December 5th, 2018 / Insight posted in Articles

Design & branding tops marketing services sector, analysis of 2017 financial performance reveals

Design & branding has established itself as the top performing discipline among its peers, the Kingston Smith 2018 Annual Survey of the financial performance of marketing services companies reveals.

After improving for the second year running, design & branding, which has historically struggled financially compared to many other disciplines, is now leading the way in terms of profitability across all the individual marketing services disciplines, with an operating profit margin of 14.9%, compared to a broader sector average of 12%.

Commenting on the discipline’s rise to success, Ian Graham, partner at accountants and business advisers Kingston Smith and co-editor of the survey, says: “Design & branding has managed to overtake the more traditionally lucrative disciplines and appears to be on an upward curve.”

He explains: “Of course there are many possible contributing factors for this, but we credit agencies with moving towards providing more high level brand consultancy with more C-suite relationships. Design & branding agencies are also doing a good job of selling their services around the world, which has no doubt helped them steal a march on their cousins.”

Conversely the level of operating profits generated across the UK quoted groups decreased for the first time since 2013, falling by 6.6% with over half the sample seeing a reduction. However this didn’t stop the average director’s remuneration at the smaller groups increasing by 15%.

The key findings of the 2018 Kingston Smith Annual Survey, which is widely regarded as the marketing services sector’s ultimate financial benchmarking tool, were revealed to industry leaders from across the disciplines at an exclusive launch event at 1 Wimpole Street, London, on 28th November 2018.

Commenting on the Survey, keynote speaker at the event Sir Martin Sorrell, Executive Chairman of S4 Capital and former CEO of WPP, said: “The Kingston Smith Annual Survey is a very valuable look at the historic financial performance of the advertising and marketing industry, looking at the top 50 independent companies, the quoted sector and individual marketing disciplines. It’s produced by sector experts with thirty years of sector experience. It’s very well done.”

Further information about the 2018 Kingston Smith Annual Survey can be found here.