Big Partnership names head of Manchester amid expansion

Big Partnership, the Glasgow-based marketing and communications agency, has hired a new head of its Manchester office as the group plans to "ramp up investment" in northern England.

Rob McCann: now leads Big Partnership's Manchester office
Rob McCann: now leads Big Partnership's Manchester office

The appointment follows a recent growth spurt at Big Partnership, which has increased its headcount by about one-third since the end of 2020.

The agency's new head of Manchester is Rob McCann, former head of client services at Manchester-based firm BBI and, prior to that, Yorkshire agency Jaywing. Big Partnership said McCann "brings more than a decade of agency experience across integrated marketing, digital and communications". His previous clients include Sky, BT Sports, Hoover, Halfords, DW Sports, ADT and Jewson.

Big Partnership's Manchester office opened in 2016, initially headed by Sarah Lawless, who left the agency last year. In the intervening period, the office has been overseen by the agency's board in Glasgow.

The agency's total workforce is 95 – up from 66 at the end of 2020, according to the PRWeek UK Top 150 Consultancies report.

Big Partnership chief executive Allan Barr said: “Rob’s appointment represents a major signing for our agency. He is a well-known and highly respected figure within the North-West agency scene and brings a huge amount of experience in successfully leading integrated accounts for a multitude of household brands.

“I’m excited by Rob’s vision for Big in Manchester. He has a proven track record of creating major campaigns that have delivered impressive results for clients and we believe he is the right person to lead our operations in the North West. We’re backing him with a major investment to significantly ramp up our Manchester team and he’s already identified several key signings that we’ll be unveiling in the coming weeks.”

McCann said: “I’ve been keeping an eye on Big’s Manchester office for a few years now. From a standing start, it’s grown to become one of the UK’s largest independent agencies and one of only a few that can truly boast a full-service offering to its clients. Once I learned of its plans to significantly ramp up its base in the city, I jumped at the chance to become a part of that journey.

“As the industry evolves, I believe we are seeing a trend in clients looking to benefit from the economies of scale and efficiencies that come with having a single agency partner to cover all their marketing and communications needs. Clients often don’t have the time to brief multiple agencies and deal with what can be competing interests. As a full-service agency, I believe Big is ideally placed to capitalise on that shift.”

Big Partnership provides PR, marketing, digital, public affairs, design and events services to more than 350 clients, which include Apple, Red Bull, NatWest, Peel Ports, The Macallan and Aldi. The agency is the UK's third-biggest outside London, and has three offices in Scotland in addition to the Manchester hub.

It generated revenue of £7.8m in 2020, a decline of 21 per cent on 2019, according to the Top 150 table.

The firm announced a series of senior promotions in May this year.

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