Hard Numbers will focus on high-growth b2b companies with performance-driven marketing and “communications that gets results”.
The agency will offer media relations, outsourced lead-generation and content marketing services to b2b clients in technology, professional services, data and research.
Stollery will continue in his role as creative director of Hype Collective, but will step back from some of his day-to-day responsibilities to work on Hard Numbers, which, in effect, will be a sister agency. He worked as a senior account director at Hotwire from 2014 to 2017.
Sparey was business development director at Hotwire until May, when he left to start up Hard Numbers. He previously ran the London office of a digital marketing business, and sales and marketing for media intelligence business Precise (now Kantar Media) for more than a decade.
Joining the pair at Hard Numbers are two senior consultants in media relations: former programme director Hannah Joyce and Courtney Glymph, founder of YourStory PR.
Hard Numbers launches with three foundation clients: two in fintech and financial services, including payments business Paynetics, and one in the professional services sector.
Sparey told PRWeek that he had intended to set up his own shop prior to the start of the coronavirus pandemic with a focus on a performance-based PR that combines “excellence in creative” with “meaningful results”.
This means results that deliver an ROI and are closely linked to business outcomes, rather than vanity metrics – or, as Sparey puts it: “moving beyond reach”. The choice of Hard Numbers as the agency name is designed to reflect this focus.
He believes there is a gap in the market for an agency that combines creative excellence with strong measurement creds, that PR often “doesn’t speak the language of the CFO”, and the agency prides itself on being completely transparent with clients in terms of workflow.
“We believe Hard Numbers is a company that’s built for the times we live in now. We’re lean, we’re very hungry, we’re commercially driven, and we believe that the effectiveness of our work can and must be measured. We don’t sell time. We sell results that mean something to our clients,” Sparey said.
Stollery added: “Too many b2b agencies lack a compelling creative offering, and too many creative agencies think 'sales' is a dirty word. This frustrates and excites us in equal measure, because it gives us the drive to do something genuinely unique.
"We want to pair killer creative output with a hard-nosed approach to business results. It's a proposition that has proved incredibly popular with our prospects so far, and… it's built for the economic climate we are launching in.”