Cohn & Wolfe

Donna Imperato, Chief executive officer

Report by Donna Imperato (above)
Chief executive officer

It was an historic year for Cohn & Wolfe, one of significant growth through merger and acquisition, exciting change and new opportunities. Through our acquisition of leading European technology agency, AxiCom, and our successful merger with Grey Group’s public relations network, GCI Group, Cohn & Wolfe became a true global competitor with expertise across all practice areas and offices in 55 markets.

The new Cohn & Wolfe integrates a great entrepreneurial spirit with the expanded reach, capabilities and infrastructure of a leading global agency. Our ‘entrepreneurial enterprise’ comprises a rich creative heritage, market-leading digital capabilities, a deep client portfolio and an amazing roster of talent. There is a palpable energy and enthusiasm all across our network as our people strive to fulfill the promise of our expanded reach and capabilities.

On the new business front, we had a good year despite the many merger-related demands. Our enriched offerings helped land prestigious accounts that span multiple markets and regions. In 2008, we added Abbott Pharmaceuticals, Axa Insurance, Bank of America, Bayer Pharmaceuticals, Blu-Ray, Boehringer Ingelheim’s Oncology franchise, ExxonMobil, Ferraro, GE Energy, Husqvarna, Illyco, Major League Baseball, McNeil Consumer Health, Nivea, SanDisk, Virgin Atlantic and Zillion TV.

In the US, we solidified our position as a market leader in the consumer and healthcare sectors. Our digital media practice created pioneering work for Dell, Darden Restaurants, Nike, SanDisk and other marquee brands. The AxiCom acquisition gives us tremendous technology capabilities on both sides of the Atlantic. Our Sustainability and Energy practices are among the most respected in their industries. And the merger created a strong regional platform across EMEA which proved critical in winning new business, and will position us well for 2009 and beyond.

open quoteThere is a palpable energy and enthusiasm all across our network as our people strive to fulfill the promise of our expanded reach and capabilitiesclose quote

Informed creativity continues to be the hallmark of our programming – and our success. We again invested in internal programs that ensure our ideas are not only inspired but effective. Our Creative Catalyst Network is a worldwide incubator of ideas – a community of creative thinkers brainstorming virtually via The Den, our employee intranet. To recognize the great creative work across Cohn & Wolfe, we launched the Charlie Farley Awards, named for our beloved and late creative director. And our Brand Planning group continues to fuel the creative process and keep every idea relevant with market intelligence and brand insights.

We are proud to have won the prestigious WPPED Cream award in 2008 for best Public Relations campaign within WPP and shared in winning the WPP Partnership award for our Shanghai office’s Ford Excitement Program. The Holmes Report again named us a Best Agency to Work For and I was honored to appear on PRWeek’s Power List and named as the One-to-Watch in 2009. San Francisco and global Sustainability practice leader, Annie Longsworth, was named Top 40 Under 40 talent in the annual PRWeek rankings. Our client work won several Sabres and Silver Anvils while our Stockholm office won one of the very first Golden Egg awards for public relations.

We’re also excited about the formation of GCI Health, a new global healthcare public relations firm born from the merger with GCI. GCI Health is renowned for high-science expertise, handling clients’ most difficult challenges, creating and implementing ROI-generating product marketing strategy and pioneering the digital landscape in healthcare. The agency currently serves some of the largest healthcare companies in the world as well as hospitals, non-profits, associations, medical devices, institutions and more.

2009 promises to be a challenging time for businesses across all industries – but we are determined to achieve our goals as a new global competitor. Demonstrating the value of our work will be critical to our success. We are well-equipped to do this, and will continue to invest in our people and offerings to cement our industry leadership position. It’s an exciting time to be a part of Cohn & Wolfe.