MIAMI—Weber Shandwick, Citizen Relations, Hering Schuppener, Chandler Chicco Companies, Waggener Edstrom, Edelman and Fleishman-Hillard will all be recognized with Global Agency of the Year trophies at our second annual Global SABRE Awards dinner, to be held in Miami on October 30 as part of the Global Public Relations Summit.


For the best part of a decade, Weber Shandwick has been the strongest performing of the giant publicly-traded public relations firms, establishing itself as one of the two largest PR agencies in the world, with fee income of close to $600 million in 2011, up by about 12.5 percent over the previous year, thanks to new business from Unilever, Pepsi and Mountain Dew, Roche, Citrix, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and many more.

The business performance is impressive—across all three regions—and so is the quality of the firm’s creative work, as it topped our first-ever Creative Index, with highlights ranging from the American Airlines “Bomb Threat Response” effort in the US to a Save the Children program in India, and work for Pepsico, Pfizer, McDonald’s, General Motors and MasterCard.

Finally, the firm produced perhaps the most interesting piece of thought leadership of the past 12 months with its Science of Engagement report, which applied learnings from the fields of neuroscience, psychology and anthropology to the need for engagement, uncovering 10 principles for successful engagement.

Runners-up: Edelman, Ketchum, MSL Group, Ogilvy Public Relations


Citizen Paine—the former PainePR, which rebranded in mid-2011—has been producing a dazzling array of creative work for a couple of decades now, so its seven nominations for North American SABRE Awards (more than any other midsize firm) were no great surprise. Those campaigns included work in the US for Procter & Gamble (the Future Friendly and Give Education CSR efforts, digital work for Old Spice, social media outreach for Pampers), Aflac (crisis management) and Duracell (cause marketing), as well as a Canadian project by Citizen Optimum for Future Shop. But the firm’s 2011 repositioning deserves at least as much attention. Chief executive Daryl McCullough says the new brand “reflects the democratization of communication and the changing landscape of how people receive and share information.” And it clearly resonates with clients. Says Bryan McCleary, director of external relations at P&G’s baby care division: “At P&G, we are trying to move away from thinking about people as consumers, to start to think about them as citizens and human beings, and the name really speaks to that need.”

Runners-up: Cake Group, Ogilvy Public Relations, Olson, PrimePR


The largest and the best corporate and financial communications consultancy in Germany, Hering Schuppener has the expertise and depth of management to rival any firm in the world when it comes to providing high-level strategic public relations counsel, working as an equal partner with banks and law firms in providing counsel to corporate managements. It ranks in the top four in Germany in terms of fee income (€39 million in 2010) according to The Holmes Report’s Global 250 ranking; number one in terms of quality reputation according to survey by PR Magazin; and the clear number one among German firms in the mergers and acquisitions business according to mergermarket’s analysis of deals activity. And on the international front, Hering Schuppener is a member of the AMO network of corporate and financial public relations specialists, which includes Abernathy Macgregor in the US, Euro RSCG C&O in France, Maitland in the UK has established itself as the leading network for international M&A activity.

Runners-up: Farner Consulting; Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher; Kekst and Company; KREAB Gavin Anderson


With the pharmaceutical industry facing dramatic changes, Chandler Chicco has been quick to identify the issues impacting its clients’ businesses and to expand its suite of services to provide solutions, from its groundbreaking market access specialist brandtectonics to its expanding array of digital and social media capabilities to its Allidura consumer health offer, which has helped to broaden its client base to include companies like Coca-Cola and Nestle. The firm’s diversification has paid dividends in terms of its performance over the past 12 months. The acquisition, late in 2011, of German healthcare firms Haas & Health Partner Public Relations and SanCom Creative Communication Solutions, expands CCC’s footprint, and more deals may follow in 2012.

Runners-up: GCI Health, Marina Maher Communications, Red Door Communications, W2O Group


The third largest independent in the US market, Waggener Edstrom has 800 employees around the world, and global fee income of $115 million good enough to rank among the top 20 public relations firms in the world. The firm retained 90 percent of its clients last year, including HTC, Abbott Laboratories, Shire, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wick Hill, Complete Genomics, Hitachi Data Systems, GlaxoSmithKline, Texas Instruments, T-Mobile and Microsoft. And the firm picked up more than 80 new clients last year, including Make-A-Wish Foundation and UNICEF. Wagg Ed was also voted Best Large Agency to Work For by its employees once again and introduced a host of new digital products that keep it on the cutting edge of innovation in the industry.

Runners-up: Atomic, LewisPR, n2n Communications, Sparkpr


Edelman, a pioneer in the digital and social media realm, now has more than 600 people in its digital practice, which continues to grow at a 30 percent rate and to expand its offer to include new social media analytics and content creation tools and community management capabilities. The firm offers a vast array of digital services—research and insights and digital and social media monitoring, social business planning and blogger engagement, and cutting-edge content creation and syndication, web and mobile application development—under a formidable leadership team under global practice chair Kevin King , supplemented by the most digitally-savvy senior management team in the business.

Runners-up: Ogilvy Public Relations, Shift Communications, Text 100, We Are Social


Under the leadership of Caroline Wunnerlich, Fleishman-Hillard has established itself as the most consistently impressive of the giant multinational agencies operating in the Brussels public affairs market, and the past couple of years have seen it build on its traditional strengths there with a formidable digital capability and a new financial services expertise (timely, given the plethora of issues that industry is currently dealing with). But the firm also has an impressive public affairs capability in Washington, DC—where its branded operations are well-supported by ad agency GMMB, Strat@com, and Vox Global (400 people spread across four brands)—and Asia (where the Vox brand has launched last year).

Runners-up: Hill+Knowlton Strategies, Interel, Ogilvy Public Affairs, Portland