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Meropa Communications in Top 250 global PR agency list

Meropa Communications, South Africa’s largest independent national public relations consultancy has again been recognised as one of the 250 largest agencies in the world. Independent industry watchers, The Holmes Report, ranked companies by 2016 turnover and the number of employees in each firm. Its annual rankings published this week, list Meropa at 240 in the top 250, with annual turnover of US $4,69m – 34 per cent up on 2016 turnover of US$3,48m – and 80 employees.

Meropa is one of only two South African agencies on the list – and the only one judged on actual, not estimated, figures. It is the sixth time that Meropa has been ranked in the world’s top 250, and Meropa Managing Director Patrick Gearing said Meropa is ‘delighted’ to have made it onto the list again.

He said, ‘While we are tiny when compared to global behemoth Edelman which tops the list with a turnover of more than US $ 874 million and which employs more than 3700 people around the world, the strongest growth was recorded by independent agencies like Meropa.’

The Holmes Report now estimates the size of the global PR agency industry at $15bn, 7.4 per cent up from $14.2bn in 2015. The Top 250 PR firms reported fee income of around $11bn in 2016, and the world’s Top 10 account for $5.1bn of that – but only grew by 3.3 per cent on 2015. The report goes on to find that much of the rebound in growth can be attributed to considerably improved performance by independent PR firms, who increased fee income by 9 per cent on a constant currency basis to around $5bn.

Independent PR firm growth comfortably outstripped their publicly-held peers, a trend that has dominated recent PR industry history. ‘The fact that midsize independent firms continue to outperform the giant holding company agencies is clear evidence that the much-ballyhooed ‘consolidation’ of our industry is a chimera,’ the Holmes report said. It added, ‘Clients are increasingly looking for best-in-breed agencies in individual markets and for individual audience segments. As PR comes to be seen as more and more mission critical, this trend will continue and expand.’

Gearing said, ‘Meropa’s 34 per cent growth demonstrates this trend. Unlike awards, recognition such as Holmes’ ranking places a tangible value on the work we deliver for our clients. We are here to make a difference in our clients’ businesses and that difference is demonstrably world-class. ‘While we recognise that South Africa’s currency and economic issues are going to make it increasingly difficult to keep our place in a US dollar denominated list, we are delighted that our South African-owned and controlled, fiercely independent agency continues as a top 250 globally ranked agency. We have our clients and our staff to thank and we are very grateful to them,’ Gearing said.

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