2024 New PR Agencies of the Year, North America | PRovoke Media

2024 North America New PR Agencies of the Year

The 2024 North America PR Agencies of the Year are the result of an exhaustive research process involving more than 150 submissions and 50 meetings with the best PR firms across the US and Canada. 

Winners are unveiled at the North American SABRE Awards ceremony, taking place on 1 May at Cipriani Midtown. Tickets and tables are available here. Analysis of all winners and finalists across 13 categories can be accessed via the navigation menu to the right or here.

Separately, you can find the 2024 SABRE Awards North America finalists here.


Finalists

Fight or Flight (Independent)

aoy-backstory-iconBackstory

Our 2022 EMEA New Consultancy of the Year, London-based Fight or Flight launched with such gusto in April 2020 that, by the end of 2022, it had expanded to the US to serve US-based and multiregional clients. In its first full year of operations, Fight or Flight’s US arm grew headcount to 10 full time staff, contributed 25% of total agency revenues and won assignments with big B2B brands Avalara, Expedia and Salesforce. The B2B PR agency’s founders — Charlie Meredith-Hardy, David Woodward and Joe Walton — spent a combined 32 years at Weber Shandwick before launching the firm, named our Their goal in doing so: disrupt a B2B market dominated by boring product stories, whitepapers, and webinars at a time when B2B brands fight for attention in the same crowded space as consumer brands. Fight or Flight’s owned, earned and social campaigns are designed to enable B2B brands to compete, while turning heads and making headlines.

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Fight or Flight is based in London and has an office in New York. 

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2023 was a transformational year for Fight or Flight, which moved from start-up mode into the next stage of growth. The firm saw growth from the US operation it launched at the end of 2022, with Tim Fry, Emma Hedges and Dan Bird at the helm. In its first full year of operations, Fight or Flight’s US arm grew headcount to 10 full time staff, contributed 25% of total agency revenues and won assignments with big B2B brands Avalara, Expedia and Salesforce. With a high win rate, and organic growth, the agency’s fee income rose an impressive 33% to £4.5 million. Much of the firm’s success is tied to two core areas of expertise — creating B2B campaigns that attract mainstream attention and the delivery of multilanguage PR programs across Europe. The agency won new briefs from top B2B brands including AMEX, Expedia, NetApp, and Deel.

aoy-people-iconPeople & Culture

Fight or Flight is led by founders and ex-Weber Shandwick directors Charlie Meredith-Hardy, Joe Walton and David Woodward, as well as Tim Fry, a former global tech practice lead at Weber, to chair its US operations. Senior hires in 2023 include former Weber and Current Global executive VP Emma Hedges to run its New York operation, former Instinctif deputy MD Tali Kramer as senior director and associate director Jamie McNicholas from broadcast agency Markettiers. Fight or Flight is commitment to hybrid and flexible working. Employees are asked to physically work in the office just twice per week.  All employees are provided with a 12-month subscription to Headspace meditation app, UK and US private medical insurance including mental health coverage, a 24/7 as well as access to mental health advice and coaching on the Ihasco training platform. Fight or Flight publishes its diversity numbers on its website to hold the leadership team accountable. As of January 2024, 23% of Fight or Flight’s workforce is from a minority ethnic background (up 7% YOY); women make up 50% of the agency’s leadership team; and 12.5% of its leadership team is from an ethnic minority background.

aoy-leadership-iconThought Leadership & Work

Fight or Flight’s work shows that creativity in B2B PR works.  At the start of 2023, Fight or Flight launched a podcast, “Accounts Deceivable,” for accounting software company Medius, complete with true-crime style and storytelling, as well as an influencer strategy. The podcast was downloaded 80,000 times, with a 94% listen completion rate. When the firm was charged with promoting Roland DG’s new TrueVIS printer — which can print more than 50 different orange hues — it created a redhead-themed look book and a research report celebrating “Fifty Shades of Ginger” fronted by Jenny Ryan from The Chase. The campaign secured more than 50 pieces of coverage, including a slot on Good Morning Britain plus hits in The Sun, Daily Mirror and Daily Star and delivered a whopping 196% spike in organic search traffic. 

Diana Marszalek

Shallot Communications (Independent)

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Shallot was founded at the end of 2022 by Tim Granholm, who worked for President Obama and spent years at Boeing building out its internal communications engine, and Teal Pennebaker, who also worked in the Obama administration, led communications for a 1,000-person pharmacy startup, and was chief of staff to the SVP of global communications at Amazon. From the co-founders’ time as clients in corporate America, politics and technology, they had found that many communications firms focused too narrowly on media relations counsel, and saw an opening to start a firm that set leaders up for success in communicating with their teams and the outside world. Its early clients have been CEOs of start-ups in highly-regulated industries, including health, fintech and climate tech. 

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Shallot is based across Austin, Chicago and New York. 

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From Q4 2022 – Shallot’s first quarter in business – to Q4 2023, the firm grew from the two founders to six people; the firm has not disclosed total revenue for 2023. The agency typically starts working with clients by mapping out a fundraise announcement, identifying the key stakeholders internally and externally, tailoring the messaging, and driving awareness. In more than 80% of these projects so far, this has expanded to ongoing retainers for PR and internal communications. Clients in its first year have included Amazon, Transcend Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing new medicines to treat mental health disorders, corporate strategy, internal and external CEO and brand communications for a major travel brand, employee communications for GE HealthCare, Guardian Agriculture and fintech Oscilar. 

aoy-people-iconPeople & Culture

As well as the co-founders, the Shallot team now includes principal Jamie Hill, who spent nine years at Google building national public affairs programming around education, online safety, and economic opportunity, and advisor Hari Sevugan, a communications strategist with decades of experience working across national and statewide political campaigns, including as a former spokesperson for the 2008 Obama campaign. The fledgling agency is still developing its employer proposition but is committed to making sure its people like working with one another, making sure they are having fun, not overwhelming people with unnecessary meetings or bureaucracy, making Shallot a place for people who have lives and families outside of work, and – especially as one of the co-founders is a member of the Chickasaw Nation – active pursuit of diverse talent, including interns from non-traditional backgrounds.

aoy-leadership-iconThought Leadership & Work

In its first year, Shallot has conducted and published the findings of several surveys of communications and HR leaders, on topics from how to make company meetings more effective to best practices for communicating about layoffs. Notable work over the year includes announcing Transcend Therapeutics’ $40m Series A fundraise, covered exclusively in the Wall Street Journal; Shallot now advises the company, and recently announced its first clinical data. For Guardian Agriculture, which designs and manufactures fully-autonomous, electric aircraft for commercial-scale farming, we announced in Bloomberg that it had received approval from the FAA to conduct commercial operations nationwide, as well as subsequent fundraises. 

Maja Pawinska Sims

SolComms (Independent) 

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SolComms was founded in May 2023 by Bruno Solari – a former associate VP at Autumn Communications –  as a high-energy, integrated communications agency for start-ups and scale-ups at the intersection of corporate and consumer. Within eight months, SolComms has grown to a nearly 20-person agency currently split into two divisions: healthcare and consumer/lifestyle. The healthcare division includes high-growth healthcare startups such as ‘food as medicine’ company FarmboxRx, while its consumer portfolio includes viral period care brand August. The agency’s services span PR, thought leadership, product placement, influencer marketing, brand collaborations, messaging, stunts, trend and data reports, and events. Its work has already landed clients on the covers of Fast Company and Entrepreneur, on main stages at Collision and Fortune Brainstorm, and has made brands and products go viral. 

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SolComms is based in New York. 

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SolComms managed to close its first year in business (just eight months in), at $1.4 million in revenue. The agency is already on pace to close 2024 at $4M. The client roster also includes health system AI-enabled platform Laudio, weight-inclusive care company Knownwell, celebrity-loved skincare brand Youthforia, 20-year-old mattress company, Naturepedic, Apothekary, Atropos Health, Wisp and WellTheory. 

aoy-people-iconPeople & Culture

As a gay, Latino founder – a rarity in the PR industry – Solari has hard-baked diversity, equity, and inclusion into his new firm, especially for the LGBTQ+ community and ethnic minorities. The agency ensures diverse candidate pools when recruiting, and the company offers benefits such as six months’ paid leave for new parents, unlimited PTO, and regular mental health days. SolComms fosters a supportive, fun culture with initiatives like Fridays Work From Anywhere and Summer Fridays, as well as team celebrations and experiences. Solari is supported by a growing leadership team that includes head of healthcare Isabella Morreale, digital health leader Bella Morreale, and director of consumer Kylee Kaetzel.  

aoy-leadership-iconThought Leadership & Work

Stand-out work over the year included SolComm’s campaign with August's #AugustTaxBack campaign, which aimed to abolish the tampon tax in 22 states. Initially, purchasers of August products could text receipts to be reimbursed via Venmo. Following its success, August led The Tampon Tax Back Coalition with eight leading brands. Their website allowed consumers to claim tax refunds on any coalition brand products. The campaign garnered significant media coverage and social media engagement and 3,500 women signed up for the refund program within three months. SolComms also partnered with FarmboxRx to tackle rising food insecurity due to the end of extended SNAP benefits and increased food prices during the pandemic. ‘Feed by FarmboxRx’ offered free food deliveries to SNAP recipients in affected states, with media coverage leading to more than 2,000 applicants. SolComms then created the Food Insecurity SNAPShot Report, revealing key factors driving food insecurity, which led to FarmboxRx securing more partnerships that expanded its reach in providing healthy food to vulnerable communities.

Maja Pawinska Sims

Stretch PR (Independent) 

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Stretch PR was launched in May 2023 as a full-service public relations agency focused on business and sport by founder Amy Littleton, who previously served as president of Reputation Partners, a national strategic communications and public relations agency headquartered in Chicago, and as executive vice president and MD of KemperLesnik, a public relations, brand activation, content marketing and events agency. She has been joined by former and new colleagues to round out the client services team, with experience across media relations, content marketing, social media, brand activation, thought leadership, influencer marketing and issues management. For her new venture, Littleton has created the ‘Stretch PR Way’ of serving clients’ PR needs, including bringing together talented PR professionals, advanced technology and analytics capabilities, always setting and striving to reach stretch goals; and producing solid business results. 

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Stretch PR is based in Chicago, with colleagues in Austin, Wilkes-Barre, PA and Bali. 

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Stretch PR launched with one client, a global insurance broker. From there, it has already grown to more than $1 million in revenue and signed additional clients including Whirlpool Corporation, KitchenAid and the PGA of America. The company now has six employees and is continuing to add more talent to its ranks. 

aoy-people-iconPeople & Culture

Littleton’s senior team includes SVP Dan Lobring, previously a leader at integrated marketing agency rEvolution and head of communications for the Chicago Fire Soccer Club in Major League Soccer. Lobring led communications for the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series Chicago event, launched the AEG Soccer Champions Tour, and introduced the TopGolf and Puttshack brands to a global audience. The Stretch PR culture is based on the agency’s values: stretch, set goals, give back, love the work, be kind to one another, and beat expectations. With colleagues in multiple cities, states and countries, working various schedules and a hybrid model of working, Stretch PR is focused on the whole person. Stretch PR is a woman-owned business with a commitment to build a team of people with diverse backgrounds, and to enable everyone to do their best work.  

aoy-leadership-iconThought Leadership & Work

Since its inception, Littleton has produced multiple pieces of thought leadership and has continued to build a robust following on LinkedIn on topics from AI to building executive presence. She has brought together insurance companies to undertake a nationwide campaign to shift perceptions about the industry, with nine major companies and organizations already supporting. Notable work in its first few months included assuming all responsibility for a global insurer's awards program in the US and UK, which has been extended to leading media relations in the US and Canada. And for KitchenAid – a long-time partner of the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship – Stretch was tapped to breathe new life into the legacy partnership for the marquee 2024 event.

Maja Pawinska Sims

Unlock Health (Independent) 

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At almost $100m in revenue within one year of launching, Unlock Health is not your average new agency of the year contender. The firm was launched by former ReviveHealth founder Brandon Edwards 12 months ago, backed by PE house Amulet Capital, and has already acquired eight agencies as it builds out an offering focused on providing the full spectrum of marketing communications services for healthcare providers. Following the deals, Unlock now operates three lines of business — marketing communications, managed care consulting, and technology —focused on branding, patient acquisition and retention, workforce acquisition and retention, and issues management.

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There are more than 300 staffers at executive offices in Nashville and significant offices in Houston, Chicago, and Columbia, Maryland.

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In addition to the acquisition of eight firms — Eruptr, Medicom, HealthAware, Decode, SPM Marketing & Advertising, GLC, Dreamscape, and Centretek — there was also double-digit organic growth, taking Unlock to an eye-catching $94m in fee income. Key clients include Johns Hopkins, Emory Health, Nuvance, Capital Blue Cross, Wellspan, U.S. Digestive Health, Common Spirit Health, Ardent Healthcare, and UNC Health.

aoy-people-iconPeople & Culture

Edwards, who spent several years with Weber Shandwick after selling ReviveHealth to the IPG network, is supported by a leadership team that also features president Shannon Hooper, chief integration officer Phil Stone, head of integrated marketing Shannon Curran, chief product officer Dan Lavelle and chief client officer Josh Schoonover. The firm has developed a shared set of values and is committed to promoting equity and inclusion within the firm and across its dealings with clients, prospects and vendors. 

aoy-leadership-iconThought Leadership & Work

Unlock Health has conducted numerous webinars and produced a considerable amount of thought leadership in its first year, alongside the launch of an ROI Insights product that aims to accurately measure the impact of its work. The product has since been commercialized, using real revenue to provide CFO-supported ROI data. Campaign highlights bear out this focus on measurable outcomes, including a SABRE-nominated effort with SLPR Communications. 

Arun Sudhaman