Gong and Cherish merge to form sustainability-focused PR agency

An agency centred on tech innovation and sustainability has been born out of the merger of Cherish and Gong Communications.

(L-R) Wilful co-founders Narda Shirley and Rebecca Oatley
(L-R) Wilful co-founders Narda Shirley and Rebecca Oatley

The offices of Wilful, the agency created by the merger of Cherish and Gong Communications, are in London's Marylebone and house 30 members of staff.

The agency's brief is to help clients with the climate emergency. It will work internationally from its London HQ with partner networks in Europe, Asia Pacific and Africa.

Wilful’s clients will be able to work with brands within Cherish, including Loud, which focuses on social media, influencers and paid digital, and Little Bear, a service focused on helping early-stage startups with PR.

Figures at the agency include green marketer John Grant, a founder of ad agency St Luke’s, who is a partner; brand designer Faizia Khan; and regeneration leadership consultant Giles Hutchins.

The launch comes ahead of the start of COP26, the United Nations Climate Change Conference, which takes place in Glasgow from 31 October to 12 November.

Rebecca Oatley, who founded Cherish PR in 2003 and is now chief executive and co-founder of Wilful alongside co-founder Narda Shirley, said: “We are in another phase of rapid technology innovation with capital chasing game-changing ideas and visionary entrepreneurs. This time, the stakes are much higher; we need to help the most promising innovations to find their audiences to successfully make the leap to a sustainable low carbon future.”

Shirley, who founded Gong Communications in 2003, said: “Organisations that are gearing up for the transition to a low-carbon future need a communications partner that can keep pace with the speed of change and the ability to react quickly to opportunities without compromising on the quality of the advice. Reassuringly, we are seeing plenty of brilliant innovations out there already, from big corporates as well as from start-ups. The challenge now is to help the best ones get to scale, which is where we believe communications has a key role to play.”

Wilful’s chair is Mike Rowe, founder of digital agency group 1000Heads. Nikki Francis has been appointed as group managing director while Lisa Wlodyka becomes director consumer and Jo Cotterell becomes group finance director.

Some of Wilful’s recent clients include carbon removal marketplace Puro.earth, seaweed bio-refinery and industry catalyser Oceanium, and Unreasonable Group. Key clients within the wider Wilful Group include Airtasker, Henkel, IFC, Lloyd’s, Old Mutual and Danone.

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