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Winners of The Drum Awards for Agency Business revealed

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By Dani Gibson | Senior Writer

December 5, 2022 | 7 min read

The winners of the 2022 Drum Awards for Agency Business have been announced, with Forster Communications taking home the Grand Prix.

Forster Comms

Grand Prix winner Forster Communications

For an agency business to succeed, all departments must work well together. The Drum Awards for Agency Business recognizes the success of the whole agency, from strong leadership to the vital teams and functions often overlooked by other awards. This year's winners include companies such as Manifest, VMLY&R, Wunderman Thompson, Porter Novelli, Fanbytes by Brainlabs, and more.

The results were revealed at a ceremony at The Drum Labs in London, during our week-long awards festival, alongside a live cast on The Drum TV.

The Grand Prix went to Foster Communication for its take on tackling the climate emergency, while the Chair Award went to Current Global for Accessible By Design.

The awards competition was chaired by Sharon Whale, deputy group chief executive officer of Oliver and Jason Harris, co-founder and chief executive officer at Mekanism. They were joined by a panel of experienced senior marketers from a range of agencies including Imprint Projects, DDB Mudra Group, Fortnight Collective, Amplify, Creature of London, Stein IAS, McCann China, Leo Burnett Australia, and TBWA\Chiat\Day New York.

You can find a complete list of the winners here.

Grand Prix and Best Sustainability Initiative

Forster Communications

Forster Communications

Forster Communications focuses on using communications to build a regenerative economy that works for people and the planet. As a founding UK B Corp and UN Global Compact signatory, Forster has won 11 Best-for-the-World Awards in recognition of its approach and impact in partnership with its clients, through its business, and across its community.

In 2019, Forster declared a climate emergency and in January 2020 launched its Climate Positive Plan. It chose to go beyond the emissions it produces to include its whole value chain and wider community. Two years on, it has successfully achieved a major milestone, ensuring that all Forster suppliers have net-zero commitments.

It became one of the first carbon-neutral PR agencies in the UK and encouraged 52% of its clients to set carbon emission reduction goals. On top of becoming a dairy-, meat-, and paper-free workplace, Forster divests its pensions and banking from fossil fuels and incentivizes employees and clients to travel more sustainably.

The judges thought that it was a fully-rounded and impressive entry, backed up by an impressive set of results, signaling a real commitment to taking clients on the sustainability journey.

Chair Award

Current Global for Accessible by Design

Accessible by Design

An audit of agency websites, social content, and media coverage showed that few were discussing the issue of accessibility within the communications industry. Many agencies talk about diversity, equity and inclusion, but if your communications aren’t inclusive, it’s a huge blind spot.

Accessible by Design serves an important social purpose in the communications industry. It's making a real difference around the world in the inclusivity of the work Current Global does and how people with disabilities experience brands and public discourse.

With a modest spend, through free industry guidelines, a resource-heavy website, a 21-Day Challenge, workshops, webinars, conference speaker slots, podcasts, and a raft of earned media, the agency could boldly say that one in five PR practitioners are now engaged in its movement to do all it can to deliver accessible communications.

Best Place to Work

Porter Novelli

Motivations have changed within agencies over the past few years. What colleagues value and want from their careers have shifted demonstrably.

To continue growing, Porter Novelli needed to shift its priorities. Its goals started with its people and included increasing the percentage of people of color in the business from 8% to 30% by 2023; increasing the number of women in leadership to above 50%; retaining 85% of its employees and; improving staff engagement scores to above 75%. The agency needed to increase revenue by 10% and client satisfaction by 85%.

Porter Novelli completely rebooted its proposition externally, rallying around helping clients close the 'say-do gap'. This became the backbone of its culture as it ran the values through the whole business internally. Aligning with Porter Novelli's external proposition, it devised a 'say-do code of conduct' that guides how employees show up for each other.

The agency revamped its learning and benefits, refreshed colleague experience, and put DE&I firmly at the center of its strategy.

The judges explained: "These guys are not new — or small — but they were able to bring innovative thinking to become a great place to work. They acknowledged that they 'were in decline — the eBay of the communications world.' They were willing to scrap a bunch of programs that were not working and re-invent / re-invest in a turnaround.

"We liked how they took the business philosophy for clients: 'close the say-do gap' and leveraged this for employees: a gap week and close the gap grants for learning. They connected this effort to real business results, including 96% retention of their team while increasing headcount by 40%, and grew top-line revenue by 22% year-on-year with a 30% margin."

Porter Novelli also won Business Transformation Strategy.

A complete list of winners can be viewed here.

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