NEW YORK — IPG's PR and experiential agency group reported 3.3% growth on an organic basis in Q1 2023, marketing nearly two years of quarterly growth since the height of the Covid pandemic.

Parent Interpublic Group said the “good growth” spanned across the group, bolstered by an increase live events and demand for comms services during periods of economic and societal uncertainties.

Among PR firms, Weber Shandwick had a “solid start” to the year, with growth driven by the firm’s corporate and public affairs services as well as offerings for clients in the health and wellness sector. Quarterly highlights include new business from global agricultural company Case International Harvester and expanded assignments from existing clients including Mars, IPG said.

Golin also saw “strong growth” in the quarter, driven by the UK and North America, where the firm was particularly strong in its consumer marketing and healthcare work. A key executive hire over the quarter included a new health equity lead who will help integrate the agency’s public health, social purpose, and sustainability teams, the company said. Current Global and Rogers & Cowan PMK also are part of the group.

IPG as a whole, however, experienced a dip in Q1. Revenue before billable expenses of $2.18 billion decreased 2.3% compared with the same period in 2022. Total revenue, including billable expenses, was $2.52 billion. Net income was $126.0 million as reported.

“In our first quarter, the services and capabilities that have led our substantial multi-year growth, notably media, healthcare and data-informed practices, continued to perform well, with strong growth that was offset by certain areas of softness, notably among marketers in the technology sector. The result was a slight decline in first quarter organic revenue,” said IPG CEO Philippe Krakowsky.

“Financial results in the quarter are consistent with our internal forecast of pacing for the full year, both overall and across each of our operating segments. Since the start of the year, we have won a number of the industry's most competitive account reviews, encompassing a diverse set of services and client sectors, which increasingly benefits our outlook as we move further into the year. During the quarter, we also demonstrated ongoing strong expense discipline.

“We continue to expect full-year organic growth at the midpoint of our range of 2% - 4%, with fully adjusted EBITA margin of 16.7%. The caliber of our people and our offerings, coupled with strong operating discipline and financial fundamentals, position us well to continue to deliver for our clients and stakeholders, and to further enhance shareholder value,” he said.

Thursday’s earnings report was the fourth from IPG since Andy Polansky retired in June after a 38-year career with Interpublic Group and Weber Shandwick. Polansky spent the last three years of his career as chair and CEO of IPG’s Dxtra group, overseeing the holding group's PR, event and sports marketing agencies. The group now reports to Krakowsky.