Spectrum Science Communications, Imre, LLC and W20 Group powered O’Dwyer’s list of Top 25 independent PR firms to a 12.9 percent rise in combined 2018 fee income to $2.1B and a 10.7 percent jump in employment to 11,702, according to O’Dwyer’s Rankings of PR Firms.

According to O’Dwyer’s, D.C.-based Spectrum “earned the top gainer spot because “we renewed our focus on clients and increased capabilities in key areas to ensure we are delivering best-in-class interwoven programs in the evolving communications landscape,” according to president Michelle Gross, (pictured above).

“In 2018, Spectrum saw the ahead-of-schedule completion of its sale to CEO Jonathan Wilson and established a new framework around four key pillars: strategy, engagement, innovation and creative.

“The firm reorganized leadership into a new strategy council consisting of Wilson, Gross, Rob Oquendo (chief innovation officer), Michelle Strier (chief strategy officer), Scott Chesson (COO) and Jon Higgins (chief engagement officer).

“Gross said Spectrum is positioned to take on the future of health and science communications—a space where it sees the overlap between marketing and communications disciplines expanding and the importance of taking a science-first perspective.

“”As we move beyond simply integrated teams to interwoven client-centric teams—with our scientists, creatives, media specialists and account teams working in lockstep to deliver for clients every day and setting the agency model of the future—our uncompromising focus on client service and strategy rooted in science and innovation remain unchanged,” she said.”

Baltimore-based Imre, “the No. 2 leading gainer” stated O’Dwyer’s, “attributed a portion of its success to  a “fiercely independent business model that clients find attractive when seeking an agency partner.”

“Noting that the shop has hired people with diverse backgrounds, Dave Imre said, “We’ve especially doubled down on strategy to bring more true human insights to the table. And we’ve also seen the industry renew its creative focus on leading with ideas, followed by technology, which we’ve always done. The best ideas resonate with people and we’ve often seen them attract a lot of earned media as a result.”

“In 2018, Imre acquired JMPR, which has more than 40 years of experience in the automotive sector. That deal “has helped us bolster our integrated approach for clients and we expect to see that addition continue to support our growth in 2019 and beyond,” said Imre.”

Edelman topped the list of independent firms with income of $888.4M (down 0.6 percent).

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