BOOM. CRACK. Sparkle, sparkle, sparkle. It’s the deafening jingle we all look forward to hearing the fourth day of the seventh month every year.
While it seems the twinkling cacophony has become nothing more than a prompt for nationwide “oohs” and “ahhhs” — and incantations of “I think that’s the finale…oh wait, no, that’s the finale,” — we mustn’t forget the reason for the season, the thing the Revolutionists fought so hard for some 230 years ago:
Independence is a beautiful word that means so many things, like freedom to self-govern, to be free from outside control, to own one’s own business.
So in the spirit of Independence Day, we’d like to virtually high-five those courageous PR souls who took on the challenge of operating independently, and are now killin’ it.
Edelman is by far the biggest and most well-known independent firm, leading the pack with innovation — it’s latest being a shift from public relations to “public engagement.” The global firm with more than 5,000 employees credits its success to its independence:
“Coupled with our size, our independence grants us the leeway and competency to pursue and implement the broadest range of ideas and actions, and to lead the way forward. We remain in control over our destiny and have had the independence to take risks, wrestle with disruption and invest back into the business.”
Well, if that statement doesn’t make you want to throw your hands up and sing along to Destiny’s Child’s 2000 hit, I don’t know what will.
But why be independent? Why say nay to supply of outside funds that could help sustain your firm?
For starters, it means control over decision-making. As the folks at Edelman pointed out, independence means freedom to take risks, to celebrate entrepreneurial spirit, without having ideas potentially curbed by outside influencers.
For PR pros especially, it means a stronger relationship with clients. When your revenue depends solely on your clients, you bet your bottom dollar that you’re going to work your hiney off to deliver outstanding results.
Of course, Edelman isn’t the only strong, independent PR firm who don’t need no shareholders. Check out these PR firms that are privately-held and rocking.
Cooperkatz & Company, Inc., a New-York based agency, has been independent since its establishment in 1996. The cool cats at Cooperkatz (had to #sorrynotsorry) have won industry awards including the SABRE, “Best Agency of the Year” and “One of the Best Agencies to Work For” by The Holmes Report.
They operate on an equation they call the Success Formula:
efficient discovery + smart strategy + disciplined creativity + flawless execution = exceptional results
(See! We told you PR pros can do math.)
DKC is another independent firm that’s kicking butt. Headquartered in the Big Apple, the firm’s claim to fame is its small-boutique-feel/large-corporation-results business model. The team is made of senior-level advisors who to provide attentive service, while operating with the “bandwidth of a large corporation.”
Lou Hammond & Associates, has grown from a three-person New York operation in 1984 to a privately-held global juggernaut. Like Edelman, LH&A puts it independence at the core of its success:
“LH&A resolves to remain true to our entrepreneurial roots, to maintain our vision and that of our clients. We respond swiftly and effectively to client needs, not as slaves to technology, but as innovative and independent masters of it.”
Get down with yo bad self.
French | West | Vaughan also deserves a shoutout. The nation’s 21st largest independently-held PR firm according to O’Dywers, FWV has won titles including #1 PR firm in the Southeast by O’Dwyer’s (for the 11th consecutive year), National Agency of the Year (four times) and one of the Top 20 Best Creative Agencies.
The list could go on, be we don’t want to distract you any longer from enjoying hot dogs, twinkly lights, and other stereotypical emblems of this great American holiday.
What it boils down to is independence is a powerful thing. In 2014, The Holmes Report found that independent firms overall experienced a more than 12% growth compared to the 4% average growth for public relations operations of major holding companies.
Could this be a trend toward independence? Or more of a testament to the profit of the free entrepreneurial spirit? (We could cull data to answer this question, but let’s leave it be for rhetorical effect). Either way, we’d like to acknowledge those independent firms who are sticking to this core American value and doing their thang on their own.
Keep on keepin’ on and Happy Fourth of July!