THE TOP 150 PR CONSULTANCIES 2001: Top performers - In a boom year for PR, the top performers capitalised on existing strengths while actively seeking out fresh arenas in which to demonstrate their talents and skills

Highest fee income per head in the Top 100

Rnk Company Fee income per head % Fee income Staff

00 99 grwth (pounds) 00 00

1 Buchanan Comms 156,628 125,357 25 5,325,339 34

2 Medical Action 141,667 91,667 55 10,200,000 72

Communications

3 Richmond Towers 135,938 126,765 7 4,350,000 32

4 Shared Value1 120,506 20,833 - 1,325,567 11

5 Rainier 113,906 102,167 11 1,139,063 10

6 Brahm Public 112,599 110,931 2 2,364,587 21

Relations

7 AxiCom 112,116 93,990 19 3,811,934 34

8 Fishburn Hedges 107,344 99,533 8 8,158,111 76

9 BMA Communications 105,986 110,880 -4 1,907,745 18

10 Citigate Dewe 102,476 108,611 -6 31,562,608 308

Rogerson

11 Bell Pottinger 101,597 99,650 2 30,479,000 300

Communications

12 Roger Staton Assoc 100,709 95,768 5 1,913,466 19

13 Banner Corporation 97,732 84,834 15 2,247,830 23

14 College Hill 94,528 83,783 13 9,830,934 104

15 Penrose Financial 94,318 81,675 15 2,074,997 22

16 Lansons Comms 89,045 82,664 8 4,630,349 52

17 Burson-Marsteller 88,593 92,878 -5 17,187,000 194

18 The Communication 88,468 81,761 8 4,158,000 47

Group

19 Strategic Alliance 86,407 79,297 9 1,728,142 20

International

20 Cohn & Wolfe 85,805 76,015 13 8,408,892 98

21 Fleishman-Hillard 84,553 64,411 30 6,426,000 76

22 Edelman Public 84,335 90,007 -6 10,457,554 124

Relations Worldwide

23 Sinclair Mason 82,267 79,899 3 1,563,073 19

24 Chandler Chicco 81,919 69,737 15 1,228,789 15

Agency

25 AD Communications 81,756 76,259 17 2,043,909 25



Taken from Top 100 agencies.



1 Shared Value set up end of 1999



- Twelve agencies realised more than pounds 100,000 fee income per

head



- In its first full year of trading, Shared Value has delivered a very

healthy return on its staff of more than pounds 120,000 per head



HIGHEST FEE INCOME - Buchanan Communications



Specialist financial communications consultancy Buchanan Communications

has delivered the highest return on its staff. Fee income per head was

pounds 156,628, an increase of 25 per cent on the previous year.



Chief executive Richard Oldworth says staff are benefiting from the

five-year earn-out deal Buchanan struck with WPP. Incentives have been

in place since the company was acquired, ensuring the 'people' side of

the business has flourished.



Oldworth comments: 'Agencies don't have the same kind of assets as a

factory. If fee income per head is high, it is because we work so well

as a team. We are very careful whom we recruit.'



After 2002, new incentive schemes will be put in place to keep staff

well motivated. Oldworth noticed an unforeseen benefit of the WPP deal:

staff retention. 'This is good for both the agency and our clients,' he

says.



In the City, Buchanan is known as a TMT (technology, media and

telecommunications) specialist. Oldworth says: 'TMT companies were very

fashionable last year. We were one of the first to realise there would

be an influx of IPOs.'



Buchanan worked on more than 35 IPOs last year, specialising in early

stage technology businesses. Clients included RiverSoft, an internet

software business floated by Morgan Stanley; Sports Resource Group, a

sports consultancy business and IG Index, a spread betting company.



Several other wins did not come via the IPO route. These included

venture capitalist firm Alchemy Partners; Coffee Republic; Crown Sports

and Global Telematics, a vehicle tracking company.



Oldworth believes the IPO frenzy in the sector is over. This year

Buchanan will be concentrating mostly on non-TMT IPOs. He predicts solid

growth for the agency over the next year, but believes the UK stock

market will remain soft.



'We will be looking for cross referral work from other WPP companies.

Last year, when we were so busy, we struggled to respond to their needs,

but now we have the opportunity to spend more time in this area.'



Fastest growing agencies in the Top 100

Rank Company Total PR income (pounds)

00 99 growth

1 Gnash Communications 1,841,099 724,373 154.16

2 Chandler Chicco Agency 1,228,789 488,161 151.72

3 Golin/Harris 6,662,000 2,707,000 146.10

4 Midnight Communications 1,614,090 687,989 134.61

5 PPS Group 3,088,341 1,575,680 96.00

6 Joe Public Relations 2,232,296 1,178,256 89.45

7 BSMG Worldwide (UK) 17,919,214 9,821,166 82.46

8 Fleishman-Hillard 6,426,000 3,607,000 78.15

9 Portfolio Communications 2,604,277 1,465,389 77.72

10 Nelson Bostock 3,127,328 1,759,782 77.71

Communications

11 Johnson King 1,881,992 1,071,128 75.70

12 Hobsbawm Macauley Comms 1,198,345 695,349 72.34

13 A.S. Biss & Co 1,593,785 999,123 59.52

14 Rainier 1,139,063 715,166 59.27

15 Band & Brown Communications 4,736,195 2,993,608 58.21

16 Lewis 4,212,659 2,690,606 56.57

17 AxiCom 3,811,934 2,443,737 55.99

18 Phipps Public Relations 1,230,087 811,547 51.57

19 HCC De Facto Group 1,955,800 1,299,500 50.50

20 The Whiteoaks Consultancy 1,279,819 856,357 49.45

21 Penrose Financial 2,074,997 1,388,472 49.44

22 Ptarmingron Consultants 1,493,121 1,001,111 49.15

23 Bite Communications 3,539,403 2,382,844 48.54

24 Buchanan Communications 5,325,339 3,635,353 46.49

25 Roger Staton Associates 1,913,466 1,340,751 42.72

Rnk Company Staff Clients

% %

00 99 grwth 00 99 grwth

1 Gnash Communications 24 16 50 18 15 20

2 Chandler Chicco Agency 15 7 114 10 4 150

3 Golin/Harris 87 42 107 88 34 159

4 Midnight Communications 39 19 105 22 15 47

5 PPS Group 45 36 25 32 31 3

6 Joe Public Relations 36 21 71 24 17 41

7 BSMG Worldwide (UK) 223 101 121 302 60 403

8 Fleishman-Hillard 76 56 36 33 24 38

9 Portfolio Communications 42 26 62 68 39 74

10 Nelson Bostock 48 30 60 45 28 61

Communications

11 Johnson King 35 19 84 21 22 -5

12 Hobsbawm Macauley Comms 23 22 5 21 15 40

13 A.S. Biss & Co 21 17 24 30 27 11

14 Rainier 10 7 43 apc* apc* -

15 Band & Brown Communications 79 55 44 44 43 2

16 Lewis 73 47 55 97 56 73

17 AxiCom 34 26 31 52 32 63

18 Phipps Public Relations 23 17 35 13 11 18

19 HCC De Facto Group 46 39 18 44 24 83

20 The Whiteoaks Consultancy 24 19 26 19 15 27

21 Penrose Financial 22 17 29 38 24 58

22 Ptarmingron Consultants 38 26 46 23 19 21

23 Bite Communications 54 43 26 23 15 53

24 Buchanan Communications 34 29 17 143 116 23

25 Roger Staton Associates 19 14 36 15 11 36



Taken from Top 100 agencies. Ranking based on percentage growth in fee

income to two decimal places. * APC = All project clients.



- Staff numbers grew dramatically at Chandler Chicco as the agency saw

fee income top pounds 1.2m. The healthcare specialist has ten clients

(including Novartis Pharma), more than double the number reported in

1999



FASTEST GROWING AGENCY - Gnash Communications



Tipped as a 'one to watch' in the PRWeek Top 150 agency survey 2000,

Gnash Communications has lived up to that expectation. The agency saw

fee income rise by 154 per cent to pounds 1.8m, making it the fastest

growing consultancy in the Top 100.



'One of the reasons for our success,' says founder Narda Shirley, 'is

that we deliberately kept client numbers down. We work with three

clients each - in many agencies it is five or six. That means we have

developed a deeper, broader relationship with them. The strategy allows

us to charge more for the work that we do.'



Much of Gnash's business is in the dot.com sector, but ironically the

crash in that arena led to more work. 'One of the services we offer is

crisis management,' Shirley explains. 'As the dot.com sector suffered we

were trying to balance opinion.' New project business, such as Ready2,

came in as a result.



Gnash continued to work with lastminute.com, and had great success with

viral marketing campaigns for it, and new client letsbuyit.com. Shirley

believes that the technique is entering the mainstream. 'Viral marketing

reaches so many opinion-formers online, so fast. It can really enhance a

media campaign by reinforcing a set of messages in a more entertaining

way. The crucial thing is to make a fair exchange of information and

entertainment for the consumer's attention.'



Gnash intends to take its approach, which has worked so well for what

Shirley describes as 'ambitious, entrpreneurial clients' to the

mainstream. Its aim is to work alongside other PR shops 'as the edgy,

exciting bit' who complement the brand guardians.



'We are good at taking a new idea and making a big noise about it from a

standing start,' says Shirley. 'I do not see us as Coca Cola's press

office, but if they have an exciting new project, bring us in to work on

that.'



The niche that Gnash positioned itself in has evolved as the industry

has. Shirley belives that traditional big client companies will be the

ultimate winners in the markeplace. 'Our job it to help them

communicate.



The rule book is not being rewritten, but the contents page is certainly

being redrafted,' she explains, adding with enthusiasm 'it's a very

exciting time to be working in marketing services.'



Top performers over five years

Rnk Company % Growth Fee income Fee income

5 years Per year* 00 (pounds) 99 (pounds)

1 Warman & Bannister 495.00 56.18 1,081,000 1,032,000

Cambridge

2 Bite Communications 385.45 48.40 3,539,403 2,382,844

3 Banner Corporation 341.11 44.91 2,247,830 1,781,511

4 Portfolio Comms 328.19 43.83 2,604,277 1,465,389

5 Nelson Bostock 309.83 42.21 3,127,328 1,759,782

Communications

6 Phipps Public 292.06 40.71 1,230,087 811,547

Relations

7 Johnson King 273.98 39.07 1,881,992 1,071,128

8 Ruder Finn UK 273.57 38.97 2,410,294 1,789,583

9 The Whiteoaks 270.19 38.69 1,279,819 856,357

Consultancy

10 Band & Brown 234.30 35.19 4,736,195 2,993,608

Communications

11 Fleishman-Hillard 222.06 33.96 6,426,000 3,607,000

12 The Red Consultancy 221.47 33.85 5,640,535 4,015,769

13 Nexus Choat PR 219.76 33.75 4,256,000 3,726,000

14 Talk Loud PR 218.45 33.54 753,392 539,970

15 Firefly Comms 183.63 29.70 7,076,003 5,652,082

16 MacLaurin 181.61 29.59 4,871,212 3,873,319

17 Ogilvy Public 181.12 29.47 6,002,000 4,880,000

Relations W'wide

18 HCC De Facto Group 180.19 29.36 1,955,800 1,299,500

19 Roger Staton Assoc 174.83 28.78 1,913,466 1,340,751

20 Consolidated 152.13 25.99 5,197,157 3,877,177

Communications

21 Barrett Dixon Bell 146.84 25.36 780,000 588,000

22 College Hill 144.97 25.24 9,830,934 7,456,710

23 Cohn & Wolfe 142.10 24.73 8,408,892 6,309,253

24 Lansons Comms 128.14 22.88 4,630,349 3,471,888

25 Lexis Public 127.90 22.75 4,521,382 3,579,777

Relations

Rnk Company Fee income Fee income Fee income

98(pounds ) 97(pounds) 96 (pounds)

1 Warman & Bannister 561,000 304,760 181,680

Cambridge

2 Bite Communications 1,481,283 1,041,678 729,100

3 Banner Corporation 1,151,260 809,084 509,582

4 Portfolio Comms 1,235,749 929,404 608,206

5 Nelson Bostock 1,071,563 960,920 763,072

Communications

6 Phipps Public 510,402 287,409 313,750

Relations

7 Johnson King 660,419 436,909 503,236

8 Ruder Finn UK 1,655,426 1,168,443 645,202

9 The Whiteoaks 688,797 506,718 345,719

Consultancy

10 Band & Brown 2,201,232 1,810,525 1,416,768

Communications

11 Fleishman-Hillard 2,212,160 2,233,124 1,995,282

12 The Red Consultancy 3,271,117 2,411,719 1,754,585

13 Nexus Choat PR 3,724,000 3,279,000 1,331,000

14 Talk Loud PR 545,923 392,250 236,580

15 Firefly Comms 4,232,415 3,310,197 2,494,785

16 MacLaurin 3,128,897 2,702,979 1,729,775

17 Ogilvy Public 2,267,000 1,742,000 2,135,000

Relations W'wide

18 HCC De Facto Group - 1 963,153 698,017

19 Roger Staton Assoc 938,688 936,605 696,244

20 Consolidated 3,140,937 2,596,357 2,061,322

Communications

21 Barrett Dixon Bell 448,000 397,000 316,000

22 College Hill 5,656,286 4,647,827 4,013,051

23 Cohn & Wolfe 5,399,185 4,187,583 3,473,278

24 Lansons Comms 2,615,689 2,312,941 2,029,612

25 Lexis Public 2,720,608 2,252,701 1,983,957

Relations



*Compound interest. 1 HCC De Facto Group did not enter Top 150 data for

this year



- This year, 14 consultancies saw five-year growth of more than 200 per

cent, compared to only ten last year



TOP PERFORMER OVER FIVE YEARS - Warman & Bannister



For the second year running, Cambridge-based consultancy Warman &

Bannister is the top performer over five years.



Since1994, PR fees have grown almost 500 per cent to pounds 1,081,000 in

2000, although 2000 itself saw a rise of only six per cent.



Acting managing director and head of PR Simon McKay agrees there was a

slowdown, but says this was due to a change of emphasis.



'We were so busy in 2000 with existing clients that we didn't go looking

for other work,' says McKay. 'We focused on the client-based

relationships we have built up over last five to eight years.'



McKay has been acting managing director since Francesca Brosan left in

October to set up an advertising and design consultancy.



The agency is predominantly a business-to-business shop, specialising in

telecoms, technology and electronics. The Cambridge location is a real

advantage, according to McKay. 'Technology marketing skills are

concentrated here and are really putting Cambridge on the map,' he

says.



Over the last year, W&B has added industrial expertise, animal health

and medical equipment to its core strengths. Work for clients including

Philipps Medical Systems and animal health company Virbac has grown

incrementally.



One of W&B's biggest clients is Shell. McKay explains: 'As an

organisation, we tend not to work at corporate level, concentrating on

the divisions belonging to a company.'



One example is Kraton, which produces a range of high-performance

elastomers.



Kraton divested from Shell in February 2001, but the W&B spent 2000

gearing up for the launch.



'We are working on an integrated post-launch campaign for Kraton,

involved in advertising and literature as well as PR,' adds McKay.



Looking forwards, McKay says the agency is committed to investing in its

people and providing the right degree of tailored training at the right

level.



In new business, W&B is looking to develop into areas where it lacks

expertise, such as the biotechnology sector and new areas of the

telecoms market. 'We have all the right skills in-house for the job,'

says McKay.



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