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IPG’s Harris Diamond: ‘Content Creation Is Now a Large Part of What We Do’

Interpublic Group reported its Q4 2011 and full-year earnings numbers this morning, with the company’s Constituency Management Group, the division that houses PR firms including Weber Shandwick and GolinHarris, showing organic growth of 9.8 percent for the year. CMG revenue for 2011 totaled $1.12 billion; revenue for the quarter totaled $321.1 million. In 2010, revenue for the year total $1.04 billion.

“When I look at the group as a whole, I would say that all of our PR businesses are performing really well,” said Harris Diamond, CEO of the CMG group.

Weber Shandwick has experienced a number of big changes lately, but all of the PR firms are contributing to CMG’s results Diamond said. Among the items he pinpointed specifically were GolinHarris’ g4 agency model, its acquisition of the UK-based digital and interactive firm FUSE, and DeVries‘ work with P&G.

Digital was, of course, a big business driver for the year. But more than that, Diamond said, “It’s not just social media, it’s engagement in any way possible.”

CMG, he added, is getting “deeper and deeper assignments” that allow for “more revenue opportunities as clients try to figure out how to best take advantage of the communications revolution.”

To that end, the ability to create content is crucial to the business.

“Content creation is now a large part of what we do,” Diamond said. “Today what we’re finding is that the opportunities for us to create content and distribute directly is giving us a great opportunity to reach consumers directly. Now that’s right in the wheelhouse of PR and it’s a terrific place to be.”

Publicis’ Maurice Lévy and WPP’s Sir Martin Sorrell have both pointed out how important events like the Summer Olympics will be to their businesses. Diamond looks beyond the big events this year and further into the future and says everyday events, like basketball and Linsanity will also impact the business because of the ways brands can connect with those “passionate fans.”

Overall, the holding company reported $7.01 billion in revenue for the year, up from $6.51 billion in 2010. Organic growth was at 6.1 percent.

Revenue for the fourth quarter totaled $2.07 billion versus $2.01 billion year-over year. For more information about the earnings results, click here.

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