IPG’s Diamond ‘Cautiously Optimistic’ Given the Situation in Washington

Interpublic Group reported second quarter revenue of$1.74 billion, up from $1.61 billion for the same period in 2010. Organic growth was 4.7 percent; 4.2 percent in the U.S. and 5.5 percent around the world.

Operating income for the quarter was $174 million, which is actually down from $177.2 in 2010. For the half, operating income was $128.7 million versus $117.8 million in 2010.

For the first half, revenue totaled $3.22 billion, up from $2.95 billion in 2010 with organic revenue growth of 6.8 percent for the half. Organic revenue growth was 6.3 percent last year. For more detail about IPG’s earnings, click here.

IPG’s Constituency Management Group (CMG), which houses the PR firms, also continued on the positive path. IPG PR firms include Weber Shandwick, GolinHarris, and Carmichael Lynch. Organic growth for the company’s PR unit was 9.5 percent for the first six months of 2011 and 9.6 percent for the second quarter. Harris Diamond, CEO of the CMG, told us that even with these good results, the situation in Washington has him a little wary.

“It’s fair to say that based on these results, I’d obviously be really looking forward to continued strength,” he said this morning. “But given what’s going on in Washington, I’m cautiously optimistic rather than very optimistic.”

Diamond pointed to strengths in healthcare, corporate areas, consumer work, and technology during the first half. And social media has been a highlight, although it’s been “great additive work”; services provided on top of the traditional services the CMG firms provide. For Diamond, finding the sustained traditional work along with the digital work “answers a big question” of whether digital would replace traditional demand or supplement it.

Finally, Diamond commented on the overlap between marketing disciplines that we commented on just this week.

“It’s much more jump ball between the different marketing businesses, much more opportunity to come up with a good idea and take the lead,” he said. “It’s not just the advertising agencies. You can be the key group at the table. That’s what’s enhancing our posture with clients and also driving revenue.”