World PR Report: PROI is largest independent partnership and 5th largest Agency Group
In a global industry estimated to be worth US$ 13.5 billion, PROI Worldwide stood out with a surge of 17.1% in global net fee income and continues to lead all integrated communications agencies in rate of growth according to the 2015 World PR Report produced by The International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO) and an industry ranking agency. PROI Worldwide’s growth rate compared to 8.7% for all independents, 3.5% for publicly owned multi-national firms and 5.3% for the four larger global holding companies.
PROI Worldwide’s dramatic 2014 growth follows on the heels of 21.9% growth in 2013 and occurs during a time when it continues to aggressively expand globally through organic growth, new client acquisitions, by growing existing digital, social media and other niche areas and by adding additional offices in existing and new markets.
Among its ranking of global holding companies, the 2015 World PR Report ranks PROI Worldwide’s 75 agencies as 5th in the world, larger than holding groups Publicis, Huntsworth and Havas. Compared to centrally owned multi-nationals, PROI Worldwide ranks third and is larger than FleishmanHillard, Ketchum, MSL Group, Burson Marsteller, Hill + Knowlton Strategies, Ogilvy and Golin. Among global networks of agencies, PROI Worldwide’s combined 2014 net fee revenue of more than US$ 615 million dwarfed Worldcom, its nearest competitor, which reported an increase in fees of 2.6% to US$ 288 million, IPREX with US $220 million and Next15’s with US $ 170 million in net fee income.
“PROI Worldwide’s growth and marketing strategy has not changed for many years and is a proven formula,” says Andreas Fischer Appelt, Global Chairman of PROI Worldwide and Managing Director of fischerAppelt, one of Germany’s largest agencies with clients around the world. “Our existing influential and leading edge independent agencies attract other high growth independent agencies which also tend to be the most dynamic agencies in their market and this is reflected in our 2014 growth rate.”
When it comes to growth “clients recognize our competitive edge and positioning in the local market,” adds Fischer Appelt. “Rather than dealing with a centrally owned multi-national, they like working with local agency owners who understand their market and who are directly aligned with the agency’s bottom line. As a result clients receive top level management attention and are well served.”
Explaining PROI Worldwide’s growth, founding partner and Global Managing Director, Allard W. van Veen says “our independent agencies are small, mid-size and very large so we are able to serve the needs of a large and diversified client base.” According to van Veen, PROI Worldwide’s strategic growth strategy, positioning and integrated approach allows it to explore, aggressively invest in growth areas and add services which contributes to accelerated growth and is usually a significant factor in the continued rapid growth of many of PROI Worldwide’s independent agencies.
Jean Leopold Schuybroek, PROI’s Director, Global Development, heads up the global team which identifies and evaluates potential PROI agencies. Schuybroek says that agencies whose strategic direction includes an integrated approach to services and a global view of the communications industry usually turn out to be the best agencies in a market. “These agencies understand their market and meet the standards of our brand.” Since PROI Worldwide has set a limit of 95 agencies worldwide “we are very selective as we continue to grow to ensure we have the expertise which our clients need in critical markets.”
Addressing the perception that only a centrally owned multinational agency has sufficient staff or experience to handle large global or regional accounts, PROI Worldwide Founder van Veen points out that many of the world’s 250 largest agencies are part of PROI Worldwide and a number of PROI agencies have staff of 4-600 people and are either the largest or top-5 agencies in their markets.
“This is certainly the case in APAC Region,” states Richard Tsang who chairs PROI Worldwide’s Global Development Group in APAC Region and who is Chairman of Hong Kong’s largest communications company SPRG Asia which also has offices in China and Taiwan. “Within APAC Region we count the largest agencies in India and Japan as well as large agency groups in Australia and New Zealand in addition to our partner agencies in Korea, Vietnam, Bangladesh and Singapore.”
van Veen adds “the World PR Report placed PROI Partners Adfactors PR in India and PRAP Japan among the top 10 fastest growing agencies in Asia Pacific, US based Finn Partners among the world’s 10 fastest growing agencies, and Wellcom in France among Europe’s 10 fastest growing agencies.”
PROI Worldwide was founded in Europe in 1970 and is the world’s first partnership of independent agencies. PROI Worldwide agencies operate globally, regionally and, increasingly, in sub-regional markets such as ASEAN, the Nordics, Central Europe, Latin America and other trading areas which mirror geographic markets established by clients. In addition PROI Worldwide operates in Practice Groups such as consumer, crisis, healthcare, business consulting and investor relations. In addition to doing business on a day to day basis, Agency heads meet and exchange industry information at annual Global Summit and at Regional Summits in APAC, The Americas and EMEA Regions. Its latest Global Summit was held in Cape Town in April and upcoming Regional Summits are being held later this year in Japan, Costa Rica and Belgium. Its 2016 Global Summit will be held in Atlanta in May, 2016.
The company’s board, in addition to Fischer Appelt, include Madan Bahal, Vice-Chairman, APAC Region, Fleur Madden, Vice-Chairman, APAC Region, Jeff Altheide, Vice-Chairman, The Americas Region, Ciro Reis, Vice-Chairman, The Americas Region, Dirk Aarts, Vice-Chairman, EMEA Region, Henning Sverdrup, Vice-Chairman, EMEA Region, Richard Tsang, Chairman, Global Development (APAC Region), Neil Green, Allard W. van Veen and Jean Leopold Schuybroek.