PRWeek Awards 2011: Boutique Consultancy of the Year (UK fees less than £2m)

John Doe was founded in 2009 by Rana Reeves (pictured), the former creative director of Shine Communications. He wanted to create a new style of youth and consumer PR agency using what he had learned at his previous agencies Red Rooster, JCPR and Shine.

Boutique Consultancy of the Year (UK fees less than £2m): John Doe

The agency began with one founding client, Sony PlayStation, which has followed Reeves through three agencies over a period of 12 years.

The agency's proposition is to offer a bespoke approach to client needs, rather than the 'one size fits all' approach. But what really differentiates the agency from others is an impressive contacts book and the ability to connect corporate brands with contemporary culture in a meaningful way.

The agency has a core team of 14, and a wider 'John Doe family' that it calls in depending on the cultural sector in which a project sits. This lets it move swiftly as a small player, but also give big agency support and expertise when needed.

Setting up staff to succeed is an important factor for the business. In the past 12 months, the agency has invested £21,000 in staff training and development – including one-to-one coaching for both junior and senior team members – using a mixture of internal and external trainers, CIPR and PRCA sessions. Senior staff are also offered executive training.


A cool agency, but much more than that. John Doe could be the future of brand PR

Tony Langham, CEO, Lansons Communications

The agency invests a further £38,000 in staff benefits, which include 24-hour expense payment turnarounds, a clothing allowance, pensions, gym membership, BlackBerrys, nutritionists, club memberships, breakfast and fruit, and financial planning. The effort seems to have paid off: the agency has a 92 per cent staff retention rate.

Key client wins over the past year include General Motors, London Trocadero, YHA, Amnesty UK, W Hotels, Babelgum, Tate Britain and the Whitechapel Gallery. Organic growth has also come from brand extension projects for Intel, Vodafone, BlackBerry, PlayStation Europe, Sony Software and Dell.

Income growth is 42 per cent year on year, and organic growth exceeds 20 per cent. In the first four months of 2011, the agency won enough new business to exceed £1m in fees. Perhaps it won't be a boutique for long.

The Awards 2011 book will be available in this week's issue of PRWeek

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