PRWeek Top 150, key performer: W

W enjoyed impressive growth through a combination of focusing on existing clients and winning several big pitches.

Position in UK Top 150 62
Fee income £3,375,000
Growth 45% 
Staff 50

Even the most capable PR agencies can tend to resemble leaky buckets. The foundation of W’s impressive 45 per cent fee income growth this year has been plugging the holes, says agency founder Warren Johnson (pictured): "Our new-business mantra is to focus on existing clients, because when you hang on to clients for a long time you get lots of referrals." For example, existing client wearable tech maker Jawbone recommended new client Groupo Campari.

But in what Johnson calls the "frugal post-crash trading environment where you can’t rely on chunky fee increases every year", new business is also vital. W converted several big new pitches this year. It won a place on the Unilever roster, prising the Marmite business out of Splendid, as well as an assignment from Live Nation for its Wireless festival.

The agency significantly boosted its media practice with new business from Johntson Press, which owns The Scotsman as well as many regional titles, and Associated Press. Even more impressively, W won its first business from Google, working for its smart thermostat brand Nest, and a digital brief from L’Oréal’s Yves Saint Laurent cosmetics brand.

The agency lost just one piece of business over the year, says Johnson – the Barcardi-owned Dewars Whisky global brief, after a change of strategy that saw the brand focus on local markets.

Creative highlights this year include an online competition to find "the world’s most beautiful eyes" for YSL cosmetics and a humorous social media campaign based on the idea ‘End Neglect’ for Marmite featuring former EastEnders star Dean Gaffney as well as a strong thought-leadership campaign for Johnston Press.

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