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Launched by Phil Nardone in 1995, PAN’s focus on integrated marketing has underpinned its continued innovation in a technology category that can sometimes appear overly enamoured with media relations — particularly as the firm has broadened its capabilities beyond B2B technology into such areas as digital health, fintech, and professional services. The focus remains on B2B brands, but PAN now brings deep storytelling capabilities that span the funnel and often result in the firm growing its mandates beyond earned media into marketing and brand purpose programs. And that mindset, which the firm dubs ‘We Move Ideas’, is applied as much internally as externally, resulting in a culture that has built a consistent ability to address challenges and capitalise on opportunities before they present themselves.
PAN’s 200+ employees have the option to work in collaborative office hubs in Boston (HQ), San Francisco, New York, Orlando, and the firm’s UK and global base in London
PAN’s fee income grew 17% in 2022 to more than $30m, with revenues doubling since 2020, despite parting ways with SAP (which accounted for 23% of revenue) shortly before the pandemic. While new business accounted for 53% of that growth, PAN’s expansion owes much to its ability to drive integrated marketing mandates (+19% YoY) on behalf of its clients, to the extent that such work now accounts for almost a third of its revenue. Among its top 25 clients, furthermore, 84% are integrated — leading to strong growth from such names as IDE Technologies, Quanteriz, CloudBees, Artec Europe, HungerRush (integrated marketing only), UPS Capital (up 94% thanks to broader storytelling work), Radial, Booz Allen Hamilton (doubled from PR to corporate/executive positioning to ESG and corporate sponsorship) and Amwell. Lucrative wins included MarkForged, Qualtrics, BCG Ware2Go, CivicPlus and Aurora Solar — among 33 new client wins in 2022.
Phil Nardone is supported by a leadership team that features CMO Mark Nardone, CCO Darlene Doyle, CPCO Elizabeth Famiglietti, and Megan Kessler, who joined the C-suite this year as the firm’s first chief of integrated marketing and strategy. New hires included Juliana Allen to lead technology, while Nikki Fest O’Brien departed to become president at Greenough. PAN’s commitment to DEI has seen a 27% increase of BIPOC representation among employees in 2022, now accounting for 10% of senior leadership and 22% of all staff. Nardone himself is a key evangelist, establishing the PAN Portal program with four HBCUs, while the firm has also rolled out a series of educational initiatives to ensure DEI remains top of mind among staff. In terms of workplace culture, PAN’s focus on is on belonging, education and communication, and includes a fully flexible working model, along with paid sabbaticals, longterm service bonuses, and generous parental leave.
PAN’s DEI commitments informed a four part guest lecture series with four HBCUs, along with specific training for Booz Allen’s new CDEIO and a biweekly newsletter for all clients. A new strategic consulting group launched via a four-part series that explored the interplay between strategic storytelling and business challenges, while a new CyberPulse dashboard also rolled out to monitor cybersecurity conversations for PAN’s clients. The firm’s focus on integrated marketing has seen it shift its work towards more dynamic content marketing across video, animation and visual, with campaign highlights including a SABRE-nominated effort to promote Booz Allen as a workplace of choice, along with impressive content marketing work for UPS Capital to increase qualified leads and sales.
— Arun Sudhaman
Despite making roughly twice as much money in Asia, The Hoffman Agency is still very much a US firm. The firm operates out of San Jose, California, where Lou Hoffman launched the company more than 30 years ago. In that time, the firm has grown beyond its B2B technology roots to encompass consumer marketing and integrated communications, with a particularly strong bent towards startups and disruptors.
Hoffman has offices in San Jose, California (HQ), Portland, Oregon and Boston as of 2022.
The Hoffman Agency is transforming its North American business into a digital first operation (a process already underway in Asia-Pacific and Europe) and in early 2022 hired Gerard LaFond as the agency’s North America chief digital officer to see it through. Boston-based LaFond also expanded Hoffman’s US footprint to create an East Coast presence. Hoffman — which has offices across Asia and Europe — doubled down on its operation in the US, where most global remit decisions take place. Last year, the firm started designating and training global leads to manage the agency’s multi-market offerings from the US. The firm also created a talent marketing, acquisition, and branding practice. North American business accounted for $7.8 million of Hoffman’s $26.3 million in global revenue, up 41% from 2021. Trellix’s global business was the year’s biggest win, while new business also came from Lightship RV and Everest Labs. Longtime clients Nokia (9 years), Baidu (5 years), City of Fremont (9 years), LAM Research (5 years) and Supermicro (5 years) also populate Hoffman’s roster.
Shortly into 2021, Hoffman made the wellbeing of its employees and workplace its No. 1 priority, leading to high retention rates. But when a September survey showed 23% of staff did not look forward to coming to work each day, Hoffman resolved the issue before it became damaging by restructuring its team so younger staff worked on no more than three accounts. Fast forward to 2022, and the mood was decidedly different; Last year’s survey showed 90% of Hoffman’s staff would recommend to the agency to friends and 80% look forward to going to work. Hoffman intensified its DEI efforts by requiring 25% of new hires to be BIPOC, offering DEI-related training and activities and creating a scholarship for diverse students attending California Community Colleges. Today, 29% of Hoffman’s staff represent the BIPOC community, up from 19% in July 2020. Diversity among the agency’s senior team in rose from zero to 21%.
Hoffman has won our SEO/Content Distribution Innovation SABRE Award every year all but once since the category was created in 2015 — and this year was no exception, with Hoffman earning honors for its work on Synopsys’ corporate blog. Other 2022 highlights included Hoffman’s work for Lightship building buzz for the electric RV startup’s e-travel trailer with an eye on driving business and next-round funding. The agency’s six-month campaign included a targeted media relations effort with pre-launch briefings, influencer events and a journalists ride along from Boulder, Colorado to Austin, Texas.
— Diana Marszalek
Hotwire is a global tech firm with 20 years of experience working with clients on communications, branding and digital marketing. It’s been seven years since Hotwire bought Eastwick Communications to accelerate the UK-based company’s US expansion. There are so many technology acquisitions that ultimately fall short of expectations, that the success stories — like this one — stand out. Hotwire’s acquisition of digital marketing agency ROI DNA has continued to extend the firm’s North America capabilities, while leveraging the new account-based and industry marketing services Hotwire added in 2021 with the acquisition of McDonald Butler Associates. The agency also launched three new research based ESG offerings to support companies under increased scrutiny better communicate their ESG efforts.
Hotwire has offices in San Francisco (HQ), New York and Minneapolis.
After US revenue took a slight hit in 2020, Hotwire last year continued the upward trajectory that earned it PRovoke Media’s 2019 Tech Agency of the Year honors. 2022 US revenue was $31.7 million, representing an eye-catching 56% lift year-over-year. Global revenue increased 23% to $59.7 million. In 2022, the firm nabbed new business from Discord, SendinBlue, Kyndryl, Lectra, Signifyd, and Headspace adding to existing big-name clients like Dell, Twitter, Snapchat, Honeywell, Klarna and Zoom.
Even before the pandemic, Hotwire was committed to mental wellbeing, providing a wellness benefit allowance, weekly meditation sessions and access to a mental health toolkit, exemplifying the premium Hotwire puts on creating a supportive company culture. Three years after refreshing its DEI strategy, Hotwire continues to roll out employee engagement initiatives to build a diverse employee population and create an inclusive environment. Hotwire signed the Diversity Action Alliance commitment, joining other PR and communications leaders to accelerate progress in achieving meaningful and tangible results in diversity, equity, and inclusion. In 2021, the agency launched the Hotwire Ignite Possibility Program to scale pro bono work which included committing up to $1 million in services to support tech organizations led by or supporting minority communities, earning this year’s IN2 SABRE Award for a DEI initiative. Heather Kernahan continues lead Hotwire worldwide as global CEO. Heather Craft and Laura Macdonald, who spent 2022 as co-presidents of North America, were named CEO of North America and chief growth officer respectively earlier this year.
Hotwire’s output was at a high in 2022, as it heeded clients’ calls to help them stand out in an increasingly tech-saturated world. That work included a creating a hyper-personalized customer retention campaign for Headspace, that saw the mindfulness company’s corporate subscriptions grow. The agency’s Adobe Deck the Halls with Record-Breaking Media Results campaign is a SABRE Award finalist in the software & services category.
— Diana Marszalek
PRovoke Media’s 2021 Technology Agency of the Year, Method has been challenging the Silicon Valley PR status quo for more than a decade. The firm is known as a go-to PR and marketing partner for high-growth challenger brands, as well as market leaders facing challenges of their own. Over two-thirds of its clients are billion-dollar brands and Method has notable experience with corporate financial transactions, including IPOs and SPACs.
Method has offices in Salt Lake City (HQ), San Francisco and New York.
Since being acquired by Chime in 2018, Method is consistently the group’s top-performing firm. After withstanding pandemic-years challenges, Method continued to grow in 2022. Fee income last year rose to $20.8 million — a 14% year-over-year lift that made 2022 Method’s fifth consecutive year of double-digit growth. Organic growth accounted for 56% of Method’s new revenue driven largely by some of its largest clients increasing spend in areas like social impact and DEI, paid media and research. Also in 2022, Method doubled down on its fastest growing services — integrated and corporate. The agency’s in-house research team’s business jumped by 89%, while marketing grew by 32%. Integrated services accounted for nearly 20% of the agency’s revenue and is forecasted to be more than 25% in 2023. New business came from Loom and Cresta among others, whole Method continued robust relationships with existing clients including Overstock.com, Quicken, BambooHR, 1Password, Adyen, Domo and Freshworks.
Founded by David Parkinson and Jacob Moon, Method is built around deep relationships and results-driven work. Central to the company culture is Method Matters More, an initiative that prioritizes employees with programs like Method from Anywhere, a no-questions-asked work from home policy. With DEI top of mind, Method tracks its progress as a means evaluating and ultimately attaining its goals. Last year, 37% of Method’s new hires were people of color — surpassing its annual goal by 11% beyond our annual goal. Method increased targets to maintain a minimum of 25% BIPOC employees by 2025 to 30% and increasing POC on its leadership team to 20% by 2025. The firm expanded its applicant pool beyond tech to mitigate the sector’s historically homogeneous makeup. Method has a range of affinity groups and employee-led networks that facilitate an open platform to share perspectives. Each network is designed to educate & raise awareness, share resources, organize events and promote coordination across the agency’s global business.
Method’s work for Overstock.com continues to earn accolades, with two of its campaigns short-listed for a 2023 SABRE Award in the e-commerce category. Much of firm’s efforts for the company has centered around repositioning Overstock as a leading home goods retailer, rather than a purveyor extra supply. A dual approach to doing that for the brand — inserting leadership into home trends and other pertinent conversations and highlighting the retailer’s high-quality inventory — led to 2,200 pieces of coverage including features in the Washington Post, Forbes, Apartment Theory and Delish. Following the brand refresh, Overstock dominated earnings coverage and had the highest average order value in its history. Method’s work for video communications company Loom is also being recognized with a SABRE Award nomination. Method coined the term “slack-splaining” to describe the propensity of young people and people of color to over-explain on digital platforms due to fear of being misunderstood. Within weeks of publishing the 3,000-person study for Loom that unearthed the problem, the term appeared in Forbes, The New York Times, Fortune, Protocol and more —nearly all referencing the report and Loom.
— Diana Marszalek
Founded 40 years ago, WE Communications parlayed its still-critical Microsoft relationship to become one of the world’s biggest, and most successful, specialist technology PR firms. Global reach now stands at offices in 21 cities, including seven in North America, where the firm remains a benchmark in terms of helping brands harness the transformative appeal of technological change. That focus means that WE’s capabilities have broadened beyond the technology vertical to encompass considerable depth in healthcare, corporate, ESG, digital analytics and consumer marketing. Just as important, perhaps, WE continues as one of the world’s biggest independent PR firms, underpinning an entrepreneurial spirit and ‘purpose and people’ mindset that is not often associated with firms of its size.
WE’s Seattle HQ is accompanied by offices in Austin, Boston, New York, Portland, San Francisco, and Salt Lake City
WE’s North American fee income grew by 7.7% to $134m after winning Global and North American Technology Consultancy of the Year honours in 2022. Once again, expansion was led by technology but supported by WE’s expertise in corporate, healthcare, and social impact. There was new business from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Bezos Academy, Lyft, Smartsheet, Discord, Land O Lakes, General Mills, Leo Pharma and Penumbra, while the firm’s existing client roster features AbbVie, Adobe, Brother, Capgemini, Elsevier, F5 Networks, Horizon Therapeutics, Intel, Microsoft and SAP.
WE’s ability to people ahead of profits never proved more welcome than during the pandemic, when the firm moved swiftly to prioritize employee health and safety, investing in mental health, employee assistance and repurposing operating expense budgets for employee development. That approach continues to reap dividends in the post-Covid era, reflected by a 74% ‘belonging’ core among employees. DE&I has become a core priority at WE, with 25% of the staff now hailing from non-white backgrounds, supported by the formation of a Global DEI Council in 2022. A third party consultant was engaged to assess the firm’s DEI programs and policies, while there are numerous programs and training initiatives that address such areas as self-awareness, inclusion, mentorship and leadership development. External benchmarking reveals there are no pay disparities at WE in terms of race or gender, while all of these efforts are led by EVP/DEI head Elizabeth Herrerra Smith, who sits on the global executive team that also features CEO/founder Melissa Waggener Zorkin, global COO and international president Kass Sells, North American president and chief client officer Dawn Beauparlant, and chief talent officer Kate Richmond.
WE’s Brands in Motion (BiM) study continues to give the firm a distinctive edge in terms of understanding how corporates should respond to an era of radical change, while its social impact consulting was boosted by the acquisition of Hopscotch in 2022. Meanwhile, a range of hires have helped elevate WE’s creative and content capabilities, including Michael Schaffer as EVP of content and channel. Campaign highlights included the ‘Supercharge Intel’ global campaign across 20+ countries, Smartsheet’s sponsorship of McLaren Racing, and an initiative to re-engage ankylosing spondylitis patients for AbbVie.
— Arun Sudhaman
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