2016 PR Agency Fast Movers | Holmes Report

Global PR Agency Rankings 2016: Fast Movers

Rankings: Top 10Top 250 | Holding Groups/Networks
Analysis: Global PR industry growth slows to 5%
ResearchDisruption | Talent

The tech boom continues to fuel the fastest growing agencies worldwide — 60% of the firms  on the list have a client portfolio heavily weighted in this sector. Yet the top spot was taken by the Mexican consumer shop Another Company at 136.4% growth to $5.2m.

Interestingly, the impact of the tech sector is seen far beyond Silicon Valley. Among the six tech-focused firms on the list, three of the US-based firms (Praytell, PAN Communications, Walker Sands) house their headquarters outside of California and one (Red Lorry, Yellow Lorry) is based in the UK. The San Francisco-based tech firms on the list are BOCA Communications — making its second consecutive showing — and Bhava Communications.

This is the second year that technology firms have been especially well-represented on the fast movers list. It’s worth noting, however, the funding environment around technology has cooled since the start of the year and industry watchers are monitoring for signs of a more pronounced correction that could ultimately impact PR spend.

Rankings: Top 10Top 250Holding Groups/Networks
Analysis: Global PR industry growth slows to 5%
ResearchDisruption | Talent

Fast Movers 2016   


When looking at only firms based in North America, 80% are based in the US alongside Another Company (Mexico) which was launched in 2004 but made its debut on the fast movers this year. The other non-US showing was from the Canadian agency North Strategic which was founded in 2011 and has grown to 65 people in less than five years. Healthcare firm Spectrum accomplished impressive growth with its founder appointing a new president. Meanwhile, the Boston-based PAN Communications had a notable 2015, acquiring Vantage PR to expand into the San Francisco market.

(Constant Currency)
Fee Income 2015 ($)
Another CompanyMexico136.4%5,200,000
Red Lorry Yellow LorryUK77.4%4,948,086
PAN CommunicationsUSA68.6%13,150,000
Havana OrangeNetherlands57.5%3,424,780
BOCA CommunicationsUSA54.4%5,126,405
Walker SandsUSA51.5%6,917,494
Bhava CommunicationsUSA51.5%5,000,000


Now in year eight, the tech firm BOCA made its second-consecutive showing on the list; meanwhile the Chicago-based Walker Sands has hit a growth spurt — 177% in the last three years (the firm has been around for 15 years). The San Francisco-based Bhava — founded amid a tech recession in 2009 — had its best fiscal year in 2015 and is looking to hit $10m by 2018. The Los Angeles-based Konnect PR makes the fast-movers for the second consecutive year as it continues to expand its lifestyle PR business that focuses on media relations. The New York-based B2B firm Bliss Communications makes its debut on the list, a year after Elizabeth Sosnow took over as the firm’s new owner.

(Constant Currency)
Fee Income 2015 ($)
PAN Communications68.6%13,150,000
BOCA Communications54.4%5,126,405
Walker Sands51.8%6,917,494
Bhava Communications51.5%5,000,000
Konnect Public Relations 47.1%4,750,000
Bliss Integrated Communications40.1%9,500,000
M Booth35.9%25,546,472
Finn Partners35.4%71,481,000

Above $30M

Because rapid growth tends to favor boutiques, we also looked at the fastest growing PR firms with revenues more than $30m. Once again, China’s BlueFocus topped this list with 36.7% growth to a staggering $245.1m. The only other firm on the list with revenues over $100m was Huntsworth Health that grew 21.1% to $107m. Finn Partners made the cut for the second-year growing 35.4% to $71.5m — in a year they firm bought tech boutique the Horn Group. Spain’s Llorente & Cuenca (23%) and the UK’s Four Communications Group (34.1%) were also buoyed by acquisitions.

(Constant Currency)
Fee Income 2015 ($)
BlueFocusChina36.7% 245,055,843
Finn PartnersUSA35.4% 71,481,000
Four Communications Group UK34.1% 34,380,216
Allison+PartnersUSA32.1% 49,000,000
Portland CommunicationsUK25.0% 37,000,000
GCI HealthUSA23.1% 32,000,000
Llorente & CuencaSpain23.0% 32,738,779
Vector Inc.Japan22.4% 82,000,000
The Outcast AgencyUSA22.0% 30,000,000
Huntsworth HealthUK21.1% 107,004,000


Among the Europe-based firms, the UK dominated with 70% hailing from this market. Red Lorry Yellow Lorry topped the list, likely fueled by notable wins in 2015 including the Israeli-based Priority Software, Canon UK and Mass Challenge. The Benelux-based Havana Orange, which was named the region’s top PR firm in 2015 by the Holmes Report, continues to build an impressive portfolio on its “new school agency that draws upon ancient rules” positioning. Italy's SEC fourth-place showing is bolstered by its acquisition of numerous European firms during the past couple of years. Rounding out the top 5, All Channels Communications Group makes the list shortly after being the first Bulgarian agency to win a Global SABRE Award for its work with AVON against domestic violence.

M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment makes the list with 42.9% growth, hitting nearly $15m (the firm continues to grow in the UK and internationally). With more than 40% growth, Newgate makes it third-consecutive showing — fueled by a steady flow of business such as taking on the troubled commodities giant Glencore. Amid it’s fast growth, the UK-based healthcare firm Pegasus had its most profitable year-to-date. The UK-based tech firm Harvard enjoyed an impressive year with 38.3% growth, while also being shortlisted for 11 major industry awards (including the Holmes Report’s Tech Agency of the Year - EMEA). Awards darling Unity rounds out Europe’s top 10 with 32.6% growth in a year which it won 85% of its pitches against creative or media firms.

(Constant Currency)
Fee Income 2015 ($)
Red Lorry Yellow LorryUK77.4%4,927,972
Havana OrangeThe Netherlands57.5%3,424,780
All ChannelsBulgaria50.0%6,540,000
M&C Saatchi Sport & EntertainmentUK42.9%14,700,000
Newgate CommunicationsUK41.3%28,687,703
Trigger OsloNorway34.9%4,960,000

Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa

Interestingly, the Asia-Middle East-Africa region was the only that included fast movers with single-digit growth — largely because publicly-held agencies cannot be included in this ranking. United Arab Emirates’ Djembe Communications topped the Middle East-Africa chart with 50%. Meanwhile, BlueFocus once again made the list with 36.7% growth despite a 51.7% decline in operating profit for the parent company last year. The only other Chinese firm to make the list was Hong Kong’s Strategic Public Relations Group growing 10.7% to $21.8m. Vector grew 22.4% to $82m, cementing its position as one of the top-performing agencies in Japan. New Zealand’s SenateSHJ (17.4% growth), India’s Creative Crest (13%), Indonesia’s Fortune PR (10.9%) and South Africa’s Meropa Communications (9.5%) all demonstrated promise. Last year, Saudi Arabia’s TRAACS (4.1%) was charged with overseeing Dubai’s tourism strategy to help them deliver 20m visitors by 2020. Already this year, MasterCard has shifted PR duties for the Middle East and North Africa to TRACCS.

(Constant Currency)
Fee Income 2015 ($)
Djembe Communications50.0%6,000,000
Vector Inc.22.4%82,000,000
Creative Crest13.0%5,859,050
Fortune PR10.9%3,550,000
Strategic Public Relations Group10.7%21,800,000
Meropa Communications9.5%4,300,000
Enzaim Health2.7%7,265,750