Sometimes, it’s hard not to take a look back and say, “wow!” After last year’s accomplishments, I was pleased with where we were but with 2012 in our rear view mirror, I realize that we were just getting started. For one, we had an approximately 30 percent increase in revenue from $47.5 million in 2011 to $62 million in 2012. Our company now also now employs nearly 350 people compared with approximately 250 a year ago. That’s a lot of growth in a short period of time but it’s something that my colleague, W2O Group president, Bob Pearson, and I work very hard to manage on a day-to-day basis.
Over this past year, our sustained growth was driven by great people doing great work for great clients. We established our company, W2O Group in the middle of last year to commercialize new businesses and foster entrepreneurial ideas and risk-taking — with a net. We also formed Twist to add a new dimension to client marketing and W2O Digital to enhance a core competency and eventually reinvent the entire space. We invested in new technologies and platforms to envision, optimize and measure content and deliver visual storytelling in new and fresh ways. Finally, we evolved the next generation of our analytics offering to enable data-driven ‘communications engineering’ that helps our clients inform and drive their business more precisely with less guesswork.
In addition to broadening our core competencies, we now have nearly a dozen revenue streams, which modify our risk and provide our people with the entrepreneurial opportunities they are looking for. It also gives our clients the innovation, service and support in many of the areas they are not getting elsewhere in the marketplace. We are off to a strong start and anticipate achieving similar growth and continued expansion and diversification in 2013.
On top of all that I’ve already mentioned, our company also organically grew our foundational healthcare business and we introduced new capabilities in Corporate and Strategy and expanded our Technology and Consumer practices. We also continued to broaden our global footprint by enhancing our London and EU presence and strengthening, deepening and expanding our network in other key countries and markets around the world.
2012 and Recent Milestones
Notable accomplishments include the following:
- Ranked in Top 5 independent PR Firms in United States (source: O’Dwyer’s)
- Ranked in Top 30 among all PR firms globally; fastest growing in healthcare (sources: Holmes Report, PR Week)
- Grew Technology and Consumer practices and London office by more than 100% each
- Hired additional business leaders to drive increasingly diversified integrated global business grounded in analytics and expressed digitally, including:
- Maura Bergen, managing director, Twist, formerly of Ketchum and Novartis
- Kim Kraemer, managing director, business alignment and market planning, formerly of McKesson and Chiron
- Joe Lin, executive creative director, formerly of Saatchi & Saatchi and Digitas
- Cira Montreys, Ph.D., group medical director, former VP at Evolution Medical Communications
- Jamie Peck, co-head, W2O Digital, formerly of Rosetta Digital
- Jenn Samuels, managing director, WCG Healthcare 360, formerly of Saatchi & Saatchi and Medicus
- Christine Tadgell, managing director, London, formerly of Sanofi
- Acquired Austin-based digital agency VM Foundry and created W2O Digital
- Invested to make analytics towering strength of firm on global scale by adding new talent in multiple offices and acquiring London-based Mettle Consulting to build analytics products and offerings focused on reputation, trust and governance for growing Corporate and Strategy practice
- Launched BrewLife, a firm focused on the specific needs of entrepreneurial start-up companies and brands
- Acquired Partners in Medical Education specializing in direct to patient communications, education and advocacy
- Acquired big data company Ravel
- Partnered with SnapTrends to develop location-based analytics for its clients
- Created MDigital Life to help understand how physicians are using social media to improve patient health, the success of their practice and regain a voice in the healthcare system
- Sponsored and launched W2O Group/Newhouse Center for Social Commerce in partnership with Syracuse University
- Partnered with Internet Retailer to create Social Commerce 500 Index
So far, 2013 is off to a fantastic start and we are confident that we will once again “one up” what we did in 2012. It’s nice to take a few minutes, however, to look back at all the exciting things we accomplished in 2012.