The Liberty Comms story starts in 1998, when PR professional Dee Gibbs founded the business after a typically busy working week. Twenty-three years later, Liberty Comms has vindicated that leap of faith. In 2021, this multi-award-winning boutique agency has thrived through every twist of the comms sector, establishing a speciality in technology PR, defying Brexit to put Europe at the heart of its agenda, and accelerating out of the pandemic with story-driven campaigns that are heard around the world.
At every step, Liberty has stayed true to Gibbs’ founding vision of giving clients a tailored face-to-face service that larger multinationals cannot match. “We have no designs to be that kind of business,” says CEO Elena Davidson. “What makes Liberty is our people. We have a super-smart, knowledgeable and collaborative team who aren’t faceless, but work really closely with our clients, so they have a peer relationship they can count on.”
As underlined by Liberty’s victory at the 2020 European Agency Awards, one of the agency’s masterstrokes is to retain that personal touch in a service that crosses borders. Now based in London, Lisbon and San Francisco, this international agency has long tapped into the possibilities offered by Europe, breaking UK clients abroad alongside a trusted network of local agencies.
“Liberty has always been international in focus,” says Davidson. “Our clients work with us as a gateway to Europe, and despite Brexit, that won’t stop. With our network of agencies in every country across Europe, we can offer all the local knowledge of each market that our clients need. If a client works with Liberty in France through a partner, for example, they’re still getting the same service as if they were working with us from our London or Portuguese office.”
While planting the flag abroad for its UK clients, Liberty has also become the first choice for the continent’s most dynamic technology firms. “We have a very strong relationship with Estonia, for example,” Davidson points out, “and we do a lot of work with the Estonian government and other companies. It’s a hugely innovative country. They have a population of just 1.3 million, but it’s the best-performing nation in the world, in terms of tech unicorns per capita.”
From domestic start-up to global giants, Liberty tailors its service accordingly, inviting clients to cherry-pick a three-pillar offering that takes in ‘Storytelling & Engagement’, ‘Reputation & Management’, and ‘Brand Management & Sales Enablement’. “Our services encompass everything from content development to thought leadership and market intelligence,” explains Davidson. “Then we have our Creative Studio, which takes in creative design, videography and much more. Our Measurement Lab underlies everything and proves the ROI on our work, to make sure it’s positively impacting the client’s bottom line.”
During the pandemic, the battle for that bottom line has been more demanding than ever. But as Davidson explains, by offering the kind of compelling stories that have made Liberty a favourite source for journalists, it’s still possible to cut through the noise. “We ran a great campaign last year at the start of the pandemic with an organisation called The Global Hack*. It brought together a whole cast of supporters, from inventors to captains of industry – even the chess champion Garry Kasparov – to develop ideas to help combat the pandemic and use technology as a force for good. We’re really proud of that, because it showed our commitment to doing something positive to help people during Covid.”
The Liberty Academy
That same social purpose is evident in the award-winning Liberty Academy**, established in 2013, which seeks to nurture a fresh generation of talent whose career path into PR looks uncertain. The scheme was a decisive factor in Liberty winning the 2021 Company Culture Awards in the Best Apprenticeship Programme category. “We recognised early on that Covid was leaving young people in a difficult position with regards to their career aspirations,” says Davidson. “So the Liberty Academy puts a real focus on helping them, partnering with universities and colleges, running coaching workshops, drop-in clinics and internships. We put a big focus on doing that broadly, but also on helping students from BAME backgrounds or who don’t have a family history of higher education – to ensure the PR industry is open to everyone.”
As for the industry that awaits them, Davidson feels the future is bright – at Liberty and beyond. “I think it’s vital we continue to be a truly international organisation and it’s really important that we have international collaborations that aren’t bound by bureaucracy,” she says. “We want to be working with companies that progress the greater good and have the right ethical values. We want to be innovative, forward-thinking, nimble and able to challenge each other. And we want to make sure we continue to put our team first. Because when people thrive, organisations thrive.”
Discover more about Liberty Comms’ and the work they do here.
*The Global Hack programme has been shortlisted in the Best Campaign During The Coronavirus Crisis category of the 2021 PRmoment Awards and the Best COVID Response(Agency) category of the 2021 CIPR Excellence Awards
**The Liberty Academy programme was named the winner in the Best Apprenticeship Programme (Agency) category in the 2021 Company Culture Awards