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O'Dwyer's Newsletter - Mar. 26, 2012 - Vol. 45 - No. 13 (download PDF version)


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consultancy, restricting the number of clients to those that could be handled by the founding partners.

“We have now built a strong and deep management team that has allowed us to shift to an agency model and that has led to our rapid growth,” said Mosbacher.

Dukas Public Relations, New York, $3,389,000

“We grew rapidly in 2011 because of the strong demand from financial, asset management and professional service firms for ongoing top-tier media relations,” said Richard Dukas, president and CEO of the firm.

Dukas
Dukas

“Despite a realignment of the media environment and the explosion of social media, DPR continues to see strong demand from clients that hire a PR firm because they want media coverage in the Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, New York Times, Financial Times, CNBC and Bloomberg—they want to be out front of the people who make the investing and buying decisions,” he said.

He feels DPR is an alternative for companies that don’t want to spend $250K and up yearly for an IR/PR program at one of the larger agencies.

“The explosion of mobile devices, combined with the increase in corporate IT spending, also is creating a strong demand for the services of our tech practice,” said Dukas.

BlissPR, New York, $2,710,000

Donna McSorley and Toddi Gutner, Co-Chairs of BlissPR’s Financial Services Group, attribute growth of the practice to client service, patience and understanding during a time of economic concern.”

McSorley, Gutner
McSorley, Gutner

“2011 was a year of stress and change for our financial services clients,” said McSorley. “Our job was helping them understand that we are an extension of their internal team, and counseling and assisting them with projects outside our scope of work.”

The Financial Services group added more than $233,000 worth of new business in 2011. Practice revenues grew by roughly 10%.

“We attribute our success to both organic growth and expanded offerings through digital and content marketing,” said Gutner. “At the heart of it all, the ability to draw compelling content from our clients is what helps differentiate them in an already crowded marketplace.”

Both McSorley and Gutner also note that the practice benefited from a few key senior level hires which brought new ways of thinking and creativity to the group.

The Financial Services Group of the firm represents roughly 40% of revenue across BlissPR’s three practice groups.

Levick Strategic Comms., Washington, D.C., $2,497,798

Richard Levick, president and CEO, said the financial practice at the firm is approximately 70% consumer-financial with 30% geared to buy-side and sell-side specialists.

“There is significant overlap in that our consumer-financial work typically reaches a sophisticated audience that includes the full range of analysts and brokers – rather than a mass retail consumer population – who also drive our more specialized IR practice,” he added.

Levick
Levick

LSC last year expanded its Mergers & Acquisitions practice, handling communications related to four transactions, each valued at more than $1 billion. A priority this year is to expand work on IPOs. Plans are to open a New York office this year.

Asked about how much of the firm’s growth is due to the rising stock market, Levick said it has helped since a rising market means more deals, more expansion, and a greater need for communications to support growth.

In a bullish economy, lower market value companies have a strategic need to differentiate themselves, and the only way to do that is through an aggressive communications campaign, he said.

He describes the firm’s practice as counter-cyclical. A challenged market leads to diverse crises and Levick’s financial practice includes prestigious crisis management capabilities, he said. The same dynamic applies to President Obama’s re-election prospects. He said that if Obama’s re-election engenders onerous new regulatory initiatives, the firm’s financial clients will want to manage communications in order to minimize exposure as well as to influence public perceptions during adverse circumstances.

If the results in November – whoever wins – inspire new market confidence, the firm will provide communications strategies for the renewed growth that results., said Levick.

Levick said use of social media is a major firm-wide activity although it’s less of a factor for IR because of regulatory and discosure concerns. He noted there was reluctance to embrace websites for IR in the 1990s for that reason.

But firms adapted to the new channels and the same process is occuring now with SM, he said, noting that a reported 83% of brokers, with limited access to institutional research, get their investment ideas from reading articles.

Few financial services clients interface with individual investors via SM channels because of the distrust and disconnection created by the financial collapse and attendant reputational crises, said Levick.

But he feels the current alienation only suggests a greater role for SM in the near future as a tool for effective large-scale re-connection.

 
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