Headland saw its public affairs revenue grow 37.5 per cent in 2020, a year in which the agency said its model of reducing silos has been truly tested and shown to deliver.
Client wins in the period have included Accenture, Be The Business, KFC, London City Airport, Saga, Pearson and Premier Foods.
Highlights of its work include, for Pret, keeping political audiences across government, parliament and local authorities informed about its COVID-19 strategy. Headland also worked closely with Treasury officials when lockdown for hospitality was first introduced, resulting in a name check by the Chancellor as one of the first companies to make use of the Government’s job retention scheme.
Its work for the consumer-facing Wine Drinkers UK led to a duty cut for wine in March. Headland also lead the successful campaign for Lime to legalise electric scooters in the UK.
The agency grew from 87 to 107 employees, with no staff furloughed or made redundancies. It introduced a new programme for learning, career development, performance, and assessment, spearheaded by the appointment of its first chief people officer Rosheeka Field.
Key hires in the public affairs team include former Department for Transport and Number 10 advisor Simon Jones, joining as partner to develop and lead the infrastructure practice; Kenny Ferguson, joining as an associate director from DExEU, where he was special advisor; Danny Wilding, another associate director who led UK public affairs at Danone; and Anna McGovern, account manager and former advisor to the Shadow Health Secretary.
"It has been fascinating to watch Headland grow over the last few years into a real force for good within the industry. They hire smart people and deliver good, effective campaigns that shift the dial. This entry is strong - impressive growth and decent stable profits show this is a well run agency that focuses on the mental wellbeing of its staff as well as performance."
Blakeney delivered some strong and successful public affairs work in 2019/2020, including helping secure approval for a new 23,500-seat arena in Manchester for Oak View Group; and helping increase the COVID-era financial package for the cultural sector to £1.57bn to include live music, for the pan-music industry client LIVE. Pre-tax profit at the agency is set to reach £410k in 2020 – a 55 per cent increase, year-on-year.
Interel Consulting UK