Report by Donald A. Baer
Worldwide chair and chief executive officer
In 2016, we continued strengthening and combining the two pillars of our growth strategy – world-class strategic counseling and cutting-edge integrated communications – to build a fully modernized firm. On both fronts, we won significant business from current and new clients.
Leading corporations and business associations chose us to spearhead major campaigns aimed at their most important reputational challenges. We reignited our US government work, winning major federal contracts. New clients tapped our crisis capabilities to cope with particularly controversial situations. And we continued to deepen our capabilities in evidence-based, content-driven, creative work, building out our StudioB across our global network while collaborating with our polling arms Benenson Strategy Group and Penn Schoen Berland, and our media partnership arm Palisades Media Ventures.
New offerings introduced in 2016 included Burson-Marsteller Advantage Women, which helps organizations further their goals to close the gender gap and create opportunities for women to rise as leaders. We also added a higher education specialty that helps college and university administrations handle the new wave of social issues sparking debate and unrest on campuses across the US.
Adding more world-class strategic communications professionals, building state-of-the-art integrated social media and creative services and deepening strengths to help clients address 21st century needs helped lead to a 44% year-over-year increase in awards for our work, including being named Large Agency of the Year in the US by PR News. We are proud of the progress we have achieved, building on a culture rooted in performance, urgency and progress.