All too often PR consultancies are accused of spending so much time raising their clients’ profiles that they forget about raising their own. With that in mind, The Drum has sought out a range of PR consultancies that may not regularly make the pages of your favourite trade publication, but are nonetheless worth considering if you are looking for a new PR consultant. Over the following pages we give them the opportunity to tell the world who and what has been keeping them so busy that they have not had the time to raise their heads above the parapet and talk about the quality work they are doing for a range of clients.
Maggie Wright Associates
Founded in 2000, Maggie Wright is the sole practitioner in the agency, which has had a successful past 12 months. Key projects in the last year have included the successful launch of the Working Neighbourhood Initiative and Lone Parents Scheme for Reed In Partnership, the PR launch for a £400m city centre urban regeneration project by Southside Capital (a joint venture between the Bank of Scotland, Taylor Woodrow and Kilmartin). Wright is currently working with NGS on a summer exhibition of Fathers of Pop and the Architectural Heritage Fund – tasked with raising awareness of the organisation on the back of the highly successful BBC2 series “Restoration”. The company has also managed to fit into a very busy year an office move, and predicts business growth over the year ahead. The client list includes George Street Research, Queen Margaret University, Bride Hall Properties and Cameron Optometry.
Carol Matthews heads up Matthews Marketing along with two other members of staff. Founded in 2002, the company has a variety of clients, including the University of Glasgow Hunterian Art Gallery, Macsween of Edinburgh, Caledonian MacBrayne, the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society and the Merchant City Festival. The firm has had a busy 12 months, with key projects including the Glasgow Whistler Festival, Scottish Enterprise Visitor Attraction Advisor Service – marketing and PR support for eight businesses, launching the new Macsween Haggis Factory and promoting 999 Design Group’s portfolio profile. Ambitions for the year ahead are to expand the business, both in profits and clients. An assessment of the past year is positive, however, with a significant number of new clients being won through personal recommendation, while existing clients have remained with the company. Also, the company was awarded the UK Museums and Heritage Award for Excellence 2004 for the delivery of the Glasgow Whistler Festival campaign, which was undertaken in partnership with Glasgow design agency Pointsize.
Founded in July 2002, Halogen Communications has quickly grown and currently employs seven members of staff. Headed up by strategy director John Crawford, the company has had a very successful past 12 months with key projects of the last year including Scotland’s Tartan Day, along with special events involving HRH Princess Anne and Lord Coe. Other clients include the Ben Hollioake Fund, Central College of Commerce, Sainsbury’s Bank and Strathearn Film Studios. The past year’s work has been “very good” according to Crawford, with inroads being made into the public sector with their three FE college wins along with their work with Equal. Ambitions for the year ahead are to continue to manage and grow the business.
Spinney and Partners
Spinney and Partners was formed in May 2003 by managing director Ian Spinney. The company currently employs six senior consultants, who are regularly subcontracted. Projects and work that the company has recently completed include corporate repositioning and recovery, profile raising, issues management, influencing programmes, thought leadership campaigns and strategic media relations. Assessment of last year’s performance saw the company exceeding financial and client developments while also developing a number of high-quality clients. Spinney and Partners’ clients currently include Strathclyde University, Johnston Carmichael, McClure Naismith, Scottish Intellectual Asset Management and Search Consultancy. The ambitions for the company for the next 12 months are relatively simple for the managing director, Spinney – “keep the balls in the air.”
While Consolidated Communications launched in 1990 in London, its Scottish office opened this year with much success and currently employs five members of staff. The office in Edinburgh is headed up by managing director for Scotland Will Holt. Key projects for the past year include delivering public information campaigns for the Scott Launching Project Scotland, handling the 15CCEM Scotland event and promoting the Freestyle Mortgage for Standard Life Bank. According to Holt, the year’s key success has been opening and building on the profile and success of the Scottish office, along with being voted one of the Sunday Times Companies to Work For 2004. Clients for the firm include Budweiser, Maxxium, Energy Savings Trust, learndirect, Project Scotland and the Scottish Executive. Ambitions for the company for the year ahead include continuing to offer clients a fresh insightful approach to their business.
Beverley Tricker PR
Founded three years ago, the company currently employs seven members of staff, headed up by managing director Beverley Tricker. In the past year the company has managed to go from strength to strength, with both staff numbers and turnover doubling compared to previous years. Key work of the past year has included consumer PR for World Visions, promoting the Country Living Spring Fair, the Grampian Awards for Business Enterprise Event and the Romantic Scotland for VisitScotland. The company was also the only Scottish winner at the Institute of Public Relations Excellence Award and was awarded the Not for Profit category against a variety of other UK-based companies. The ambitions for the firm in the year ahead include building the client base, developing the creative campaigns and making sure that geography is not a boundary in expanding the business and catering for all its clients’ needs. Current clients include Highlands of Scotland Tourist Board, Dundee and Angus Convention Bureau, Argyll, Isles, Loch Lomond, Stirling and Trossachs Tourist Board.
Great Circle Communications
Great Circle Communications was founded in 1998 by managing directors Rachel Jones and Mike Groves. The company currently employs six full-time and two part-time members of staff. Key projects of the past year have included developing Scotmid’s first policy on corporate social responsibility, developing and implementing a media tour for the National Trust for Scotland, a launch event for SCHOLAR French, the world’s largest e-learning programme, and a South American Diplomat event at St James’ Palace to showcase Interactive University. Key clients for the company include the National Trust for Scotland, edNET, Lightershade and Jerzees. The company was recently named as the fastest growing agency in Scotland for 2003 by PR Week, increasing revenue by 49 per cent, and is aiming to keep growing the company in the year ahead.
Jointly founded in 2001 by managing directors Chris Bell and Jonathon Kennedy, the company currently employs three members of staff along with five associates. Key projects of the past year have included the 21st anniversary of the Shell Livewire Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, the Scottish Boat Show at the Falkirk Wheel, the launch of Archive Live for Scottish Screen and The World Canals Conference. The assessment of the last year for Jonathan Kennedy is simple: “Another good year of strong and sustained growth coupled with positive development of strategic relationships across the UK.” The ambitions for the year ahead are to maintain the organic growth that the company is currently feeling, while continuing to develop strategic relationships and work with even more of the country’s top organisations.
Elaine Howie PR
Elaine Howie founded her self-titled company in 1996 and the firm currently employs a total of four people. Clients currently include Lloyds TSB, Drambuie, Gleneagles Hotel and Rococo Art. The company also represents well-known Scottish faces, including BBC Scotland presenter and former rugby internationalist John Beattie, TV presenter Rob MacLean and former Gladiator Ali Paton. Key projects of the past year have included the launch of Magners Original Irish Cider in Scotland, media relations for the 80th anniversary of the Gleneagles Hotel, anniversary celebration event for the Miller Group and media relations for Dewar’s World of Whisky and mini tattoo in Aberdeen. Plans for the year ahead for Howie are “to sell my business for a seven figure sum, Failing that, to continue to work on interesting and worthwhile projects, have fun and make some money.”
Founded in 1993 by managing director Pamela Bailey, PR Continuum currently employs four members of staff. Key projects of the past year include the operations of a 24/7 Scottish press office for an engineering services client, the sponsorship, student promotions and stakeholder communications for a telecommunications client, corporate public relations for independent financial advisers and the launch of “Sust” Sustainability programme as well as corporate events team support for The Lighthouse in Glasgow. Ambitions and plans for the year ahead include consolidating on the past year’s success and growth and continuing to achieve steady growth for both the company and also the clients that PR Continuum currently works with.
Edinburgh-based Acumen was founded in 2002. Currently, the company employs five members of staff and has a varied client list that includes Cable and Wireless, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Scottish Institute for Enterprise, Scottish Business Achievement Awards Trust and Seamanship International. Key projects in the past year have included Operation Christmas “shoebox” campaign, writing and editing Infinite, the commercialisation magazine for the University of Edinburgh helping to internationalise the firm’s offering to clients through the global PR network ECCO. Ambitions for the year ahead include growing the firm’s client list, and “network, network, network”.
MEA was founded in Edinburgh in 1993 by managing director Mervyn Edgecombe, and currently employs eight members of staff. Key projects of the past year have included a major launch and ongoing trade campaign for Lakeland Willow Water, which was nominated, as a result of the campaign, as the World’s Best Designer Water at World Water Expo in Paris, working on the Golden Jubilee National Hospital account, winning the Codeworks account for a major regional regeneration project in the North East of England. Assessment of the past year’s performance saw the company: “Punching way, way above our weight and getting the results beyond client expectations”, says Edgecombe. Ambitions for the year ahead are to double the income of the company.