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Top Public Affairs Firms in the World

by Minoas Vitalis
Reading Time: 4 minutes

In a world where perception is reality, it’s no wonder that public affairs and communications firms are some of the most sought-after businesses around. After all, these are the companies that help to shape public opinion, and policy and manage reputations –  things that can make or break any business.

So, who are the biggest public affairs and communications firms in the world? Here’s a look at some of the most well-known names in the industry:

Edelman

Edelman is one of the biggest firms in the industry, with more than 60 offices and 6,000 employees around the world. The company was founded in 1952 by Daniel Edelman and is headquartered in New York City. Its clients include major corporations, governments, NGOs, and non-profit organisations. Specifically, throughout its history, Edelman has worked with clients such as Microsoft, Unilever, Starbucks, Novartis, Adobe, among many others.

Edelman’s services include public relations, crisis communications, digital marketing, and strategic communications. Edelman became the first 1 billion dollars Communications agency in the world this past year. It is a family-run company with CEO Richard Edelman at the helm. Edelman has been awarded numerous awards in the past, including Cannes Lions Grand Prix awards for PR and has been designated by Glassdoor, at least five times, as one of the Best Places to Work.

An interesting fact about Edelman is that it was the first communications firm to recognise the importance of the digital world by launching a dedicated digital practice in 1995.

Burson Cohn & Wolfe

Burson Cohn & Wolfe is another one of the world’s largest communications and public affairs firms with a presence in 42 countries and over 4,000 employees around the globe, as of 2018.

The company can trace its roots back to when it was founded in 1953 by Harold Burson and Bill Marsteller and was known as Burson-Marsteller. It merged with another firm, Cohn & Wolfe, in 2018.It is now headquartered in New York City. Its clientele includes Fortune 500 companies, major corporations, NGOs, and governments. Some of its most notable clients include General Motors, Coca-Cola, Exxon, and Johnson & Johnson, among others.

The company offers a wide range of services including public relations, crisis communications, issues and reputation management, digital transformation, among others. It has also been the recipient of several awards for the campaigns it organises for its clients.

Ketchum

Ketchum is another large firm with a presence in around 70 countries in the world. The company was founded in 1923 and is headquartered in New York City. Ketchum’s clients include Fortune 500 companies, governments, NGOs, and associations. The company has worked with brands such as IKEA, Pfizer, FedEx, and IBM, among others. Ketchum offers services in the areas of public relations, digital marketing, advertising, media relations, and crisis communications. In 1996, Ketchum was acquired by Omnicom Group, one of the world’s largest marketing and communications holding companies.

FleishmanHillard

FleishmanHillard is another one of the big names in communications and public affairs with over 70 offices and nearly 8,000 employees globally. The company was founded in 1946 by Marion Hillard and Harold Fleishman and is headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri. Its clients include Fortune 500 companies, major associations, non-profit organizations, and government agencies. The company provides a wide range of services such as advertising, branding, crisis communications, digital marketing, media relations, and more. In recent years, FleishmanHillard has been named “Agency of the Year” by several publications, including PR Week and The Holmes Report.

Hill+Knowlton Strategies

Hill+Knowlton Strategies is another leading communications and public affairs firm with over 80 offices in more than 40 countries around the world. The company was founded in 1927 and is headquartered in New York City. It should come as no surprise that its client list includes Fortune 500 companies, major associations, and governments. Past clients have been Boeing, GSK, and Motorola, to name a few. The company has a wide range of services on offer such as public relations, crisis communications, digital marketing, media relations, and more. Hill + Knowlton has also been the recipient of numerous awards, including the “Consultancy of the Year” award by the Holmes Report.

Weber Shandwick

Weber Shandwick is a global public relations and communications firm with over 60 offices with more than 4,000 employees. The company is based in New York City. Weber Shandwick’s clients include some of the world’s largest companies, such as Mars, Mattel, Chevrolet, and Amazon. The company offers a wide variety of services, including public relations, crisis communications, digital marketing, media relations, and more. In 1998, Weber Shandwick was acquired by Interpublic Group, one of the world’s largest advertising and marketing holding companies.

Finsbury Glover Hering

Last but not least,  Finsbury Glover Hering (formerly known as Finsbury) is a global public relations and communications firm with offices in more than 10 countries. The company was formed in 2021. The company offers a wide variety of services, including public relations, crisis communications, digital marketing, media relations, and more. In 2018, Finsbury was acquired by 2001, the world’s largest advertising and marketing holding company.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are several large public affairs firms in the world that offer a wide range of services to their clients. These firms have extensive experience and resources that can be used to help companies, governments, NGOs, and associations with their communications needs. If you want to work in the field of public affairs or communications services, then one of these firms may be a good option for you.

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Minoas graduated with a Merit upon studying the full-time MPA Public Administration – International Development degree (MPA-ID) at the University of York. He is currently working as a freelance EU affairs consultant in Belgium.

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