PRWEEK AWARDS 2003: Gold - The Precise Media Monitoring Award - Consultancy of the Year

WINNER - THE RED CONSULTANCY

Red has done it again. The consultancy of the year award may no longer be a novelty for the consumer specialist, but it is well deserved because once again the consultancy has lived up to its annual objective of producing excellent PR.

The agency laid down four rules for getting through one of PR's toughest years: love and cherish every pound, every client, every new business lead and its own people.

Red's creativity has always been one of its outstanding qualities, and last year it had to be capitalised on. It focused on innovation and value, plus low-cost, big-impact ideas.

The consultancy also seized the opportunity for PR ideas to become the central marketing proposition. For Microsoft, Red's idea of the biggest ever online quiz became the theme of advertising, point-of-sale and radio promotions.

Red became expert at initiatives that could be proven to generate revenue, which meant more emphasis on evaluation. The team's new slogan became 'if it moves, measure it' and led to successes such as a four-fold increase in sales on a Monday for one client, which was traced back to a single piece of coverage in The Sunday Times.

Red also had to keep its people happy. It already had a full benefits package, including duvet days and sabbaticals, but went further with salary increases, bigger bonuses, extra holiday, the chance to leave early once a week in the summer and social activities.

Red also had the nerve to turn down 43 invitations to pitch as a means of avoiding putting its people under too much strain.

The consultancy's exceptional focus on its clients and people paid off: fee income in the past 12 months rose by five per cent and profit margins were maintained.

The agency had 79 per cent client retention, won 37 competitive pitches and is well on its way towards opening its first US office.

COMMENDED - SHINE COMMUNICATIONS

Shine has had another record year, with some impressive statistics: year-on-year growth of 34 per cent, projected margins of 24 per cent, staff retention at 85 per cent and client retention at 97 per cent.

In the past 12 months, the five-year-old agency has added BT, Polaroid, Egg, Heinz, Rank Leisure, Royal Mail, Royal Doulton and Burger King to its client list, with most new business coming from word of mouth.

It was a year of innovation. The agency developed a comprehensive evaluation package and founded the Zoo Alliance, a group of below-the-line marketing agencies, to deliver integrated campaigns.

Shine is known for its commitment to its people. This year, ten per cent of profits go into staff bonuses, and high-level training is available through the Shine Business School, with sessions on marketing analysis and creating a healthy business culture.

FINALISTS

Blue Rubicon

Fishburn Hedges

Life Communications

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