Ewan Larkin
Feb 23, 2024

Edelman global revenue falls 3.7% to $1.04 billion in 2023

The independent agency’s performance was impacted by a 9.1% decrease in the US, while Asia-Pacific rose by 1.7%, with Korea, India and Singapore all posting gains.

Richard Edelman: 'More animal spirits' now than 2023. (Photo credit: Getty Images).
Richard Edelman: 'More animal spirits' now than 2023. (Photo credit: Getty Images).

Edelman’s global revenue slid 3.7% in terms of constant currency growth to $1.04 billion in 2023, hurt by a weak performance in the U.S. 

In terms of actual growth, global revenue fell 3.9%. The totals include United Entertainment Group, data and intelligence shop Edelman DXI, financial boutique Edelman Smithfield and public affairs consultancy Edelman Global Advisory, but not sister DJE Holdings agency Zeno Group

Edelman’s US revenue dropped to $639 million last year, a 9.1% decrease in terms of both constant currency and actual growth. This was primarily due to declines in practices where clients in the region made budget cuts, including healthcare, technology and financial services, said CEO Richard Edelman. 

The 2023 results are in comparison to a more favorable 2022 calendar year, when the agency saw revenue increase by 12.8% globally and 13.8% in the US.

“The US is the reason we’re down 3.7% for the year,” said Edelman, adding that the region comprises 60% of the agency’s business. The agency highlighted Dallas-Houston (7%) and Miami (17.7%) for their positive performances.

Canada revenue declined 2.3% to $32 million on a constant currency basis. EMEA was up 7.1% to $229 million, boosted by 23.7% growth in the Middle East; Asia-Pacific rose 1.7% to $103 million; and Latin America increased 29.7% to $35 million. 

The agency’s UK region increased revenue by 3.6% to $113 million. Belgium revenue was up 33.7%, boosted by the acquisition of Landmark Public Affairs; Germany rose 6.7%; and Ireland jumped 19.3%. 

In Asia-Pacific, Korea (23.5%), India (18%) and Singapore (7%) all posted gains. Colombia (45.9%) and Brazil (32.5%) were strong growth contributors in LatAm. 

Edelman mentioned declines in practices where clients made “substantial budget cuts,” including healthcare (12%), technology (8%) and financial services (14%). He said that food and beverage increased 15%.

Edelman had 6% growth amongst its top 100 clients, which include Microsoft, Starbucks, DP World and HP, during 2023. The agency picked up work from White Claw parent Mark Anthony Brewing and served as the primary communications agency for global climate conference COP28 in Dubai, Edelman said.

One of the agency’s standout campaigns in the US was its Dupe Swap initiative on behalf of Lululemon. Edelman is also helping Allegra launch Allegra Airways, a mapping tool that allows users to plot routes with the best air quality, in March.   

The firm lost a global account with Advanced Micro Devices last year, and also had some pullback from clients like Paypal, Adobe and Samsung. 

In July 2023, the firm laid off 4% of its total workforce, or about 240 employees. Edelman said he doesn’t expect to make any job cuts this year because the agency is “running a better business.”

“I think Edelman’s going to get back to growth in 2024,” he said. “Going into 2023, there was a lot of expectation of recession. Clients [spent] less and made efficiency plays by bringing work [in-house]. I don’t see that now. I see more animal spirits.” 

Edelman made several key hires last year, including Alex Thompson as global chair of corporate affairs and impact; Tyler Vaught as global head of influence; Brian Buchwald as global head of product, trust data and technology; Ryan Burke as head of global procurement strategy; and Paola Podestá as GM of Argentina. 

It also promoted Margot Edelman to GM of New York and elevated Taj Reid to U.S. chief creative officer. Kirsty Graham was promoted to U.S. CEO in January, three months after the region’s former chief executive Lisa Ross left the agency

Edelman veteran Dave Samson also exited the firm in 2023. The agency has lost several executives to Interpublic Group agency and rival Weber Shandwick over the past year, such as US COO Jim O’LearyGMs Jordan Rittenberry and Will Crain and MD of US corporate brand and reputation Sheila Mulligan

This story was updated with additional information. 




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