Regardless of popularity and reach, every brand should communicate with the public effectively. However, it may not be successful through in-house marketing efforts alone. And this is where PR agencies come in.
Top PR Agencies in the US
You may ask: what do public relations agencies do? In a simple context, PR agencies use varied methods to efficiently become the face and voice of the client it represents.
There are numerous PR agencies in the United States, and it could be a handful to go over these companies one by one. With the hope of lessening your marketing burden, we’ve curated a list of the top 15 best PR agencies in the US. Find out below.
First on the list is Edelman, which is the largest independent PR firm in the United States. Founded in October 1952 by Daniel Edelman, Edelman is an American marketing consultancy and public relations firm. The company is currently managed by Daniel Edelman’s son, Richard Edelman. Its headquarters is located in Chicago, Illinois.
Based on revenue, Edelman PR agency is the biggest public relations firm in the entire world. During its early days, Edelman’s clients were small business owners. Their biggest project was in 2008 with Symantec. The agency helped globally promote the renowned antivirus software brand, Norton, in more than 35 countries. Four years later, Heineken hired the firm to manage its Dos Equis brand and US corporate public relations.
Just a level short of Edelman is another successful PR firm—W2O Group. The agency provides its clients with marketing services via subsidiaries.
W2O is the second-largest PR firm by revenue according to the O’Dwyers yearly rankings of US PR agencies. In the healthcare sector, the firm claims the topmost spot. Early on, the company primarily focused on healthcare. However, recent analytics practice has played a bigger role.
According to PR Week, the firm’s most utilized services are analytics, CCX creative unit, and PR. Among W2O’s software products is an app that keeps data on doctors’ and patients’ online activities.
Weber Shandwick is the byproduct of the merging of Weber Group, Shandwick International, and BSMG PR agencies. It has 78 offices worldwide with its headquarters situated in New York. The PR firm has a whopping $500-million in revenue.
Weber Shandwick was able to work with Coca-Cola and Cigna. However, its most notable campaign was working with Microsoft to provide non-consumer PR support for Windows Client, Microsoft Dynamics, and others. Another remarkable campaign was in 2017 when the firm helped improve Egypt’s reputation in the United States.
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Finn Partners was established in December 2011. Being one of the world’s largest agencies, the firm now has 19 offices, covering three continents and over 800 colleagues. Finn Partners is a global communications and marketing firm.
In 2020, the company garnered the “Best Health Agency Medigy Healthcare and IT Marketing Community Award.” The top-notch achievement recognizes the firm’s life-changing and results-driven work within medical technology and digital health.
Burson Cohn & Wolfe
Back in February 2018, the WPP Group PLC announced the merger of its subsidiaries Cohn & Wolfe with Burston-Marsteller. Burson Cohn & Wolfe firm was then born, which remains as the world’s third-largest multinational communication and public relations agency. It operates in more than 42 countries with at least 4,000 employees.
The BCW PR firm promises its clients creative content alongside integrated communications services. It covers the following sectors: technology, healthcare, social responsibility, crisis management, public affairs, and more. The firm is visible across the Middle East, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Africa, and Latin and South America. In 2018, BCW gained possession of HZ—an integrated creative firm.
The APCO Worldwide firm is an independent global strategic communications and public affairs consultancy. Regarding its revenue, APCO isn’t on the first and second spots of this list. However, it’s recognized as the second-largest PR firm in the US that’s independently owned. Margery Kraus founded the firm in 1984 with its headquarters located in Washington D.C.
As opposed to what most public relations firms focus on, APCO mostly handles political and related crisis management problems. Most of the firm’s executives are former politicians, ambassadors, and government officials. Their clients are a pool of multinational corporations, government, and non-profit organizations. Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev previously hired the firm to liberate him from a four-year feud with Rakhat Aliyev, his former son-in-law.
Founded in 1998, Zeno Group is an advertising and public relations trading company. The firm offers corporate communications, healthcare, brand marketing, reputation management, and technology generation. Its former name was PR21 before it became Zeno Group in 2004.
Zeno Group received various awards in different categories:
- Creative Agency of the Year by Holmes Report-SABRE Awards
- Agency of the Year and Midsize PR Agency of the Year
Furthermore, the firm was nominated for its “No More Ties for Dad” and “Random Acts of Zhu” campaigns for different brands. The nominations were under telecommunications and blogger outreach brackets, respectively.
Ruder Finn is an outstanding public relations firm headquartered in the United States and China. The agency was established in 1948 by David Finn and Bill Ruder. Since then, the firm has established a digital practice that helps clients build and protect their reputation online—the RFI Studios.
Ruder Finn’s first-ever client was Perry Como, a famous Italian-American singer. With time, it extended its services to government agencies and consumer products. In the 1960s, the agency curated a PR campaign for Philip Morris, depicting the bad effects of tobacco smoking. In 1997, the firm ran the Global Climate Coalition campaign, a group of US businesses opposing the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Ruder Finn also won several Big Apple Awards, PRSA Bronze Anvils, SABRES, and PRWeek Awards.
Formerly known as MWW, MWWPR is a firm that specializes in digital marketing and government relations. It also caters to corporate communications, visual branding, technology, healthcare, and sustainability. The agency’s headquarters are located in New York and New Jersey.
In 2012, MWWPR made headlines for a PR campaign on Brigadier General Jeffrey Sinclair’s behalf. Sinclair was a former deputy commander of the 82nd Airborne Division and was charged with sodomy and sexual misconduct. The agency launched a website that contained all documents in favor of Sinclair and made it available to the public.
Another notable client was the Macas Media Group, a Los Angeles-based LGBT marketing firm. Because of this acquisition and its open support of the LGBT community, MWWPR received the “Gay And Lesbian Victory Fund’s 2014 Corporate Leadership Award.”
5W Public Relations
5W is a New-York based agency that offers a wide range of PR services. Its primary focus is consumer products, health, fashion, travel, sports, and entertainment. Like other PR agencies, 5W caters to public affairs and government relations, crisis communications, and digital marketing.
The firm has garnered awards, including:
- PR Executive of the Year
- PR Agency of the Year
- Business to Business Program of the Year
- Product Launch of the Year
5W has worked with small-time and big-time corporations, including L’Oreal Professional, Welch’s, Loacker, Zeta Global, and other prominent companies. If your brand is geared towards beauty and fashion, you may check out our Beauty Clout review. This will help you build a targeted influencer marketplace online along with your PR efforts.
IMRE LCC is an independently-owned firm with offices in Los Angeles, New York, Baltimore, and Philadelphia. The agency primarily focuses on digital marketing, paid media, and social responsibility. It comprises of the health practice and consumer practice strand—with knowledgeable experts for each division.
Other IMRE LCC services are brand building, rebranding, customer experiences, and LOE brand programs. Its notable clients include Toyota, Dickies, California Pizza Kitchen, Marriott, and Kwikset. The company has been consistently picked by Baltimore Sun as the “Top Place to Work” and was awarded “Best Employer in Sports.”
Hill+Knowlton Strategies is a globally-known public relations company. The firm’s headquarters is currently in New York and it has 80 offices in more than 40 countries. The company provides services in public affairs, digital communications, corporate advisory, content development, and risk management. It also provides product launch support, global brand positioning, grassroots campaigning, and M&A consulting services.
From 2008 to 2012, the firm worked for Sierra Leone’s Special Court. The goal was to drive attention towards the court’s work in prosecuting Sierra Leone’s war criminals. In 2013, H+K made it to PRWeek’s list of “great works of the last 15 years.”
Ogilvy is originally a British agency that’s now situated in New York City. The company’s services include six areas: advertising, customer engagement, public influence, brand strategy, digital transformation, and partnerships.
In 1994, Ogilvy replaced other companies and became IBM’s only agency for its branding and marketing ventures. It launched the worldwide campaign, Solutions for a Better Planet, for IBM’s rebranding.
FTI Consulting is one of the largest financial firms in the world. It focuses on economic consulting, corporate finance, forensic and litigation consulting, and strategic communications.
The PR firm has long-established ties and relationships with several organizations in varied fields. Currently, it brags of its membership in the World Economic Forum.
Last but definitely not least is the Fleishman Hillard PR agency. Alfred Fleishman and Robert Hillard founded the firm in 1946 with a bounty of 111 offices in 29 countries.
The agency bagged a trophy during the inaugural Asia-Pacific SABRE Awards for building a global brand of China’s tech giant, Huawei. The campaign made headlines in China, where BusinessWatch dubbed Fleishman as one of the “10 rapidly growing companies in the nation.”
PR agencies can work for you
As to the question of who are the top international PR companies, you probably know the answer by now. The pool of PR agencies is indeed huge and deep. And many competent agencies are vying for your attention.
You may ask: how do I find a good PR agency? The answer ultimately relies on your business needs, goals, and values. Your marketing budget can also be a factor. But whatever endeavor you’ll take, always take the time to scrutinize every company that comes your way. Establish a good relationship with your chosen agency to ensure a long-term commitment and successful campaign.
Want to find a firm that specializes in online marketing? Check our “List of the Best Social Media Marketing Agencies” to get started.