Thank you, Frank.
Our results in the quarter reflect the fact that macro uncertainty and political gridlock are affecting spend, particularly in the U.S., with clients demonstrating caution in terms of releasing budgets.
We don’t see these as indicators of a broad-based economic downturn. This is important because, as you know, we always manage to the full year.
Our agencies and our people remain best-in-class, and our recent mid-year business reviews indicate that our operators have a range of opportunities in the second half of the year that make the lower range of our 3 - 4% annual organic revenue growth target achievable. Our new business pipeline remains solid, and we are fully competitive when opportunities do arise.
It bears noting that, in order to deliver 3% or better organic revenue growth for the year, we are not relying on winning significant net new business. The key will, as always, be to focus on our current client roster, especially those among our top 20. We believe that, among those existing clients, we have line of sight into the growth that we require and that, in the second half, clients follow through on investment in order to drive their business results. This should be particularly beneficial for our project-based businesses, especially in digital, marketing services like PR, and healthcare - all areas in which we have exceptional agencies and capabilities.
In terms of margins, we have consistently demonstrated our ability to improve profitability. As mentioned at the outset of this call, given the industry-leading growth we’ve posted over the last seven years, the timing of expense reductions couldn’t keep up with the slowing we experienced during the second quarter. But our teams are fully focused on protecting and enhancing margin for the balance of the year.
We will continue to invest in those businesses that are delivering growth, as well as on strategically important areas such as creative and digital talent, as well as our data stack and tools. Concurrently, we’ve put into place plans to control costs in all other areas of the business, in order for us to succeed in bringing expenses into line during the second half of the year and delivering on our 50-basis-point target of operating margin improvement for 2017.
Turning to operational matters, on the talent front we are pleased that our corporate culture and values continue to make us a leading destination for much of the industry’s best people.
We continue to attract top talent from our traditional peer set, in emerging areas across all the digital spectrum, as well as data and tech-enabled marketing.
A full range of our agencies are active in areas such as artificial intelligence, which is being used to create customized, targeted messaging, and which informs our programmatic delivery of digital media. We are also seeing AR and VR playing a role in storytelling for brands, whether in the advertising or PR space, as well as in rich user experiences crafted by our CRM, experiential and shopper marketing agencies.
We are also proud of our longstanding commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion. We have made meaningful strides and lead the industry on many fronts, but there remains a lot of work to be done. As mentioned on last quarter’s call, an area on which we are increasingly focusing is our ability to recruit, develop and promote women of color.