma giant Ferring the firm launched #PlanM, directing patients to to fertility clinics in Colombia.
— Paul Holmes
Porter Novelli’s operations in North America, Europe and Asia have been on a rollercoaster ride over the past decade or more, but under the leadership of Karen Ovseyevitz, the firm’s Latin American business, which spans 14 countries, remains one of the most extensive in the region. The agency has expertise in consumer (purpose is a notable focus) and corporate (including crisis) areas and the healthcare, technology sectors, as well as formidable digital and social capabilities.
Porter Novelli’s Latin American operation includes offices in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Panama, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua.
Since its 1996 LatAm launch, Porter Novelli has grown into a sprawling regional network with more than 600 employees across 14 countries. The firm’s Mexico and Brazil offices are particularly solid, ranking last year among the top three agencies in their respective markets. In the last year, Porter Novelli added an impressive 180 new clients and projects including VTEX, AON, Palo Alto Networks, Herdez, Wendy´s Mexico, P&G Health, Asics, EVEN and the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, which join a roster already populated by the likes of Microsoft, P&G, American Express, MARS, Roche, Twitter and Unilever.
Porter Novelli has a history of championing its employees’ wellbeing and continued to do in 2021 with the likes of shifting to a hybrid work model and moving offices into modernized, flexible workspaces. For the fourth consecutive year, Porter Novelli Mexico earn HCR Equidad MX certification from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation for being one of the best places to work for LGBT+ equity. A regional Omniwomen initiative focused on driving women leadership and influence in Argentina, Colombia, Brazil and Mexico, while InPress Porter Novelli led an effort among Brazilian companies to fight stigmas around mental health. HR policies were updated to include leave for non-gestating mothers and fathers and for weddings regardless of gender. Employees receive mandatory DEI training covering issues including unconscious bias and gender. All of which is a testament to ethos of the firm’s regional leaders including LatAm president Karen Ovseyevitz; Mexico co-founder and managing director Sandra Kleinburg; Kiki Moretti, president of Grupo InPress in Brazil; and Porter Novelli Brazil CEO Roberta Machado.
Over the last year, Porter Novelli continued to evolve its offering from traditional PR to a more integrated approach, an effort that included developed thought leadership on pressing topics, testing new formats, developing new partnerships and producing and managing content that had a positive impact in brands, companies and society. The year’s thought leadership included the Purpose Premium Index study in Brazil, which found that 81% of Brazilians consider important for companies to pursue goals beyond just making money. Other research looked at the best brands in Columbia, greenwashing, trends in communications and cancel culture. Porter Novelli’s work continued to impress; The agency’s work for Kellogg’s World Food Day was a SABRE Award winner. Other notable campaigns included Almond Day for the Almond Board of California, Gamer Day for Western Digital and Covid Communications for Home Depot.
— Diana Marszalek
Founded in 2015, Sherlock Communications has grown from a Brazil-based agency with three full-time employees and a small office in São Paulo into one of the most decorated PR firms in Latin America with more than 75 consultants and a physical presence in 15 countries. Sherlock Communications is now recognized as one of the leading specialists in helping international organizations operate multi-market campaigns across LatAm.
Headquartered in São Paulo, Sherlock is active in countries across Latin America including Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Peru, Chile, Bolivia, Paraguay, Ecuador, Uruguay, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Puerto Rico.
Sherlock came out far ahead in 2021, during which the firm won more than 50 new clients — an impressive feat even for an agency that’s used to substantial year-over-year growth. New business came from major players like Snapchat, TCL, Playtech, Norwegian Seafood Council, GitHub, Crypto.com, Olio, the Estonian Government, the foreign office of the German Government, Austrade, Celo, and Biogen. Sherlock grew its team from 55 to 75 to support the work and expanding operations into four new countries across Lat Am, for a total of 15. The specialist SEO division created the previous year to help assist in digital campaigns recorded 180% growth, improving Sherlock’s digital offerings, helping clients launch in the region for the first time, and winning briefs from clients such as Miro, Latin Exclusive, Urbanic, and #Dating. Sherlock’s specialist practice in blockchain and fintech also continued to grow thanks to thought-leadership materials from the agency such as an e-book on Blockchain in Latin America, which generated more than 400 pieces of coverage and directly led to new client relationships with brands such as Crypto.com, Sorare, and Celo.
Sherlock retained 100% of its employees in 2021, credited in part to the workplace flexibility the agency offered since its founding, Employees can work at home, but Sherlock has also invested in making its offices safe and desirable, expanding both its São Paulo and Mexico City offices by 100%. Employee benefits include unrestricted leave, free foreign language classes and well-being stipend for physical or mental health services. As the result of soliciting staff input, Sherlock opted out of pursuing work with one of the world’s largest brands and increased pro bono work for NGOs. Also in 2021, Sherlock elevated the DEI committee launched in 2020 with a focus on fostering collaborations with people from marginalized communities. The firm launched a website in partnership with NGO Favela em Pauta highlighting heroes from poorer communities in Latin America.
In 2021 alone, Sherlock published four major pieces of LatAm research looking at media consumption, CSR, Blockchain and streaming consumption, helping position the agency as a genuine thought-leader throughout the region and a primary source for journalists seeking relevant data. The four e-books each generated +300 pieces of coverage in the region, with more than 4.49m estimated coverage views, 418m monthly visitors, 16,800 social media shares, and 140 backlinks to our website. The agency’s pro-bono work included supporting the Pimp My Carroça initiative to improve the lives of waste collectors in São Paulo. Sherlock is a finalist for 12 LatAm SABRE Awards, a testament to the year’s work. Highlights include its work on workplace diversity for Indeed.com; supporting victims of the deadly Brumadinho dam disaster; and launching Ru Paul’s Drag Race in Mexico.
— Diana Marszalek
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