CommonSense Blog

Putting the ‘W’ in W2O Group

By Aaron Strout | Aug 12, 2013

Nearly thirteen years ago, our CEO and chairman, Jim Weiss, opened up a small healthcare PR agency in San Francisco called WeissComm Partners. The employees were a mix of former clients and colleagues and the focus was on helping a few customers better communicate with their key stakeholders. At the time, Jim envisioned that the company would eventually grow to 350 employees or more and would ultimately diversify beyond just PR healthcare. Little did he know how right he would be.

Fast forward to present day and the firm has grown from a half a dozen to over 400 employees across seven different offices including London. The company did $62 million in revenue in 2012 and has grown at a annual compounded rate of 40% over the last several years. In addition to its strong health care base, the firm now enjoys a broad base of clients including Intel, Verizon, Procter & Gamble, Hersheys, Michaels Stores, Kraft, Warner Brothers among many others. The agency’s service offerings have also grown well beyond just PR and now include a heavy focus on analytics, digital, media and engagement and corporate strategy.

In keeping with all these changes, the company’s name has also evolved. In 2009, the name changed from WeissComm Partners to WCG. In 2012, a parent company was created called W2O Group with WCG, Twist Marketing and Brew Life (that latter of which are newly created agencies) sitting underneath. You’ll notice in each case, the “W” or “w” has been carried through to represent our CEO and Chairman’s last name.

Over the last few years, W2O has been fortunate to not only experience rapid growth but has also been the recipient of a number of awards including digital and healthcare agency of the year. We’re also excited that Jim Weiss, the “W” in W2O Group has been named to PRWeek’s 2013 Power 50 list. In celebration of that fact, I’m asking my fellow W2O-ers to share a sentence or two in the comments below on their favorite thing or memory (remember this is a public forum) of Jim Weiss or their time at W2O Group.

Are you with me?

  • Brian Reid

    More than 7 years ago, when I was considering leaving journalism, I had a prolonged, 6-month negotiation with another PR firm. As part of my last part of due diligence to understand this firm, I called Jim — who I had met in the hallways of many medical meetings — to get his take.

    “Why in the world wouldn’t you have come to me first?” he said. “I’ll find a place for you.” We never did get around to discussing that other firm.

    Prior to that point, I hadn’t known that Jim had, in the previous three years, built a staff of the best young PR people in health care. Once I realized that, I wanted in. Two weeks later, I had my “WeissComm Partner” business cards … and my first gig in PR.

  • Mark Bennett

    When I wrote about going on sabbatical ( I mentioned the time Jim and I went to see Van Halen… that was pretty cool, for sure. That aside, I’ve really appreciated his willingness to let people here take risks and explore new ideas — and that he’s direct and honest with feedback. Initially it was an adjustment for me to return to the agency side after years in-house. Jim helped me with that adjustment and it’s been great!