But 2006 has genuinely given many agencies something to smile about. While PR agencies are far from complacent, the evidence shows that their quiet confidence during the past few years is justified. Despite a quarter of listed agencies suffering a decline in income, the overall picture is one of optimism. Last year saw strong PR spend, building on a trend that began three years ago, with many firms enjoying double-digit growth.
This buoyancy is in part a result of a stable economic and political environment, both in the UK and globally. However, PR is also earning its colours at the expense of other marketing disciplines as its value continues to climb the corporate agenda.
'The balance is shifting; people are no longer happy to spend £10m on an ad campaign then blanching at a £50,000 spend on PR,' says Patrick Barrow, director general of the Public Relations Consultants Association. 'There is also an understanding that reputation is increasingly important to business.'
There is a particular growing demand for quality senior counsel to maintain companies' standing, according to Citigate Dewe Rogerson chairman Jonathan Clare, and this demand is not price-sensitive. 'If managing reputation means that investors can be confident in an organisation's management and strategy, and that customers are confident in the way business is conducted, then people are prepared to pay,' he says.
As corporate reputation work is booming, so too is financial PR. Many former specialist financial agencies, including Lansons and City firm Financial Dynamics, have exploited both areas by expanding their services into the reputation market. Post-Enron, the introduction of tighter reporting regulations through Sarbanes-Oxley in the US has seen UK companies provide extra work for PR officers. In addition, both corporate and financial PR practitioners are benefiting from the increased flow of big business to London from Russia, India, the Middle East and other emerging markets.
But Gay Collins, managing director of Penrose Financial, sounds a note of caution. 'The sector has been extremely buoyant, but remains highly competitive, so while there is good business around, it has tended to be at keen fee levels.'
In line with much of today's business landscape, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and ethical initiatives have boosted PR agencies' coffers. Yet there is still a question being asked of much of the activity - is it PR in a purely cosmetic sense? Consumers have shown that they are savvy to the superficial; CSR activity must reflect how a business interacts with the community it serves. Clients need to decide whether their approach will be strategic or tactical, and PRs must be able to advise with confidence. 'Some of the concepts and terminology surrounding CSR are complicated and it is up to communications professionals to explain them,' says Sara Tye, managing director of CSR specialist Redhead PR, which recently conducted research showing that 80% of consumers do not understand the term 'carbon-neutral'.
During the past year, Redhead PR has helped Belu mineral water launch its compostable Bio Bottle, with Belu's profits ploughed back into water projects in Africa and India. The agency has also recently won a brief from Centrepoint, which involves helping the homeless charity's 65 corporate partners maximise their CSR communications. 'If consumers and other stakeholders do not know what to take from a CSR policy then they will be cynical,' says Tye. 'For most organisations, however, CSR is becoming mainstream, which means that it is now a fundamental part of their communications.'
It's keeping many agencies busy. Exposure has been working with Levi's to launch its eco jeans, while Hill & Knowlton is looking to recruit specialist expertise in areas including environmental issues and ethical consumerism. 'CSR is a particularly difficult area for the PR industry,' admits Brendan May, head of CSR for Weber Shandwick UK and Ireland. He says that if you ask most CSR practitioners or non-governmental organisations, they will categorically state that CSR is not about PR. 'There must be substance behind the spin. There is no point in using PR if there is nothing substantial to communicate.'
Yet, he argues that actions will be wasted if clients do not clearly communicate their CSR work by hiring the right people. 'CSR is providing entirely new angles for businesses to communicate with their audiences,' he adds.
Communication, both internal and external, is vital to any meaningful corporate responsibility programme. BT worked with Trimedia Harrison Cowley last year on a high-profile campaign to find a new voice for the BT speaking clock, in partnership with BBC Children in Need. 'We always try to consult with our stakeholders; ongoing communication is critical to keeping them engaged and informed,' says Beth Courtier, head of charity programmes for BT. The campaign received 18,405 entries and raised £200,000 for the BBC charity.
The healthcare sector has also provided PR with a welcome boost, with a flurry of start-ups, including Just::, an agency established by the former UK managing director of healthcare PR firm Chandler Chicco, Jennie Talman. Meanwhile, the Huntsworth Group has consolidated its pharma, medical and healthcare offerings to launch Huntsworth Health.
The recent tightening of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry's code of practice regulations has left what Red Door Communications managing director Catherine Warne describes as 'a storm cloud over the head of marketers', with companies forced to be absolutely squeaky clean in their marketing of drugs.
As the NHS faces pressure from the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE), it too is bolstering its use of PR. NICE approves drug use for the NHS, and is making increasingly tough decisions in areas such as breast and bowel cancer and Alzheimer's treatments. While NICE is adamant that it cannot be influenced in its decisions about its appraisal process, there are opportunities for pharma companies to exert pressure through lobbying, media relations, medical education and patient power, an approach that led to the Department of Health's U-turn on early breast cancer treatment Herceptin.
Recently, NICE has reviewed its protocols for bowel cancer and dementia treatments and either refused or withdrew some drugs previously available on the NHS. The approval system has gone to various appeals, opening up PR opportunities.
Reforms within the NHS have also created significant business in the public affairs arena, as private-sector care providers look to cash in on fresh opportunities. The ongoing obesity debate also continues to open doors as food and drinks firms face ever-growing public and regulatory scrutiny.
The current Labour Party leadership race is also a key factor for business, with public affairs specialists eager to explain what a fresh government administration might mean. 'People are uncertain, and there is a lot of interest in how it will play out,' says Simon Miller, UK managing director of public affairs and strategic communications firm APCO Worldwide.
Longer term, as the polls indicate a marginal majority for whichever party wins the next general election, businesses are upping their engagement with all political stakeholders, with many initiating dialogue with the Tories for the first time in several years. 'Generally, a close parliamentary contest in terms of the number of seats is good for our industry,' adds Miller.
Yet good times have brought their share of problems for the PR industry, namely a talent shortage in the middle ranks, with firms crying out for account managers with sector knowledge.
'As a result, salaries are rising at 7% a year, but like-for-like fees are not, so there is margin pressure and, outside City PR, I don't believe that profits are growing as fast as fees,' says Lansons chief executive Tony Langham. Procurement specialists, who are driving down agencies' hourly rates, steering inflationary salaries even further out of sync, are not helping.
While CSR and reputation work has blossomed, consumer PR has suffered. 'With a tightening on consumer spending, last year was always going to be tough,' admits Rachel Bell, managing director of Shine Communications. 'While that has meant that people have been jumpy about budgets, it has forced greater creativity, with clients looking for ideas and content that can be used both below- and above-the-line, and increasingly PR has been taking the lead.' She points to a campaign Shine ran to reposition Drambuie, aimed at active young men, to raise sales and listings in bars. An outward-bound challenge for consumers and journalists was carried through to point-of-sale material, trade hospitality, a CRM programme and the web.
Not all consumer PR agencies suffered, though; Cake saw a 33% increase in fee income and plenty of positive attention for its work with Nintendo, both for its Nintendogs campaign and later for the unveiling of the Wii console.
It is clear that consumer agencies are looking beyond traditional PR to deliver the big idea. Graham Goodkind, chairman of Frank PR, says: 'We do not necessarily focus on PR, but on creating word of mouth, and the ideas can come from any discipline; it just so happens that the channel we use is the media'.
Having delivered plenty of talk with campaigns for Cancer Research's Race for Life and an initiative to save the British 'caff' for HP sauce last year, the agency also sought to create a buzz in the digital arena. This included targeting websites, bloggers and networking communities to identify 'superfans' to promote last October's Metro Ski and Snowboard Show for DMG Worldwide. 'Social media is a big area for the PR industry that it needs to own, but some agencies are only just beginning to scratch the surface,' says Goodkind.
Digital work is an increasingly busy area for Bell Pottinger, the PR arm of Chime Communications, with activity for clients such as Vauxhall and 118 118. For the car marque it delivered a series of underground events for its 'Tribes' campaign, an initiative supporting urban talent including beatboxing, DJing and street dance. While the main event was held at Kennington Park in London, there was also a regional tour to other UK cities. The event was a PR initiative in itself, but was also promoted through digital channels including videos on MySpace. 'The arrival of digital is enabling us to do more in PR, using spend that otherwise might have gone to advertising,' says Bell Pottinger group chairman Kevin Murray. 'It is also easier to provide tangible results and measure effectiveness, so for clients there is significant ROI appeal.'
But for many clients, digital and PR are yet to sit happily together, according to Alex Young, head of PR at agency search and selection consultancy the AAR. 'I've yet to see a PR pitch won on the basis of online expertise,' she says. 'Clients recognise that online reputation and social media are important, but they want agencies to get the basics right and have the face-to-face relationships with the traditional media.'
This is illustrated by travel search engine Kayak.com. Even though its business is online, its approach to PR is more old-school. 'Although it is crucial for an agency to understand online consumer behaviour, we wouldn't entertain any proposals that ignored the importance of print, broadcast or online media,' says Kayak.com's vice-president of communications, Kellie Pelletier. 'At the end of the day, it is about putting the right communications mix in place, not how many friends you have on Facebook.'
TOP PR AGENCIES
Company Fee income(pounds) Chng UK turnover
2006 2005 (%) 2006
1 Bell Pottinger Group 46,988,000 41,588,000 13.0 158,565,000
2 Financial Dynamics 35,500,000 27,300,000 30.0 41,900,000
Weber Shandwick* n/a 25,435,000 n/a n/a
Hill & Knowlton* n/a 22,629,000 n/a n/a
3 Citigate Dewe Rogerson 20,434,704 19,068,721 7.2 24,269,215
4 Edelman 18,368,448 16,499,795 11.3 27,186,917
Finsbury* n/a 16,262,000 n/a n/a
Fishburn Hedges* n/a 15,660,000 n/a n/a
Ketchum* n/a 12,530,000 n/a n/a
Freud Communications* n/a 12,357,000 n/a n/a
5 Trimedia Harrison Cowley 10,942,234 10,005,119 9.4 14,003,323
6 College Hill Associates 10,027,193 9,322,855 7.6 11,974,400
Porter Novelli* n/a 9,525,000 n/a n/a
7 The Red Consultancy 9,177,279 8,890,104 3.2 14,934,384
8 Geronimo Communications 8,420,800 8,875,700 -5.1 9,902,000
9 Lansons Communications 7,527,326 6,431,237 17.0 9,059,564
Maitland* n/a 7,446,000 n/a n/a
Buchanan* n/a 6,903,000 n/a n/a
10 Lexis Public Relations 6,441,000 5,665,000 13.7 9,719,000
11 Grayling 6,364,731 7,522,821 -15.4 9,939,775
12 Exposure Promotions 6,358,404 3,326,250 91.2 14,078,130
13 Metia (formerly
Write Image) 6,332,740 5,957,422 6.3 10,396,408
Band and Brown* n/a 5,867,000 n/a n/a
14 Four Communications 5,711,172 4,093,790 39.5 16,963,762
Euro RSCG Biss Lancaster* n/a 5,441,000 n/a n/a
15 The BIG Partnership 5,301,586 5,258,303 0.8 5,591,230
Shire Health* n/a 5,166,000 n/a n/a
16 Camargue 5,081,836 4,348,646 16.9 6,452,315
17 Chandler Chicco 4,959,868 5,176,573 -4.2 7,428,559
18 Golley Slater
Public Relations 4,906,155 4,663,952 5.2 5,950,337
19 Bite Communications 4,788,640 4,633,498 3.3 5,543,071
20 APCO 4,720,000 4,300,000 10.9 6,512,000
21 Nelson Bostock
Communications 4,654,445 4,559,932 2.1 9,617,659
22 Cake 4,647,000 3,506,000 32.5 10,846,218
23 Hotwire 4,536,738 3,377,103 34.3 6,650,785
Gavin Anderson* n/a 4,446,000 n/a n/a
24 Waggener Edstrom 4,381,315 3,168,886 38.3 4,381,315
25 Portfolio Group 4,263,300 3,994,475 6.7 4,551,055
26 Hunstworth Health 4,200,748 3,940,670 6.6 6,719,574
27 PPS Group 4,192,048 3,243,719 29.2 4,639,467
28 IAS Smarts (formerly
Citigate Smarts) 4,141,751 4,047,104 2.3 10,741,372
29 Munro & Forster
Communications 4,059,251 3,895,225 4.2 6,117,564
30 Ruder Finn UK 4,039,726 4,059,102 -0.5 5,721,612
31 Penrose Financial 3,884,028 3,076,254 26.3 4,270,367
32 Resolute Communications 3,866,415 2,449,930 57.8 5,033,956
GCI* n/a 3,862,000 n/a n/a
33 Red Door Communications 3,850,000 3,208,000 20.0 5,356,000
34 Brands2Life 3,650,898 2,918,375 25.1 3,650,898
Communications* n/a 3,505,000 n/a n/a
35 AS Biss & Co 3,464,256 2,810,937 23.2 3,728,054
36 Green Issues
Communications 3,455,000 2,765,000 25.0 3,768,000
37 The Communication Group 3,408,000 2,513,000 35.6 3,115,000
38 Kaizo 3,281,255 3,424,760 -4.2 3,667,763
39 Talk PR 3,224,000 2,641,000 22.1 5,500,000
40 Virgo Health PR 3,109,866 1,891,652 64.4 4,415,954
41 Axicom 3,106,455 2,360,524 31.6 3,480,293
42 Freshwater 3,075,614 1,641,943 87.3 4,966,983
43 Frank Public Relations 3,062,419 2,300,749 33.1 5,350,559
Golin Harris* n/a 3,041,000 n/a n/a
44 Text 100 2,876,966 2,104,715 36.7 3,490,611
45 Media Strategy 2,831,981 1,847,284 53.3 3,026,733
46 Medicom Group 2,783,000 2,239,000 24.3 3,305,000
47 Shine Communications 2,780,860 2,771,060 0.4 4,384,817
48 Publicasity 2,733,000 2,358,000 15.9 4,685,000
49 Ptarmigan Consultants 2,580,482 2,772,344 -6.9 3,917,541
50 Colman Getty PR 2,576,500 2,022,363 27.4 2,688,578
51 Eulogy! 2,422,571 1,853,724 30.7 2,422,571
52 The Television
Consultancy 2,418,299 1,547,072 56.3 3,022,874
53 Inferno Communications 2,363,883 1,617,553 46.1 2,911,294
54 Tonic Life
Communications 2,308,968 1,223,075 88.8 659,003
Pleon* n/a 2,300,000 n/a n/a
55 Rainier PR 2,263,554 1,841,055 22.9 2,263,554
56 Galliard Healthcare
Communications 2,198,701 2,606,871 -15.7 3,551,482
57 EHPR 2,195,033 1,768,510 24.1 3,760,447
58 Purple Public Relations 2,187,522 1,859,116 17.7 2,955,784
59 The SPA Way 2,154,698 1,600,000 34.7 2,200,000
60 BGB Communications 2,018,990 2,061,412 -2.1 2,389,481
61 Octopus Communications
Consultancy 2,014,896 1,299,748 55.0 2,014,896
62 William Murray PR 2,010,565 1,696,423 18.5 1,724,133
63 Company Care
Communications 1,963,277 1,609,293 22.0 2,315,449
64 London Communications
Agency 1,862,511 1,420,743 31.1 1,907,911
Clarion Communications* n/a 1,859,000 n/a n/a
65 Northbank Communications 1,845,248 1,400,325 31.8 2,615,107
66 The Whiteoaks Consultancy 1,800,423 1,443,199 24.8 2,245,616
67 Taylor Herring 1,772,726 1,574,780 12.6 1,981,911
68 The Policy Partnership 1,772,435 1,852,699 -4.3 690,647
69 Haslimann Taylor 1,709,127 1,640,572 4.2 2,432,302
70 Connectpoint PR 1,680,000 1,750,000 -4.0 4,800,000
71 AD Communications 1,662,752 1,699,758 -2.2 2,593,034
72 Johnson King 1,650,278 1,627,782 1.4 1,494,944
73 Kinross and Render 1,640,474 1,670,783 -1.8 2,248,887
74 Attenborough Saffron 1,604,913 1,979,397 -18.9 2,487,739
75 Myriad Public Relations 1,560,930 1,447,599 7.8 2,041,478
76 MC2 (Manchester) 1,555,394 1,318,086 18.0 1,789,032
77 Launch Group 1,550,462 1,126,091 37.7 2,285,141
78 Cow PR 1,547,698 1,200,791 28.9 1,989,457
79 Camron Public Relations 1,525,246 1,445,330 5.5 2,040,228
80 Republic 1,498,341 1,556,716 -3.7 1,923,478
81 The ITPR Group 1,479,900 1,472,618 0.5 1,691,080
82 Salt 1,478,018 1,188,823 24.3 1,762,080
Company Total staff Clients Location
2006 2005 Retainer Project
1 Bell Pottinger Group 418 413 402 556 London
2 Financial Dynamics 181 163 517 215 London
Weber Shandwick* 341 n/a n/a n/a n/a
Hill & Knowlton* 257 n/a n/a n/a n/a
3 Citigate Dewe Rogerson 115 120 292 0 London
4 Edelman 217 184 n/a n/a London
Finsbury* 55 n/a n/a n/a n/a
Fishburn Hedges* 144 n/a n/a n/a n/a
Ketchum* 145 n/a n/a n/a n/a
Freud Communications* 131 n/a n/a n/a n/a
5 Trimedia Harrison Cowley 149 143 178 168 London
6 College Hill Associates 93 92 n/a n/a London
Porter Novelli* 121 n/a n/a n/a n/a
7 The Red Consultancy 117 111 85 101 London
8 Geronimo Communications 92 107 50 49 London
9 Lansons Communications 106 70 106 76 London
Maitland* 36 n/a n/a n/a n/a
Buchanan* 41 n/a n/a n/a n/a
10 Lexis Public Relations 89 84 36 22 London
11 Grayling 76 91 82 268 London
12 Exposure Promotions 83 74 126 0 London
13 Metia (formerly
Write Image) 121 123 35 67 London
Band and Brown* 82 n/a n/a n/a n/a
14 Four Communications 76 57 85 124 London
Euro RSCG Biss Lancaster* 69 n/a n/a n/a n/a
15 The BIG Partnership 83 79 129 70 Glasgow
Shire Health* 100 n/a n/a n/a n/a
16 Camargue 62 54 64 97 Cheltenham
17 Chandler Chicco 45 44 25 8 London
18 Golley Slater
Public Relations 80 82 212 81 Cardiff
19 Bite Communications 62 68 47 14 London
20 APCO 48 38 29 40 London
21 Nelson Bostock
Communications 52 52 59 28 London
22 Cake 58 53 18 48 London
23 Hotwire 57 44 63 51 London
Gavin Anderson* 32 n/a n/a n/a n/a
24 Waggener Edstrom 44 40 7 10 London
25 Portfolio Group 62 48 126 118 London
26 Hunstworth Health 47 46 18 13 Bucks
27 PPS Group 52 43 8 260 London
28 IAS Smarts (formerly
Citigate Smarts) 68 69 n/a n/a London
29 Munro & Forster
Communications 57 53 18 12 London
30 Ruder Finn UK 51 51 7 39 London
31 Penrose Financial 46 37 63 23 London
32 Resolute Communications 47 35 15 7 London
GCI* 57 n/a n/a n/a n/a
33 Red Door Communications n/a 31 n/a n/a London
34 Brands2Life 49 44 36 10 London
Staniforth Communications* 59 n/a n/a n/a n/a
35 AS Biss & Co 32 27 37 18 London
36 Green Issues
Communications n/a 36 n/a n/a Reading
37 The Communication Group 38 30 24 6 London
38 Kaizo 38 48 31 51 London
39 Talk PR 27 26 n/a n/a London
40 Virgo Health PR 31 26 17 9 Surrey
41 Axicom 28 26 46 0 London
42 Freshwater 60 47 142 77 Cardiff
43 Frank Public Relations 46 33 43 37 London
Golin Harris* 39 n/a n/a n/a n/a
44 Text 100 52 45 26 29 London
45 Media Strategy 26 23 27 23 London
46 Medicom Group 34 22 13 15 Surrey
47 Shine Communications 40 39 20 20 London
48 Publicasity 41 33 45 10 London
49 Ptarmigan Consultants 50 52 26 10 Leeds
50 Colman Getty PR 31 26 48 57 London
51 Eulogy! 30 22 38 5 London
52 The Television Consultancy 24 16 8 458 London
53 Inferno Communications 34 25 8 1 London
54 Tonic Life Communications 22 12 4 44 London
Pleon* 30 n/a n/a n/a n/a
55 Rainier PR 24 21 41 n/a London
56 Galliard Healthcare
Communications 20 22 21 12 London
57 EHPR 33 28 17 10 Berkshire
58 Purple Public Relations 36 31 n/a n/a London
59 The SPA Way 25 23 n/a n/a London
60 BGB Communications 36 38 56 34 London
61 Octopus Communications
Consultancy 26 20 45 10 Berkshire
62 William Murray PR 22 22 20 23 Surrey
63 Company Care
Communications 32 27 41 25 Reading
64 London Communications
Agency 16 12 22 27 London
Clarion Communications* 30 n/a n/a n/a n/a
65 Northbank Communications 19 16 52 82 London
66 The Whiteoaks Consultancy 27 26 40 20 Surrey
67 Taylor Herring 27 26 21 41 London
68 The Policy Partnership 13 11 14 29 London
69 Haslimann Taylor 27 27 20 23 Midlands
70 Connectpoint PR 16 16 n/a n/a Manchester
71 AD Communications 18 17 35 12 Surrey
72 Johnson King 24 25 20 6 London
73 Kinross and Render 22 31 25 13 London
74 Attenborough Saffron 25 n/a n/a n/a Cardiff
75 Myriad Public Relations 20 23 56 0 Cambs
76 MC2 (Manchester) 26 19 53 3 Manchester
77 Launch Group 42 36 0 71 London
78 Cow PR 29 21 18 5 London
79 Camron Public Relations 29 27 24 1 London
80 Republic 21 24 32 23 London
81 The ITPR Group 20 20 28 4 Surrey
82 Salt 17 14 16 5 London
1 Bell Pottinger Group
Founded 1986. Subsidiary Chime Communications. Chairman Kevin
Murray. No clients disclosed. Member PRCA. www.chime.plc.uk
2 Financial Dynamics
Founded 1985. Subsidiary Financial Dynamics International. Chief
executive Charles Watson. Clients include CBRE, ENRC, Tesco. Member
Founded 2001. Subsidiary Interpublic. Chief executive Colin Byrne.
No clients disclosed. www.webershandwick.co.uk
Hill & Knowlton*
Founded. Subsidiary WPP. Chief executive Sally Costerton. No clients
disclosed. Member PRCA. www.hillandknowlton.co.uk
3 Citigate Dewe Rogerson
Founded 1987. Subsidiary Huntsworth. Chief executive Jonathan Clare.
Clients include Premier Foods, Yell, National Grid.
Founded 1967. Privately owned. Chief executive Stuart Smith. Clients
include Pfizer, Microsoft, Shell. Member PRCA. www.edelman.com
Founded 1994. Subsidiary WPP. Consulting partner Rupert Younger. No
clients disclosed. www.finsbury.com
Founded 1991. Subsidiary Omnicom Group. Chairman Neil Hedges. No
clients disclosed. www.fishburn-hedges.co.uk
Founded 1923. Subsidiary Omnicom Group. Chief executive David
Gallagher. No clients disclosed. Member PRCA. www.ketchum.com
Founded 1985. Subsidiary Publicis Groupe. Chairman Matthew Freud. No
clients disclosed. www.freud.com
5 Trimedia Harrison Cowley
Founded 1962. Subsidiary Huntsworth. Chief executive Paul Kelly.
Clients include BT, COI, Diageo. Member PRCA. www.trimediahc.com
6 College Hill Associates
Founded 1972. Privately owned. Chairman Alexander Sandberg. No
clients disclosed. Member PRCA. www.collegehill.com
Founded 1972. Subsidiary Omnicom Group. Managing director Jean
Wyllie. No clients disclosed. Member PRCA. www.porternovelli.co.uk
7 The Red Consultancy
Founded 1994. Subsidiary Huntsworth. Chief executive Mike Morgan.
Clients include Nokia, MSN UK, MSN EMEA. Member PRCA.
8 Geronimo Communications
Founded 2000. Subsidiary Tribal Group. Chief executive Karen Harris.
Clients include DWP, DfES, Quality Improvement Agency.
9 Lansons Communications
Founded 1989. Privately owned. Chief executive Tony Langham. Clients
include Alliance & Leicester, uSwitch, Royal Bank of Scotland.
Member PRCA. www.lansons.com
Founded 1994. Subsidiary Havas. Chairman Angus Maitland. No clients
Founded 1980. Subsidiary WPP. Chief executive Richard Oldworth. No
clients disclosed. www.buchanan.uk.com
10 Lexis Public Relations
Founded 1992. Privately owned. Chief executive Hugh Birley. Clients
include Unilever, Norwich Union, Barclays. Member PRCA.
Founded 1981. Subsidiary Huntsworth. Chairman Nigel Kennedy. Clients
include Masterfoods, Fresenius, Heinz. Member PRCA. www.grayling.com
12 Exposure Promotions
Founded 1993. Privately owned. Chief executive Raoul Shah. Clients
include Umbro, Hutchison 3G, InBev. Member PRCA. www.exposure.net
13 Metia (formerly Write Image)
Founded 1988. Subsidiary Metia Group. Chief executive Steve Ellis.
No clients disclosed. www.metia.com
Band and Brown*
Founded 1991. Subsidiary Cossette Communications. Chairman Nick
Band. No clients disclosed. www.bbpr.com.
14 Four Communications
Founded 2001. Privately owned. Chief executive Nan Williams. Clients
include Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, Gulf Air, APACS/Chip &
Euro RSCG Biss Lancaster*
Founded 1978. Subsidiary Havas. Chairman Graham Lancaster. No
clients disclosed. Member PRCA. www.bisslancaster.com
15 The BIG Partnership
Founded 2000. Privately owned. Clients include Scottish Executive,
ScottishPower, Dundas & Wilson. www.bigpartnership.co.uk
Founded 1986. Subsidiary WPP. Managing director Matt de Gruchy. No
clients disclosed. www.shirehealthlondon.com
Founded 1987. Privately owned. Managing director Andrew Litchfield.
Clients include Sunrise Assisted Living, Atkins, Corus.
17 Chandler Chicco
Founded 1998. Privately owned. Managing director Fiona Hall. Clients
include Novartis, Pfizer, Allergan. www.ccapr.com
18 Golley Slater Public Relations
Founded 1957. Privately owned. Chief executive Chris Lovell. Clients
include Persimmon, The Army, Greggs. Member PRCA.
19 Bite Communications
Founded 1995. Subsidiary Next Fifteen Communications. Chief
executive Clive Armitage. Clients include Sun Microsystems, Samsung,
Symantec. Member PRCA. www.bitepr.com
Founded 1995. Subsidiary APCO Worldwide. Managing director Simon
Miller. Clients include GML, Borouge, Lloydspharmacy. Member PRCA.
21 Nelson Bostock Communications
Founded 1987. Subsidiary Creston. Chairman Martin Bostock. Clients
include Canon, Toshiba, Swatch. Member PRCA. www.nelsonbostock.com
Founded 1989. Privately owned. Chief executive Mike Mathieson.
Clients include Nintendo, Unilever, Coors. www.cakegroup.com
Founded 2000. Privately owned. Managing director Kristin Syltevik.
Clients include Research in Motion, Thus, Tiscali. Member PRCA.
Founded 1981. Subsidiary Omnicom Group. Chief executive Richard
Constant. No clients disclosed. www.gavinanderson.com
24 Waggener Edstrom
Founded 2001. Privately owned. President Claire Lematta. Clients
include Microsoft, AMD, GSK. Member PRCA. www.waggeneredstrom.com
25 Portfolio Group
Founded 1988. Privately owned. Joint managing directors Sheila
Gimson, Tony Martin. Clients include eFunds, McKinney Rogers, Select
Education. Member PRCA. www.portmet.co.uk
26 Hunstworth Health
Founded 2006. Subsidiary Huntsworth. Chief executive David Rowley.
Clients include Sanofi Aventis, Servier, Pfizer. www.hhealth.com
27 PPS Group
Founded 1990. Privately owned. Chief executive Steven Byfield.
Clients include Taylor Woodrow, Sainsbury's, Mountgrange.
28 IAS Smarts (formerly Citigate Smarts)
Founded 2005. Subsidiary Media Square Group. Chief executive Rob
Morrice. Clients include Yell, Tarmac, Scottish Executive. Member
29 Munro & Forster Communications
Founded 1984. Privately owned. Managing director Julie Flexen.
Clients include Kellogg, Pfizer, Department of Health. Member PRCA.
30 Ruder Finn UK
Founded 1992. Privately owned. Managing director John Preston.
Clients include Novartis, Pfizer, Ferring. www.ruderfinn.co.uk
31 Penrose Financial
Founded 1998. Privately owned. Managing director Gay Collins.
Clients include Sanlam Financial Services, Investec Asset
Management, Credit Suisse Asset Management. www.penrose.co.uk
32 Resolute Communications
Founded 2002. Privately owned. Chief executive Paul Blackburn. No
clients disclosed. www.resolutecommunications.com
Founded 1990. Subsidiary WPP. Chief executive Mark Cater. Clients
include Dell, BAA, COI. Member PRCA. www.gciuk.com
33 Red Door Communications
Founded 2000. Subsidiary Creston. Managing director Catherine Warne.
Clients include SPMSD, AstraZeneca, Roche. www.rdcomms.com
Founded 2000. Privately owned. Co-founders Giles Fraser, Sarah
Scales. Clients include T-Mobile, Cisco, Webex. Member PRCA.
Founded 1978. Subsidiary Omnicom Group. Managing director Emma
Chadwick. No clients disclosed. www.staniforth.co.uk
35 AS Biss & Co
Founded 1996. Subsidiary The Engine Group. Managing director Sacha
Deshmukh. No clients disclosed. www.asbiss.com
36 Green Issues Communications
Founded 1999. Privately owned. Managing director Tom Curtin. No
clients disclosed. www.greenissues.com
37 The Communication Group
Founded 1986. Subsidiary Entente. Chief executive Michael Hayman.
Clients include Diamond Trading Company, Development Securities,
Burlington Arcade. Member PRCA. www.thecommunicationgroup.co.uk
Founded 1978. Privately owned. Chairman Rosemary Brook. No clients
disclosed. Member PRCA. www.kaizo.net
39 Talk PR
Founded 2001. Subsidiary M&C Saatchi. Chief executive Jane Boardman.
Clients include Procter & Gamble, Tesco, Silverjet. www.talkpr.com
40 Virgo Health PR
Founded 2003. Privately owned. Joint managing directors Angie Wiles,
Sarah Matthew. Clients include GlaxoSmithKline,Boehringer Ingelheim,
Eli Lilly. www.virgohealthpr.com
Founded 1994. Privately owned. Chief executive Julian Tanner.
Clients include VMware, Red Hat, iPass. Member PRCA. www.axicom.com
Founded 1997. Privately owned. Chief executive Steve Howell. Clients
include California Prune Board, Amicus, Miller Homes. Member PRCA.
43 Frank Public Relations
Founded 2000. Privately owned. Chairman Graham Goodkind. Clients
include Unilever, Hutchison 3G, Anheuser-Busch. Member PRCA.
Founded 1956. Subsidiary Interpublic Group. Joint managing directors
Jonathan Hughes, Matthew Neale. No clients disclosed. Member PRCA.
44 Text 100
Founded 1981. Subsidiary Next Fifteen Communications. Chairman
Aedhmar Hynes. Clients include NXP, IBM, ARM. Member PRCA.
45 Media Strategy
Founded 1998. Privately owned. Managing director Charles Lewington.
Clients include Capio Healthcare, Intelligent Finance, IPOC
International Growth Fund. Member PRCA. www.mediastrategy.co.uk
46 Medicom Group
Founded 2003. Privately owned. Managing director Martin Ellis.
Clients include Pfizer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, NHS.
47 Shine Communications
Founded 1998. Privately owned. Managing director Rachel Bell.
Clients include Paramount, Electronic Arts, Heinz. Member PRCA.
Founded 1978. Privately owned. Managing director Emma Wright.
Clients include Crown, Wrigley, Wincanton. Member PRCA.
49 Ptarmigan Consultants
Founded 1989. Privately owned. Managing director Gordon Forbes.
Clients include Wrap, Virgin Media, Yorkshire/Clydesdale Bank.
50 Colman Getty PR
Founded 1987. Privately owned. Chief executive Dotti Irving. Clients
include JK Rowling, The Man Booker Prize, Enterprise Insight.
Founded 1996. Privately owned. Managing director Adrian Brady.
Clients include Royal Mail, Acxiom, EHS Brann. Member PRCA.
52 The Television Consultancy
Founded 1998. Privately owned. Managing director Elaine Stern.
Clients include Virgin Atlantic, Norwich Union, Coca-Cola.
53 Inferno Communications
Founded 2003. Subsidiary Next Fifteen Communications. Managing
director Grant Currie. Clients include Microsoft, Computer
Associates, Vonage. www.infernopr.com
54 Tonic Life Communications
Founded 2004. Privately owned. Chief executive Scott Clark. Clients
include GlaxoSmithKline, Janssen-Cilag, Reckitt Benckiser.
Founded 2004. Subsidiary Omnicom Group. Chief executive Jennifer
Helfer. No clients disclosed. Member PRCA. www.pleon.com
55 Rainier PR
Founded 1997. Subsidiary Loewy. Managing director Stephen
Waddington. Clients include NTL-Telewest Business, Toshiba,
56 Galliard Healthcare Communications
Founded 2000. Privately owned. Chairman Marika Freris. No clients
Founded 1982. Subsidiary Huntsworth. Chairman Alison Clarke. Clients
include Procter & Gamble, British Chicken Marketing Group, Comet.
Member PRCA. www.ehpr.co.uk
58 Purple Public Relations
Founded 1997. Privately owned. Director Fergus Lawlor. Clients
include Morgans Hotel Group, Aspects, Donna Karan DKNY.
59 The SPA Way
Founded 1990. Privately owned. Chief executive Sara Pearson. Clients
include BAA Retail and World Duty Free, Reckitt Benckiser, Waitrose.
60 BGB Communications
Founded 1991. Privately owned. Managing director Debbie Hindel.
Clients include Wales Tourist Board, Stena Line, Passenger Shipping
61 Octopus Communications Consultancy
Founded 2001. Privately owned. Managing directors Jon Lonsdale,
Sandy Purewall. Clients include Adecco, McAfee, Google.
62 William Murray PR
Founded 1986. Privately owned. Chief executive Jackie Cleveland.
Clients include Unilever, Procter & Gamble, 3663.
63 Company Care Communications
Founded 1985. Privately owned. Chief executive Ian McCann. Clients
include Benifon AG, Danger Inc, Visto. Member PRCA.
64 London Communications Agency
Founded 1999. Privately owned. Managing director Robert Gordon
Clark. Clients include London and Continental Railways, CLM, Brent
Founded 1986. Subsidiary WPP. Chief executive Gary Freemantle. No
clients disclosed. Member PRCA. www.clarioncomms.co.uk
65 Northbank Communications
Founded 1999. Privately owned. Chief executive Susan Charles.
Clients include Sigma Aldrich Corporation, Oxford Biomedia,
66 The Whiteoaks Consultancy
Founded 1993. Privately owned. Managing director James Kelliher.
Clients include Autodesk, Thomson Grass Valley, Pegasystems.
67 Taylor Herring
Founded 2001. Privately owned. Joint managing directors Cath Taylor,
James Herring. Clients include UKTV, Endemol, 4DVD Channel 4.
68 The Policy Partnership
Founded 1996. Privately owned. Managing director Andrew Smith.
Clients include Yukos Hydrocarbons Investments, Eller & Co, Embassy
of the Kingdom of Bahrain. www.policypartnership.com
69 Haslimann Taylor
Founded 1987. Subsidiary Huntsworth. Managing director Bronwen
Eames. Clients include Taylor Woodrow Developments, Mitchells &
Butlers, Goodyear Dunlop. Member PRCA. www.haslimanntaylor.com
70 Connectpoint PR
Founded 1995. Subsidiary Hasgrove. Managing director Sandra
McDowell. Clients include Sadolin, Fox's Confectionery, Calor.
71 AD Communications
Founded 1984. Privately owned. Managing director Richard Allen.
Clients include Kodak, EFI, Domino Printing Services. Member PRCA.
72 Johnson King
Founded 1992. Privately owned. Managing director Mike King. Clients
include Sophos, Packeteer, Enterprise Ireland. www.johnsonking.com
73 Kinross and Render
Founded 1987. Privately owned. Chief executive Sara Render. Clients
include Xerox, Hall & Woodhouse, Hewden. Member PRCA.
74 Attenborough Saffron
Founded 1971. Privately owned. Managing director Nick Attenborough.
Clients include Addis, Nature Valley, QVC. www.attenborough.net
75 Myriad Public Relations
Founded 1989. Privately owned. Managing director Steve Weaving.
Clients include SSL International, Hewitsons, 3M UK. www.myriad.com
76 MC2 (Manchester)
Founded 1999. Privately owned. Managing director Mike Perls. Clients
include NCC Group, HSBC Private Bank, Deloitte. www.mcmc.co.uk
77 Launch Group
Founded 2001. Privately owned. Chief executive JM Pitt. Clients
include BP, Tesco, Coors. www.launchgroup.co.uk
78 Cow PR
Founded 2000. Privately owned. Founders Dirk Singer, Sian Morgan.
Clients include TrustMark, Tesco, Google. Member PRCA. www.cowpr.com
79 Camron Public Relations
Founded 1981. Chief executive Judy Dobias. Clients include Liberty,
Swarovski, Twyford. www.camron.co.uk
Founded 1997. Joint managing directors Jane Howard, Deborah Lewis.
Clients include BMT, Kimberly-Clark, Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Member
81 The ITPR Group
Founded 1990. Chairman Bob Dearsley. No clients disclosed.
Founded 2000. Managing director Andrew Last. Clients include
Manpower, Unilever, Heineken. www.saltlondon.com
Source: PR Week
Fee income includes non-UK business, turnover does not.
*Companies House data provided by Willott Kingston Smith for agencies
affected by Sarbanes-Oxley Act
TOP 5 FOR GROWTH - BIG AGENCIES
Company Name Fee income Fee income %
2006(pounds) 2005(pounds) chng
1 Exposure Promotions 6,358,404 3,326,250 91.2
2 Four Communications 5,711,172 4,093,790 39.5
3 Waggener Edstrom 4,381,315 3,168,886 38.3
4 Hotwire 4,536,738 3,377,103 34.3
5 Cake 4,647,000 3,506,000 32.5
Source: PR Week
NOTE: does not include Sarbanes-Oxley-affected agencies
TOP 5 GROWTH - SMALL AGENCIES
Company Name Fee income Fee income %
2006(pounds) 2005(pounds) chng
1 Tonic Life Comms 2,308,968 1,223,075 88.8
2 Freshwater 3,075,614 1,641,943 87.3
3 Virgo Health PR 3,109,866 1,891,652 64.4
4 Resolute Comms 3,866,415 2,449,930 57.8
5 The Television Consultancy 2,418,299 1,547,072 56.3
Source: PR Week
NOTE: does not include Sarbanes-Oxley-affected agencies
THE SARBANES-OXLEY EFFECT
The US Sarbanes-Oxley Act restricts the financial information that firms headquartered in the US are allowed to make public. PR Week's Top 150, on which Marketing's PR leagues are based, ranked Sarbanes-Oxley-affected companies using estimated figures, based on a detailed formula that took into account Companies House data, agency headcount and average industry growth rates, among other factors. For consistency with Marketing's other leagues, we have entered Sarbanes-Oxley-affected agencies in the league on their Companies House data, provided by Willott Kingston Smith, but not ranked them. In these cases gross profit has been used as a guide to fee income. No financial information was available for Burson-Marsteller, Fleishman Hillard, Cohn & Wolfe, MS&L or Ogilvy, and so these agencies have not been included in Marketing's league.
This article was first published on Marketing