Good Relations: Agency Business Report 2015

A profits surge and a raft of trophies have been helped by significant hires and a new appraisal system at the Chime agency

Richard Moss: CEO, Good Relations
Richard Moss: CEO, Good Relations

Principal: Richard Moss, CEO
Ownership: Chime
Offices: Global undisclosed; UK 3
Revenues: Global undisclosed; UK £5.9m
Headcount: Global 60

Good Relations has good reason to celebrate its achievements, with a 16 per cent growth in profits last year on the previous financial year and a successful awards season that saw the agency make space in its trophy cabinet.

The agency, part of Chime, had revenues of £5.9m in 2013, which represented an eight per cent hike year on year.

Good Relations chief executive Richard Moss attributes the "very strong performance last year" across its corporate and consumer work to a growing understanding on the part of its clients of the need to integrate their PR and comms needs.

As a result, says Moss, the agency, which has UK offices in London, Leeds and Manchester, is doing more integrated work than ever before.

It has already created content platforms and campaigns for brands including Airbus and Pilsner Urquell and its work has not gone unnoticed.

Last August, the agency picked up a ‘Stevie Award’ for its work with Airbus and a campaign that resulted in 1,000 articles and broadcast interviews across 48 countries.

The Airbus campaign went on to win five awards in total, including the PRCA’s ‘Best B2B Campaign of the Year’ and the Automotive and Transport award at the European Excellence Awards in Paris.

The agency is also proud of its work around the Invictus Games and with Talk Talk, as well as its thought leadership work with its ‘Triple G’ research.

Moss says: "That was such an in-depth piece of work that we are still using it to advise our existing clients because it allows us to dig deep into the profiles of 120 top brands and benchmark our clients against them."

But Moss saves his excitement for the year ahead. He adds: "Our learning curve has been steep when I look at the quality of our presentations. I saw three presentations to different clients recently and I know that two-and-a-half years ago we couldn’t have done anything like this."

In order to get to that point, Moss says Good Relations has made some significant hires, such as JWT’s former planning director Tim Browne as its executive planning director and Oliver Dove as creative director.

The challenge for Good Relations has been investing in new talent while setting up its own digital academy and finding a way to manage all the new content it is producing for clients.

Rather than a single white-knuckle moment to consider whether this was money well spent, Moss says it is actually "a constant question of whether the investment will pay off in these areas."

Moss says there have been no major accounts lost last year but the agency has added some major ones to the books, including corporate and b2b work for Samsung UK as well as South Eastern Trains and the Invictus Games.

Moss found an article in Harvard Business Review last year and took the learning therein to heart, by implementing a new system of ‘instant appraisal’ for Good Relations staff.

The system, which has been in place since January, gives line managers leeway to decide which aspects of staff performance to measure and dispenses with the old-school method of an annual appraisal. "It feels quite radical," says Moss.

Quest for excellence
The reason for the new system is that Moss intends to bring excellence to "every touch-point" within the agency. He adds: "The internal philosophy is about not wanting to be just good but ‘scary good’ in everything we do."

The performance scale is from 1-5 with five being ‘scary good’, and Moss says the system is working "really well".

Good Relations has also recently completed a refurb of its offices, which includes a new event space at the centre. Moss would like to see Good Relations expand in the UK this year.

He says: "It depends on our operations but I would like to see more regional offices open by the year end."

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