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Ketchum’s Kotcher and F-H’s Senay Talk Business

Following Omnicom’s earnings announcement yesterday, we spoke with Ketchum CEO Ray Kotcher about Q4 2010 and the year to come.

Kotcher called Q4 “the strongest quarter of the year.” The quarter and year was a good one for organic growth, with the firm winning 65 percent of the opportunities it was presented with. Among the new clients are Sony Playstation and Johnson Controls, and the firm grew its business with Pfizer, Kotcher told us. On top of that, there were acquisitions in China and Russia.

Kotcher broke down a list for us of what to watch for 2011. Plus, after the jump, commentary from Fleishman-Hillard CEO Dave Senay.

“I see the area of social media, digital media, and word of mouth continuing to perform,” Kotcher said. There’s been a “secular change in the way people communicate… with each other that’s not going to change. And PR is playing an important role in that.”

Also, research, measurement, and analytics will grow. Firms and their clients “want to make sure the work they’re doing is strategically sound and creating the ROI you’re looking for.”

Kotcher is also optimistic about the tech practice – the B-to-B, electronics, and established tech companies (IBM is one of the firm’s big clients) – and the continued need for corporate and crisis work.

We’ve also noticed a number RFPs and account wins floating around. “There’s been a bit of a lift from the economy,” Kotcher said. But he said the “lift” was the normal course of business for this time period as “clients are lining up their comms partners for the coming year. You’re also seeing PR taking on much more importance than it has in the past.”

Even with all the good news, Kotcher isn’t quick to jump to conclusions.

“While things are moving in a much better direction in the States and other parts of the world, there are still so many issues out there – geopolitical and economic issues – that we’re optimistic, but cautiously optimistic,” he said.

“Our growth rate in 2010 exceeded the reported revenue growth rate of Omnicom overall.  We were very happy,” F-H CEO Senay told us via e-mail.

Senay goes on to credit the network of Omnicom brands and the firm’s position as a “lead partner in an integrated solution, often on a multi-region level” for the great year, as well as good results from regions in North America and around the world.

So far this year, Senay wrote:

In 2011, we’re off to a fast start, already growing considerably and winning lots of business.  We’ve won 73 percent of pitches we’re involved in, representing 85 percent of available dollars of new business that goes beyond the RFI stage.  We’re on track to have our most prosperous new business quarter in our history.

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