The economy needs public relations.
PRWeek's annual listing of Agency revenue shows many firms enjoyed double-digit revenue growth in 2011 over the prior year.
As many experts predicted, companies around the world would turn to PR to help pull them out of the recession. What this year's Agency Business Report showed was clearly a year in which PR firms were now getting beyond the triage work and focusing on helping businesses grow. In a competitive market, PR firms continue to be a critical component in gaining market share and sales growth.
The rankings also indicate that companies continue to use multiple agencies for different PR efforts, particularly when it comes to social media. Specialty firms, many based in San Francisco, are evidence that specialty practices can and are surviving. Of course, it doesn't hurt that major corporations such as Apple and Google are based their, either. Innovation is contagious.
California continues to be home to many large agencies, although revenue for many either declined or was not as robust as with other agencies across the U.S. It would be interesting to know the CA revenue impact on FinnPartners (a "spinoff" from Ruder Finn after Ruder Finn after, among other things, the acquisition of the Rogers Group in 2011).
Like many lists, the PRWeek compilation is not comprehensive. Many "name" agencies are not on this list, and many public affairs shops simply don't feel compelled to enter these listings. It's always best to look at the Holmes Report and microsite for a truer picture of the global PR agency scene. If you are focused on the LA scene, the Los Angeles Business Journal tries its best to compile a ranking.