2020 PR Agency Fast Movers | PRovoke
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Global PR Agency Rankings 2020

Rankings: Top 10 | Top 250 | Fast Movers | Holding Groups / Networks
Analysis: Global PR Industry Up 6% Ahead Of This Year's Slowdown

Fast Movers 2020    Global Top 250 PR Agency Rankings

Global

As in 2019, there’s a broad spread of disciplines across the Global Fast Movers ranking, including consumer and corporate and public affairs heavyweights, as well as technology, healthcare and digital and social specialists. In terms of geographic spread, this year’s ranking is rather different to last year, with more balance between the US, Europe and AsiaPac.

The US presence was up from four to six of the top 15 fastest-growing agencies in the world, including second place, where employee experience agency Cheer Partners had 118% growth to $2.1m. Fast-growing three-year-old tech firm SourceCode Communications was again in the table, in fourth place (down from first place last year), with 107% growth to $3.5m; another repeat North American showing was Washington DC-based public affairs agency Firehouse Strategies in tenth place, which grew by 72% to $5.6m. The other US agencies in the top 15 were healthcare firm CURA Strategies in eighth position, up 73.8% to $2.2m; Approach Marketing in 11th place after increasing fees by 69% to $3.2m and New York consumer and healthcare agency Imre in 15th place with income up almost 52% to $33m.

Europe features five agencies this year, down from seven in 2019, including two from the UK. The top spot went to Italy’s fast-growing public affairs group SEC Newgate, which grew fees rapidly through acquisition: it was up nearly 132% to $80m, also making it the highest-earning agency in the table. Also from continental Europe in the top 15 were third-placed German agency ORCA Agenturgruppe, up 117% to $15m, and, in 12th place, Norway’s corporate and financial agency, First House, which grew by 63% to $12m. The UK representatives were consumer boutique Tin Man, a repeat performer in the global, European and UK tables, which this year is in ninth place globally with fees up  74% to $2.8m, and consumer and corporate issues specialist Third City in 14th place, up 54% to $3.3m in fees.

The 2019 ranking has four agencies from AsiaPacific — one up on last year. Top placed is ERA Myanmar in fifth position, with 94% growth to $1.5m, followed by Australian PR and social agency Poem, up 89% to $2.4m, and India’s PR and digital agency Kaizzen, up 74%. In 13th place was Singapore’s Redhill Communications, which saw fees up 59% to $3.4m.

 

 


AgencyHQGrowth
(Constant Currency)
Fee Income 2019 ($)
1SEC Newgate nbItaly131.9%79,501,533
2Cheer Partners USA117.6%2,121,719
3ORCA Agenturgruppe Germany116.7%14,784,000
4SourceCode CommunicationsUSA106.5%3,461,364
5ERA Myanmar nbMyanmar93.7%1,549,404
6PoemAustralia88.9%2,380,000
7KaizzenIndia74.0%655,200
8CURA StrategiesUSA73.8%2,225,000
9Tin ManUK73.6%2,818,030
10Firehouse Strategies USA71.7%5,560,387
11Approach MarketingUSA69.0%3,171,636
12First HouseNorway63.1%11,873,120
13Redhill CommunicationsSingapore58.6%3,404,000
14Third CityUK54.0%3,333,000
15ImreUSA51.9%33,333,949

Above $30M

Because rapid growth rankings tends to favour smaller, newer boutiques, every year we also look at the fastest-growing larger PR firms, with revenues of more than $30m. There is only holdover from last year's table, W2O Group which drops from eighth to tenth spot after organic growth and expansions fuelled revenue increase of 25% to $222m. 

This year, half of the top 10 firms in this size bracket hail from the US, although the prominent showing probably comes from Germany, which grabbed three of the top five spots for Attention (third with +45%), Achtung (fourth with +44%) and FischerAppelt (fifth with 41% following the acquisition of creative firm PUK) — reflecting impressive growth of the country's PR market in 2019.

As for US firms, in addition to W2O, they were represented by new entrant Imre in second spot (+52%), Kivvit in sixth (+37%), Finn Partners in seventh (+35% including acquisitions), and ICR in ninth (+26%). 

Not a single Asia-Pacific firm made this table this year, down from three in 2019. UK firms are again absent, and it is left to two more Europe firms to round out the top 10: Italy's SEC Newgate comes out on top after the two groups merged, while French listed player Hopscotch is in eighth position after 28% expansion.

 


AgencyHQGrowth
(Constant Currency)
Fee Income 2019 ($)
1SEC Newgate nbItaly131.9% 79,501,533
2ImreUSA51.9%33,333,949
3AttentionGermany45.5%31,158,400
4achtung!Germany43.9%30,828,000
5FischerAppelt nbGermany41.4%92,624,000
6KivvitUSA36.5%33,049,315
7Finn Partners nbUSA35.4%119,321,160
8Hopscotch GroupFrance28.3%78,736,000
9ICRUSA25.7%88,000,000
10W2O Group nbUSA25.1%222,000,000

USA

This year’s five fastest movers in the US are a testament to the appeal of young, independent firms, with four of them less than five years old, and the fifth, Approach Marketing, having just hit its 10th anniversary. Employee experience firm Cheer Partners is this year’s top ranked agency, registering growth of 118% to $2.1m in fee income during its third year in business. The second-ranked agency, SourceCode Communications, shows that being in the tech PR business is not a bad thing; last year’s fastest growing agency grew 107% to nearly $3.5m in 2019, building on the  firm’s eye-catching 529% rise in fee income the year before.

Healthcare agency Cura Strategies, which grew 74% to more than $2.2m, is making its second appearance on the list after ranking ninth in 2018. Firehouse Strategies, last year’s second-ranking agency, continues to show the continued demand for public affairs services; The firm’s fee income rose 71% to more than $5.6m. Approach Marketing, the 10-year-old consumer firm, was the fifth fastest-growing firm in the US, with fee income rising 69% to more than $3.1m, reflecting its expertise in multi-location and franchise marketing.

The second half of the list includes Imre, which has been around for three decades, and was up 52% in 2019 to $33m in revenue, bolstered by a client roster spanning 10 industries. Tech-focused Hudson Cutler, which was 2018’s fastest-growing US firm, grew 53%, with $4.7m in fee income, in 2019, during which it launched a cannabis industry focused agency. Current Global, the result of last year’s Current Global/Creation merger, made its first appearance on the list, thanks to registering growth of 49%, or fee income of $20.5m. Day One, known for its breakthrough creative work, and Kivvit, best known for public affairs and issues management, round out the list, registering growth of 45% to $21.4m and $37% to $33m, respectively


AgencyHQGrowth
(Constant Currency)
Fee Income 2019 ($)
1Cheer Partners USA117.6%2,121,719
2SourceCode CommunicationsUSA106.5%3,461,364
3CURA StrategiesUSA73.8%2,225,000
4Firehouse Strategies USA71.7%5,560,387
5Approach MarketingUSA69.0%3,171,636
6ImreUSA51.9%33,333,949
7Hudson CutlerUSA51.8%4,725,850
8Current Global nbUSA49.1%20,500,000
9Day One AgencyUSA45.1%21,410,269
10KivvitUSA36.5%33,049,315

Americas (Excluding USA)

This year’s fastest movers in the Americas are a healthy mix of Canadian and Latin American firms, a marked difference from last year when our northernmost neighbors accounted for four of the fastest growing agencies in the Americas. In 2018, meanwhile, the top five was dominated by Latin American firms.

LatAm specialist JeffreyGroup, with 33% growth to $13.3m, takes top spot while Canada’s Tact Intelligence-conseil, which was in the list’s top five for the last two years, has worked its way to number two. That’s 10 points more than the third fastest mover in the Americas, Mexico’s Another Company, which registered a 17% increase in fee income, bringing that agency’s revenue to $8.7m. The fourth-ranked firm, Brazil’s Grupo Inpress is returning to the fast movers roster after a two-year absence, thanks to a 14% lift in business, or $39m in fee income, resulting from its range of offerings across public relations, public affairs, social media, crisis and issues management and more.

Argyle Communications, one of Canada’s oldest agencies (and the region’s fastest-growing player last year) continues its upward trajectory; The firm’s fee income rose 11.5% to more than $11m in 2019, fueled by a client roster populated by the likes of Facebook, Instagram and UPS. Argentina rounds out the top six— with Urban Grupo de Comunicacion Argentina’s fee income rising by 10% to $4.8m.


AgencyHQGrowth
(Constant Currency)
Fee Income 2019 ($)
1JeffreyGroup nbMiami33.4%13,310,186
2Tact Intelligence-conseilCanada26.5%8,249,642
3Another CompanyMexico16.6%8,725,502
4Grupo InpressBrazil14.1%39,621,750
5Argyle Canada11.5%10,582,591
6URBAN Grupo de ComunicacionArgentina10.2%5,840,000

UK

The UK’s top ten fast-moving agencies table (this year split out from the European top 10) is dominated by four consumer shops and three tech specialists. In pole position is Mandy Sharp’s consumer boutique Tin Man, which saw another stunning year of growth, with fees up 74% to $2.8m. It’s followed by consumer and corporate issues specialist Third City, which saw fees up 54% to $3.3m. Both also made it onto the Global table.

Other consumer agencies in the table (all of which, like Tin Man, also make a showing in our Agency of the Year shortlists for 2020) were W, up 48% to $14m; The Romans, up 30% in fees to $3.4m, and Hope&Glory, up 25% to $12m.

Fieldhouse Associates led the tech/digital specialists, in fourth place with income up 43% to $2.4m, followed by new entrant With up 33% to $2m, and CCgroup in sixth after an impressive year, up nearly 31% to $5.3m. Wildfire, whose CEO Debby Penton has just led an MBO of the agency, was in eighth place, up 28% to $3.4m. 

Finally, healthcare agency 90Ten — recently acquired by Envision Pharma — was in tenth place with income up 25% to nearly $11m, and in 11th place was the highest-earning firm, corporate consultancy Headland, which grew by 23% to $18m.


AgencyHQGrowth
(Constant Currency)
Fee Income 2019 ($)
1Tin ManUK73.6%2,818,030
2Third CityUK54.0%3,333,000
3WUK47.8%14,185,800
4FieldHouse AssociatesUK43.0%2,437,982
5WithUK33.0%2,006,912
6CCgroupUK30.8%5,281,333
7The RomansUK30.0%3,445,200
8WildfireUK27.7%3,373,546
9Hope&GloryUK25.3%11,616,774
1090TENUK25.3%10,912,188
11Headland ConsultancyUK22.7%17,859,320

Europe

This year’s European table, which excludes the UK for the first time, features agencies from six countries, of which Germany is the most dominant, with half of the top 10. The top spot, however, as in the global table, goes to Italian-headquartered public affairs group SEC Newgate, which grew through acquisition: fees were up nearly 132% to $80m.

Germany’s five agencies are led by ORCA in second place; the group of five agencies across Hamburg, Berlin, Munich and Bremen also made it into the global table with fees up 117% to $15m. In fourth place is Attention, with fees up 46% to $31m, followed by social media specialist Achtung! in sixth place with income up nearly 44% to $31m and FischerAppelt, up 41% to $93m after buying creative shop PUK last year. Hamburg/Munich-based Segmenta Communications came in ninth place, with fee income up nearly 32% to $6.9m.

In third place was Norway’s corporate and financial agency First House, which also made it into the global top 15 with fees up by 63% to $12m. The other three agencies came from Austria (The Skills Group in fifth place, up 45% to $5m); Russia (eighth-placed financial agency EM, up 34% to $6.7m); and, finally, France, where Hopscotch Group grew by 28% to $79m.

 

 


AgencyHQGrowth
(Constant Currency)
Fee Income 2019 ($)
1SEC Newgate nbItaly131.9%79,501,533
2ORCA Agenturgruppe Germany116.7%14,784,000
3First HouseNorway63.1%11,873,120
4AttentionGermany45.5%31,158,400
5The Skills GroupAustria45.2%5,040,000
6achtung!Germany43.9%30,828,000
7FischerAppelt nbGermany41.4%92,624,000
8EMRussia34.0%6,700,000
9Segmenta CommunicationsGermany31.9%6,899,200
10Hopscotch GroupFrance28.3%78,736,000

Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa

While Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa growth has suffered in comparison to other regions in recent years, that has typically been influenced by the unwillingness of publicly-held networks to break out their regional revenues. However, 2019 again reflects how domestic Asian players are outperforming their respective markets, with Asia-Pacific independents accounting for nine of the top 10, and demonstrating a welcome geographic diversity.

After topping the table in 2019, Singapore's Redhill continues to impress, growing 59% to take fourth place this year with fee income of $3.4m. Top spot this year goes to ERA Myanmar, which recorded the highest growth of 94% after acquiring a digital agency in its home market. Another new entrant, highly-rated Australian creative boutique Poem, came in second following topline expansion of 89% to $2.4m. Neither is Poem alone; another Australian player — Forward Agency — grew 30% to $2.4m to claim seventh position.

India's Kaizzen, which grew 74% but remains under $1m, ranks third,  while fifth spot is occupied by another Indian firm, Media Mantra, which ranked 2nd last year and grew 47% to $2.3m. Indeed India supplies the same three firms to this table as last year, with startup-focused consultancy Value 360 coming in eighth after growing 22% in 2019.

 

Singapore's AKA Asia ranks sixth this year after winning Consumer Consultancy of the Year honours in 2019, up 34% to crack the $5m barrier. Meanwhile, South African tech/digital specialist Clockwork is the only non-Asian firm to make the top 10, ranking ninth with growth of 21% to $4.9m. It is left to China's Yimeixing  to round out the top 10, after expanding 20% to $4.5m

 



AgencyHQGrowth
(Constant Currency)
Fee Income 2018 ($)
1ERA Myanmar nbMyanmar93.7%1,549,404
2PoemAustralia88.9%2,380,000
3KaizzenIndia74.0%655,200
4Redhill CommunicationsSingapore58.6%3,404,000
5Media MantraIndia47.0%2,349,824
6AKA AsiaSingapore33.6%5,343,800
7FORWARD AgencyAustralia30.0%2,392,879
8Value 360 CommunicationsIndia22.3%3,978,861
9Clockwork MediaSouth Africa21.3%4,850,000
10Yimeixing China20.4%4,521,194