Forefront Communications

Insider: Top 18 Boutique PR Firms That Are Winning Big Clients Like Lancôme, Walmart, and T-Mobile

Amanda Perrucci

Amanda Perrucci

Forefront Communications was recognized as one of the top 18 boutique PR firms across the US in a list based on clients, influence, and impact.

While big firms and holding companies make headlines, smaller firms form the backbone of the public-relations business.

Boutique agencies can specialize in categories like travel, fashion, or technology or take a generalist approach with clients across segments.

For agency owners, staying small offers benefits like manageable overhead, personal involvement in client work, and ability to choose who to represent.

For clients, boutique firms pitch closer attention from senior leadership, more agile execution of campaigns, and lower fees than larger agencies.

And while the pandemic devastated the PR industry in general, lean and nimble operations helped many small firms through the turbulence.

Insider identified 18 top boutique PR firms across the US, based on their clients, influence, and impact.  To choose the firms on this list, we spoke with journalists, clients, in-house PR pros, and owners of larger agencies who often work with boutique firms.

The PR industry’s professional associations do not have an official definition of “boutique” or a tally of smaller firms. We limited our selection to independent firms that are still led by their founders, have 25 or fewer employees, and up to $10 million in revenue.

Forefront Communications

Along with media relations, Mark Dowd and Eric Soderberg’s 12-person shop specializes in messaging and brand identity for its 24 financial-technology clients like Toronto Stock Exchange, Eventus, Confluence, Dash Financial, and Xignite.

Forefront’s focus has paid off with 25% growth in consecutive annual billings since its 2016 debut. The category has also remained bulletproof through the pandemic, and it’s hiring.

Forefront’s size “enables us to provide a level of account coverage that we struggled to find when we worked on the client side,” Dowd told Insider. “A day-to-day contact who has sat in the CMO seat would be hard to get from a larger agency, but that’s exactly what we offer.”

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