Meropa Communications climbs global PR rankings

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Meropa up 20 places to become Africa’s leading independent agency

Meropa Communications has climbed 20 places – to 220 – in the 2018 global ranking of the top 250 global public relations firms.

Meropa is the top-ranked agency in both South Africa and Africa in the rankings just released by the authoritative industry-watch body, The Holmes Report. With growth of 10,5% in a global PR industry that grew just 5% in 2017, Meropa is now ranked the leading independent African agency. It is the seventh year running that Meropa has been listed as one of the top 250 global PR firms.

“We’re extremely proud that we moved up the rankings this year,” said Meropa CEO, Patrick Gearing. “It reflects not only our own growth as we continue to diversify our business, but a global trend for independent agencies to lead the industry.

The Holmes Report provides the clearest picture available of global PR industry size and growth based on submissions from more than 400 PR firms across the world. It estimates an industry worth $15bn in 2017, with the top 250 agencies contributing $11.7bn of that value.

However, industry growth – down from 7.4% in 2016 – was driven by growth in independents and by mid-sized agencies. The massive Top 10 firms, with $5bn, or a third of all estimated fee income, only grew by 0.9% — effectively their worst year since the global financial crisis of 2009. Mid-size agencies, defined as those with revenues of between US$ 50-250m grew by 6.1%, but only by 3.1% on a constant currency basis.

Independent agencies, albeit from a smaller base, continued to out-gun their large and mid-size peers growing 8.8% on constant currency terms to $5.3bn. Meropa at 10.4% was ahead of independent agency growth.

“In an environment of fast-paced change, it seems that while scale is helpful — at least on a national market level — the ability to adapt is also important,” said Holmes Report founder, Paul Holmes. “That is a benefit to firms in the middle market: large enough to provide integrated services, small enough to be nimble and flexible and entrepreneurial.”

“The days when bigger automatically equalled better appear to be over — mirroring, perhaps, trends across the business world in general,” the Holmes Report added.

Proudly independent and African, 51% black-owned Meropa Communications, with wholly owned offices In Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth, continues to evolve with the changing communications landscape, boasting a blue-chip client portfolio and some of the most important reputation management work on the continent.

“While we are a determinedly low-profile company and you won’t see our name in the usual awards places, we do enjoy peer recognition and independent acknowledgement of our good work,” explains Gearing. “Trophies don’t necessarily define great work – client success benefiting from our strategic contribution certainly does.”