PROI Worldwide Closing in on US One Billion in Revenue
World PR Ratings: PROI is largest among multi-nationals
and the 5th largest Agency Group
PROI Worldwide increased its 2018 net fee income by 10% to almost US$ one billion, making it the largest global communications company compared to other multi-national agencies and the fifth largest when compared to the world’s leading communications holding companies according to statistics released by The Holmes Report, one of the world’s leading industry rating organisations. PROI’s growth compares with a 5% overall increase of the global public relations industry estimated at totalling US$15.5 billion.
PROI Worldwide’s 75 integrated independent Agencies, serving a total of 8,173 clients with 6,417 staff scattered among its 165+ offices around the world, continue the trend of outgrowing their competitors. Compared to PROI’s growth of 10%, the world’s other largest public relations firms grew by 4.9% and the Big 4 holding groups’ fee income grew by a meagre 3.3%.
Among its ranking of global holding companies, PROI Worldwide’s 75 agencies rank as 5th in the world, larger than holding groups Publicis, Blue Focus, Huntsworth, Next 15, IPREX and Havas. Compared to centrally owned multi-national public relations firms, PROI Worldwide is in first place, larger than Edelman, Weber Shandwick, Burson Cohn & Wolfe, FleishmanHillard, Ketchum, MSL Group, H + K Strategies, Ogilvy PR Worldwide, Blue Focus, Brunswick and Golin.
Compared to global networks of independent agencies such as Worldcom and IPREX, the PROI Worldwide partnership’s consolidated 2018 revenue of US$ 954+ million continued to dwarf its network competitors.
Increased Demand, Knowledge Sharing and Flexibility are Benefits
“PROI Worldwide Agencies benefited from increased demand in all sectors and services including healthcare, reputation, crisis, issues and change management, digital and content marketing communications and social media,” said Clare Parsons, PROI Worldwide’s Global Chair and Chair of London-based reputation management consultancy, Lansons.
Parsons believes that PROI’s ability to share knowledge globally and its flexibility contributes to independently held PR agencies outperforming their publicly owned peers in growth. She added that PROI Worldwide continues to lead in business outcomes but also by assisting its agencies to grow. “We have incredibly strong relationships between our offices and staff exchanges are the norm. This allows us to share knowledge about business sectors as well as cultural norms which differ around the world and both our staff and our clients benefit.”
Integrated Services, Global View and Strong Local Offering Accelerates Growth
“PROI Worldwide’s growth and marketing strategy is a proven formula,” says PROI Worldwide’s only remaining founding partner Allard W. van Veen who has been PROI’s Global Managing Director since 1993. He explained that PROI Worldwide’s successful process when adding new agencies within the global group continues to focus on finding the most dynamic agencies in their market. In addition to operating globally, PROI focusses on regional and sub-regional markets such as ASEAN, the Nordics, Central Europe, Africa, Latin America and other trading areas which mirror geographic markets established by its clients. In addition, PROI Worldwide operates in Practice Groups including consumer, crisis, healthcare, business consulting, financial and investor relations.
Van Veen added that PROI Worldwide’s ongoing success also has its downside. “Our agencies are increasingly being targeted for acquisition by the major global players.”
Expanding Footprint in Africa and South America
Jean Leopold Schuybroek, PROI’s Director, Global Development heads up the global team which identifies and evaluates potential PROI agencies. Schuybroek, former Global President of The International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO) which represents more than 3,000 public relations consultancies around the world, says that PROI will be expanding its footprint in Africa and South America in 2019-20.
“PROI’s focus will be on identifying agencies whose strategic direction includes an integrated approach to services and a global view of the communications industry,” says Schuybroek, adding “these agencies understand their market and how it is evolving, making them the fastest growing and best agencies and they usually meet the standards of our PROI Worldwide brand.”
Due to PROI’s diversity in the size of its independent local agencies, some of the world’s largest, PROI agencies are often much larger than their multi-national counterparts in markets. While most independent agencies are reluctant to compete for multi-national accounts, reflecting the perception that only a centrally owned multinational agency has enough staff or experience to handle large global or regional accounts, PROI agencies compete with multi-national competitors daily.
According to Global Managing Director van Veen, clients recognize PROI Worldwide’s competitive edge and positioning in local markets. “Many clients prefer working with local agency owners who not only understand their market but who are also directly aligned with the client’s, and their agency’s, bottom line.”
World’s First Global Public Relations Partnership Marks 50th Anniversary in 2020
PROI Worldwide, which was founded in Europe in 1970, is the world’s first partnership of independent agencies and will mark its 50th Anniversary in 2020 in London, England where it was founded before moving to the US in 1993.
In addition to doing business which each other on a day to day basis, Agency heads meet and exchange industry information daily and at annual Global and Regional Summits in its APAC, The Americas and EMEA Regions. PROI’s next Global Summit will be held in London in May 2020 and Regional Meetings will be held later this year in Detroit, Kuala Lumpur and Prague.
The company’s Global Management Board, headed by Parsons, includes Lena Soh-Ng, Vice-Chairman, APAC Region, Angela Scaffidi, Vice-Chairman, APAC Region, Lisa Ross, Vice-Chairman, The Americas Region, Laura Tomasetti, Vice-Chairman, The Americas Region, Kaija Pohjala, Vice-Chairman, EMEA Region, Rania Azab, Vice-Chairman, EMEA Region, Ciro Reis, South American Region, Global Managing Director and Founding Partner Allard W. van Veen and Director of Global Development Jean Leopold Schuybroek.
About PROI Worldwide
PROI Worldwide, the world’s largest partnership of integrated independent communications agencies, was founded in Europe in1970. Its 76 Agencies have offices in more than 165 cities encompassing 50+ countries across five continents. PROI Worldwide is the largest global communications industry brand and rated 5th largest among communications holding groups in the world with more than 6,417 staff servicing 8,200+ clients worldwide and 2018 net fee income approaching US$ one billion.