Ketchum is one of the world's largest PR firms. The unit of advertising giant Omnicom operates through more than 100 offices spanning nearly 70 countries in the Americas, Asia, and Europe. Ketchum operates through five practices: brand marketing, corporate communications, food and nutrition, health care, and technology. The company also has specialty areas devoted to digital, global research, clinical trial recruitment, and change management, while Ketchum Sports & Entertainment unit forges relationships between brands and Hollywood, assists with contract negotiations for celebrities, and negotiates spokesperson appearances. The firm was founded in 1923 by Pittsburgh-based fundraiser George Ketchum.
Ketchum strives to achieve growth and augment its client base by launching practice groups that can meet the needs of specific markets. A newer practice group includes Ketchum Pleon Change, which specializes in change management issues within the workplace. Other specialty practices include Ketchum Digital, Ketchum Energy, and CEO Accelerator (which is designed to maximize the effectiveness of new CEOs).
The company looks to mergers and acquisitions as a means for expanding its global presence. One way it does so is through Omnicom's strategy of merging its other subsidiaries with Ketchum, especially in Europe. In 2011 Omnicom brought its French financial communications consultancy DDB Financial into the Ketchum fold. The previous year the company merged with Germany-based Pleon, another unit of Omnicom and one of the largest strategic communications consultancies in Europe. Today the business largely operates under the Ketchum moniker except in Europe, where it is branded as Ketchum Pleon.
Omnicom also acquires outside companies to grow Ketchum. In 2010 it acquired Maslov PR, a marketing and PR firm based in Moscow. The deal is part of Ketchum's BRIC strategy, which strives to grow its position in Brazil, Russia, India, and China. Ketchum previously expanded in the US when it acquired California-based technology communications agency Access Communications. That transaction closed in 2008
Ketchum became a part of Omnicom in 1996.