Omnicom PR Agency CEOs Give Perspective On Q4 Earnings

PRNewser caught up with Ketchum CEO and Senior Partner Ray Kotcher and Fleishman-Hillard President and CEO Dave Senay [pictured left] today to get their perspective on earnings reported by their holding company, Omnicom.

Both were bullish on PR growth and prospects for 2010.

“We’ve outperformed the sector within Omnicom and the industry generally each of last two quarters of 2009,” said Senay. “We won just over $100 million in new business in 2009, with about a 60% win rate on new accounts over $250,000.”

He added that about 60% of the agency’s new business wins came from existing clients in 2009. “We believe that kind of organic growth is a sign of good health,” he said.

Kotcher [pictured right] said Ketchum performance also “outpaced the industry” for the entire year. “I was able to get a good perspective on that having been chair of The Council of PR Firms for most of the year,” he said.

He also pointed out that clients are activating their budgets much more quickly in Q1 2010 than they did in Q1 2009. Kotcher cited a “marquee win” along with Fleishman-Hillard when the agencies picked up the Phillips Electronics business early in 2009.

That, combined with Q4 wins including Telefonica, Coopervision, Applied Materials, H&R Block and McCormick helped the agency meet all of its internal revenue targets and goals, he said.

However, Kotcher was quick to add that the PR industry is nowhere near out of the woods yet. “We are being conservative in our planning for 2010 because the economic signs are variable. It’s hard to say with any confidence that we’re through the downturn, but we have cause for optimism,” he said.

On the new business front, Senay said Fleishman has seen more social media agency of record RFPs and that the competitive landscape continues to morph. “We are going more and more into pitches against ad firms, branding firms, sometimes we’re linking with them,” he said.

Omnicom agency Porter Novelli declined to comment, citing a company policy to not comment on financial matters.