In a global industry estimated to be worth US$ 12.5 billion, independent integrated communications agencies are leading the way in growth according to The World PR Report produced by The Holmes Report and The International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO). Globally PROI Worldwide stood out with a surge of 21.9 per cent in global net fee income compared to 12.5 per cent for all independents, 6 per cent for publicly owned multi-national firms and 4 per cent for the “big four” global holding companies. In India, PROI Worldwide’s independent Agencies, Adfactors and Integral PR, were placed among the top 10 fastest growing agencies in Asia Pacific.
Globally, The World PR Report places PROI Worldwide’s 66 agencies, with combined 2013 net fee revenue of US$ 513 million, fifth in size among both global holding companies and centrally owned multi-nationals and first among other global networks of agencies. PROI’s nearest competitor among networks, Worldcom, with almost double the number of agencies than PROI, had revenue of US$ 281million, a decrease of 18.1 per cent over 2012.
“PROI Worldwide’s growth and marketing strategy is centred on attracting the most influential and leading edge agencies. They are usually also high-growth and the most dynamic agencies in the market,” says Germany’s Andreas Fischer Appelt, Global Chairman of PROI Worldwide and owner of the agency bearing his name with 7 offices in Germany, an office in Qatar, and major clients around the world. “Serving a larger and more diversified base of clients allows us opportunities to explore and add services usually leading to accelerated growth.”
“We have set ourselves a limit of 95 agencies worldwide. With 66 agencies already we are now carefully examining where we still need to be and where we need to bolster additional expertise and capabilities within PROI Worldwide,” added Fischer Appelt. “Real growth is smart growth and that requires a thorough understanding of each market and which agencies meet the standards of our brand.”
“Clients recognize our competitive edge and positioning in the local market,” said Fischer Appelt and added, “Rather than dealing with a centrally owned multi-national, they are able to work with local agency owners who understand their market and who are directly aligned with the agency’s bottom line which only improves when clients receive top level management attention and are well served.”
Addressing the perception that only a centrally owned multinational agency has sufficient staff or experience to handle large global or regional accounts, Fischer Appelt points out that 21 of the world’s 250 largest agencies are part of PROI Worldwide and many PROI agencies handle global and regional accounts. Individual PROI agencies have annual fee revenue as high as US$75 million, staff of 4-600 people and many are the largest or top-3 agencies in their markets. PROI’s current combined revenue of US$ 525+ million also places it fifth among the top 250 agencies in the world, just behind MSL Group and FleishmanHillard and trailing Weber Shandwick and Edelman, the largest agency whose revenue is US$746 million.
“We expect our growth to continue,” adds Fischer Appelt and he points to Asia Pacific where The World PR Report has placed both of PROI’s agencies in India among the top 10 fastest growing agencies in Asia Pacific and identified other PROI agencies recording record growth in the Americas and Europe. “There are also many PROI agencies not included in the ranking list that are encountering significant growth as we grow our global practices in Analytics, Healthcare, Crisis and Consumer.”
As PROI Worldwide starts to plan for its next PROI GLOBAL SUMMIT in Cape Town in April, 2015, emphasis on growth is focussed on Africa and a number of other growing markets around the world