2014 EMEA Specialist Consultancies Of The Year
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Holmes Report
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2014 EMEA Specialist Consultancies Of The Year

Our 2014 winners are Jung Relations, Seven Hills, RLM Finsbury, Pegasus, Burson-Marsteller, Brands2Life, We Are Social and Hope & Glory.

Holmes Report

2014 EMEA Specialist Consultancies Of The Year

Agencies will be honoured at the 2014 EMEA SABRE Awards, on 20 May at the Roundhouse in London.

Consumer Consultancy of the Year: Jung Relations
The Nordic region continues to punch above its weight in terms of creativity, and Sweden’s Jung Relations is in the vanguard, with four of its campaigns shortlisted for EMEA region SABRE Awards this year, ranging from its “unbranded” campaign for Volvo (which turned the traditional model for introducing a new car on its head and led a global transformation of the Volvo brand) to its blogger relations campaign on behalf of P&G’s Pantene brand. With a team of around 45 in its Stockholm headquarters, led by CEO and creative director Claes Bodin and PR strategist Jonas Sevenius—and supplemented by a new head of digital, Oskar Sundberg—the firm is one of the largest consumer-focused consultancies in Sweden, while the launch last year of a new corporate practice (helmed by former Prime executive Claes Nystromer) promises an intriguing injection of creativity into a more staid arena.—PH
Finalists: Cohn & Wolfe, iris, Prime, Unity

Corporate Consultancy of the Year: Seven Hills
Seven Hills launched four years ago and has grown into a firm of around 35 people with fee income of £2.25 million (up 40% last year), while providing a template for other firms seeking to carve out a distinctive niche in a cluttered PR landscape. The firm has focused on working with entrepreneurs and growth businesses—and companies and destinations looking to reach them—and has insinuated itself into the UK’s entrepreneurial culture by developing thought leadership research and creating unique events, such as this year’s Summit: The Future of Growth, bringing together entrepreneurial leaders. Clients include Ella’s Kitchen, Coutts, Intuit, Kent County Council, the Peter Jones Foundation and Doug Richards’ School for Startups, while new additions last year included Evernote, Ovo Energy, Irwin Mitchell, and 118 118.—PH
Finalists: Blue Rubicon, Geelmuyden Kiese, MSLGroup, Sermelo

Financial Consultancy of the Year: RLM Finsbury
Three years after WPP merged its US and UK financial comms firms, RLM Finsbury topped the European M&A tables by value, advising on $181bn worth of deals, an impressive 49% increase on the year earlier. Key transactions included Glencore’s merger with Xstrata, the £780m Infinis IPO and Schneider Electreic’s £3.4bn acquisition of Invensys. But the agency merger has brought other benefits beyond just increased deal flow — the company’s corporate, crisis and political capabilities continue to grow in prominence, evidenced by its counsel to Starbucks at the height of that company’s tax crisis. Other new business highlights included Marks & Spencer, London Stock Exchange, a pivotal role in WPP’s Statoil win, G4S, Paddy Power and Nokia — all of which serve to underscore how RLM Finsbury’s cross-border capabilities are increasingly paying off in Europe and the Middle East.—AS
Finalists: Brunswick, Hering Schuppener, Llorente & Cuenca, Maitland

Healthcare Consultancy of the Year: Pegasus
With the traditional Rx pharmaceutical business going through a difficult period—relatively few new blockbuster drugs, and a challenging regulatory environment—healthcare PR firms are being forced to look for new avenues of growth, and those looking to the consumer health space have found at least a couple of established competitors taking the lead. Pegasus, based on the south coast of England and focused on “inspiring healthy decisions,” is probably the best of them, a firm with an outstanding workplace culture (recognized by its employees in our Best Consultancies to Work For research) and an impressive creative track record, with work on a sports marketing partnership for Novo Nordisk and a tooth sensitivity/oral hygiene education program for Sensodyne. Growth last year was around 25%, as the firm won a spot on the GSK roster and picked up work from Novartis, Lloydspharmacy and others while continuing its relationships with Holland & Barrett, Bayer, Danone, Nestle Purina and Pfizer. The expansion of the firm’s digital and social media capabilities was another key factor in its success.—PH
Finalists: Biosector 2, Firstlight, Red Door, Virgo Health

Public Affairs Consultancy of the Year: Burson-Marsteller
A team of 60—representing 22 different nationalities—in Brussels makes Burson-Marsteller a perennial powerhouse in the European capital, but with public affairs professionals spread across 18 additional offices throughout the region, the firm is uniquely well-placed to handle multimarket assignments in EMEA—like helping the Socialists & Democrats party launch its new vision for Europe. Other highlights ranged from helping Shell deal with fracking issues in the Netherlands to representing the interests of the Swiss banking industry, as well as its own thought leadership initiatives, such as the Twiplomacy study of Twitter usage in the diplomatic realm and the Europe Decides website. The key is talent, and 2013 saw the addition of UK public affairs veteran Kevin Bell as global chair of public affairs, joining a team that includes Brussels CEO David Earnshaw and EMEA public affairs chair Karen Massin.—PH
Finalists: Cambre Associates, FleishmanHillard, Hanover, Portland

Technology Consultancy of the Year: Brands2Life
It wasn’t just another year of strong (15%) growth that helped Brands2Life repeat as EMEA Technology Consultancy of the Year, it’s that the growth came from work that was more global, more digital, more integrated, and more strategic. There was plenty of new business from the likes of at800, Autodesk, GE Oil & Gas and GE Power Conversion, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Zopa, while the firm continues to produce award-worthy work ranging from corporate positioning on behalf of EMC, to a “Bring In Your Parents Day” campaign for LinkedIn, to creating an immersive online destination for VMWare, to a marketing campaign for Groupon.—PH
Finalists: Hotwire, Lewis PR, Octopus, Waggener Edstrom

Digital Consultancy of the Year: We Are Social
We Are Social’s growth continues to mesmerise, so much so that China’s BlueFocus shelled out upwards of $30m for an 82.8% interest in the agency. And who can blame them? We Are Social’s European revenues now exceed $29m, powered by 66% growth across the UK, Paris, Milan and Munich — a formidable footprint that now employs 300 people, including 130 in London. In a region where big agencies struggle for growth, there is something relentlessly upbeat about these numbers, evidence of how a laser-like focus on social media expertise can reap rich dividends. That focus expanded in 2013, bolstered by a new social advertising service that aims to ride the paid media wave. New business featured several major brands, including Beats by Dre, Mondelez, HSBC, Piaget and BMW Group, joining a client roster that already counts Jaguar, Danone, Adidas and Heinz. The work continues to impress, featuring standout campaigns such as ’Tweet and Shoot’, the 'Wimbledon Wiggle’, the world’s first ’socially-sourced wine,’ and successful initiatives for Jaguar, Heinz and Bulmers. We Are Social has also built a strong reputation for thought leadership, thanks to industry-leading research and a commitment to its own content. And, finally, the firm continued to showcase its ability to attract industry-leading talent, with an influx of new hires capped off by the arrival of chief strategy officer Mobbie Nazir from JWT.—AS
Finalists: Deportivo, Edelman, [email protected], Threepipe

New Consultancy of the Year: Hope & Glory
Founded at the end of 2011 with minority backing from Lansons, Hope & Glory always appeared destined to succeed. That it has is largely down to the leadership duo of Jo Carr and James Gordon-Macintosh, a pair that had already served notice of their talents at a prior posting with Seventy Seven PR. Rather than position themselves as a new-fangled shiny object, Hope & Glory’s aspirations were credibly humble — “we’re not different,” they told us, “we like to think that we’re simply better.” The agency's first 24 months of operation provides ample evidence that the latter statement is true, showcasing an eye-catching new business haul that includes such big brands as Ikea, O2, Barclays, HTC, Virgin Active and the Royal Mint. Now numbering 27 staffers, Hope & Glory focuses on consumer brand PR and social media, often developing simple creative ideas that resonate strongly, demonstrated by impressive work for Meantime Brewing, the Royal Mint, and O2’s UpCycle initiative.—AS   
Finalists: Aduro, Albion Drive, Newgate, Win2Win

Agencies will be honoured at the 2014 EMEA SABRE Awards, on 20 May at the Roundhouse in London.

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