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Holmes Report Names EMEA Geographic Consultancies Of The Year

EMEA

Paul Holmes and Arun Sudhaman 04 May 2014

View our 2014 Pan-EMEA Consultancy of the Year here.

View our 2014 EMEA Specialist Consultancies of the Year here.

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

Africa Consultancy of the Year: Epic Communications
In just five years, Epic Communications has become one of South Africa’s top public relations firms, winning our African Consultancy of the Year honours after growing 44% in 2013 to reach a headcount of 42 and crack the ranks of the country’s top five. Much of that is down to an impressive focus on quality and senior-level counsel, enabling it work for such blue-chip clients as Nedbank, Samsung, Neotel, Old Mutual and AEL Mining. Led by former FleishmanHillard executive Elian Wiener, Epic has benefited from a strong focus on talent development and training, along with an aptitude for multimedia content creation and thought leadership. A growing business beyond South Africa’s borders, meanwhile, demonstrates Epic’s increasingly credible regional ambitions.—AS
Finalists: africapractice, Burson-Marsteller, Ogilvy PR, Waggener Edstrom

Benelux Consultancy of the Year: Edelman
Edelman’s Dutch operation is a market leader, with fees of around $7m and a staff of more than 70 working across corporate, consumer brands, health, technology and digital practices under the leadership of Annemieke Kievit. The office leads national and international campaigns for clients such as Starbucks, Shell, PepsiCo, C&A, Medtronic, Novartis, and Unilever, and in 2013 took the lead in winning an international assignment for Crayola. The office has a reputation for creativity and strategic thinking, and took the lead in developing the firm’s Houseboat approach, a five-step process designed to enable senior clients to tackle complex and pressing business and communication challenges that has now become a global offering. Meanwhile, the growing Brussels office E has a staff of 30 working across public affairs, corporate, consumer brands, technology and digital practices for clients such as General Electric, Danone, Samsung, Shell and Nielsen. —PH

Finalists: FleishmanHillard, Interel, Weber Shandwick, Whyte Corporate Affairs

DACH Consultancy of the Year: FischerAppelt
Last year was the best ever for German market leader fischerAppelt, with fees up by 11% to €39.1m—enough that the firm is now not only among the top three PR firms in Germany, but also one of the top five ad agencies. The firm was rated as the market leader in Germany according to surveys of both clients (the Wirtschaftswoche survey) and business journalists (Dr. Doeblin Institute). It picked up new business from T-Systems, KPMG, Mondelez Deutschland, and Coca-Cola, for which it took on a lead PR role in Germany, while continuing its work with Mercedes-Benz/Daimler, Lego, Deutsche Post, Postbank, and others. Interesting work included content marketing for tissue brand tempo, focused on daily hygiene, a campaign to head off a potential crisis for Coca-Cola, and a successful election campaign for the Democratic Party in Luxembourg.—PH
Finalists:  Edelman, Ketchum, Hering Schuppener, Weber Shandwick

Eastern European Consultancy of the Year: Chapter 4
Since its launch in 2010, Chapter 4 has established itself as a major player in Eastern Europe, managing campaigns across the region from its headquarters in Vienna and additional offices in Hungary (Budapest), Serbia & Montenegro (Belgrade/Podgorica), Bosnia & Herzegovina (Sarajevo), Romania (Bucharest), Bulgaria (Sofia), and Macedonia (Skopje). Growing by about 40% a year, the firm has quickly built up an impressive client list, which includes the likes of HP, Ericsson, Schneider Electric, SAP, Dr. Oetker, Reed Exhibitions, WWF, Siemens, Swiss International Air Lines, and AbbVie. New additions in 2013 included Samsung, Gedeon Richter, McDonald’s, Unilever, PepsiCo, L’Oreal, Bosch and Siemens and more. Highlights of the past 12 months included a campaign to raise awareness of emergency contraception for Gedeon Richter, a CSR campaign for Revelique cosmetics, and the launch of a proprietary brand measurement system called Brands4ever, focused on the emotional connection between brands and their consumers.—PH
Finalists: Ewing, Grayling, MSLGroup, 24/7

French Consultancy of the Year: Agence Elan
Celebrating its fifth anniversary in 2013, Agence Elan consolidated its position as the leading French independent with another year of excellent growth, up by 11% to around €7m in fee income against a backdrop of sluggish economic performance in its headquarters market. The formula for success includes solid growth from existing clients (companies like L’Oréal, Accenture, ING, and Kelloggs have been with the firm since its inception); new business from companies such as Danone, Sofitel, and Gaz De France; and diversification, both in terms of services (digital, content management, reputation counsel) and internationalization—the firm now has offices in London and Brussels, and is managing international campaigns for clients such as Dom Perignon and Delsey.—PH
Finalists: Burson-Marsteller, Ogilvy PR, Public Systeme Hopscotch, Wellcom

Iberian Consultancy of the Year: Llorente & Cuenca
The Spanish public relations market continues to struggle as a result of the economic crisis—which has been even worse in southern Europe than it has in the rest of the region—but corporate and financial PR specialist Llorente & Cuenca has found ways to grow, ending 2013 with $28.4m in global fees—and while its Latin American operations were particularly impressive, its core operations in Madrid, Barcelona and Lisbon were up a very healthy 7%. The firm continues to provide communications strategy counsel for clients such as Embratur, Repsol, Mercadona, Gas Natural, Bertelsmann and Catalana Occidente, while adding the likes of Coca-Cola, Sanitas, BBVA, and Schneider to its Spanish roster. The firm’s d+i thought leadership department continues to set the agenda for reputation management in the Iberia region, via a quarterly magazine and occasional research studies. And the firm continues to be a leader in mergers and acquisitions, most recently advising Vodafone on its acquisition of a Spanish telecommunications company.—PH
Finalists: Grupo Albion, Inforpress, Lift Consulting, Llorente & Cuenca, Marco de Communicacion

Mediterranean Consultancy of the Year: Barabino & Partners
Barabino & Partners is not only the dominant force in Italy, it is becoming an increasingly credible player beyond the country’s borders, a difficult feat that has enabled it to distinguish itself from its homegrown rivals. The agency now has offices in London, New York, Berlin and Brussels, and continues to serve a range of leading ‘brand Italia’ companies overseas. Now worth around $21m, specific growth has come from MNC clients such as Intel, Fujitsu and FedEx, along with mid-sized domestic companies like Brunello Cucinelli and Moschino. As growth returns to Italy, furthermore, Barabino’s international network and continued investment in its offering, alongside an offering that has diversified beyond financial into corporate and digital, suggests an agency that is well placed to capitalise on Europe’s revival.—AS
Finalists: Edelman, Ketchum, SEC, Twister

Middle East Consultancy of the Year: APCO Worldwide
Having established itself in the Middle East four years ago via its acquisition of government owned consulting firm Ji-Win, APCO has since tripled in size, building a network of about 80 people in owned offices in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Qatar. Growth last year was an impressive 48%, and the firm ended the year with revenues of close to $10m, thanks to new or expanded business from local leaders such as Damas, Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce & Industry, BASF, Dubai’s “Capital of the Islamic Economy” Campaign (a global program, led from Dubai), joining a client list that includes local giants Masdar, Etisalat, the UAE Prime Minister’s Office, and the Sharjah government, and multinationals such as Exxon, Mars, Sony, and Renault. But the firm is distinguished also by the quality of its leadership—managing director Mamoon Sbeih, newly-appointed deputy MD Elizabeth Sen, and global vice chairman Larry Snoddon, who moved to the region last year—and its leading public affairs and market entry capabilities.—PH
Finalists: Grayling, Hill+Knowlton Strategies, Memac Ogilvy, TRACCS

Nordic Consultancy of the Year: Hill+Knowlton Strategies
One of the few international PR networks to truly prosper in the Nordics, Hill+Knowlton Strategies wins Consultancy of the Year honours this year despite tough competition from the region’s excellent crop of independent agencies. H+K prevailed because of an unusually well-rounded regional offering that features the market-leading Gambit operation in Norway. Gambit H+K employs 80 people in Norway, combining operational strength — the firm retained the critical Statoil global PR remit following a keenly-contested review — with cutting-edge creativity, demonstrated by the impressive Born Again Simulator campaign for Norad. In Sweden, the agency has grown at over 20% for each of the past two years, after hiring strong local management that has netted a slew of domestic account wins.—AS
Finalists: Cohn & Wolfe, Hallvarsson & Halvarsson, Miltton, Trigger

Russia-CIS Consultancy of the Year: SPN Communications
Newly-independent SPN Communications—until 2013 it operated as SPN Ogilvy—reported PR fee income of slightly more than $20m last year, enough to earn the number one spot in the Russian market according to a first-ever industry ranking produced by local trade associations. The firm works for a mix of Russian leaders (the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee, The Ministry of Public Health, Gazprom, and VTB Capital) and multinational clients (the US Federal Reserve System, LG Electronics, AMD, Abbott, Shell, Toyota, and IKEA) with new business from the Russian Olympic Committee, GE, AstraZeneca, McKinsey and more. The firm, which has earned three Global SABRE Awards in recent years, continues to produce award-worthy work such as LG’s support for blood donation in Russia or efforts to increase the transparency of the Russian venture capital marketplace for the Russian Venture Company. And the firm continues to lead the Baltic PR Weekend, perhaps the biggest event dedicated to elevating the status of the profession in the region.—PH
Finalists: CROS, Ketchum Maslov, Mainstream, PBN Hill+Knowlton, 

Turkish Consultancy of the Year: Bersay
With a team of more than 40 PR consultants—and 80 people across the entire group—Ketchum affiliate Bersay is one of the leading independent firms in the increasingly competitive Turkish market, with an operation that spans traditional public relations, digital and social, event management, publishing, with particular expertise in health and wellness (via a small specialist firm) and social responsibility (though its Bersay Communications Institute). More importantly, Bersay is in the forefront of a more mature, sophisticated PR business in Turkish, demonstrating the ability to deliver value in strategic consulting beyond media relations and investing heavily in talent acquisition and development. The firm works across multiple sectors, with FMCG, technology, construction and public sector clients making the strongest contribution. Notable clients include Ericsson, Philips, Honda, Deloitte, HSBC, Lilly, and Emirates, as well as a host of local companies.—PH
Finalists: APCO Worldwide, Communication Partner, Excel, Ogilvy PR

UK Consultancy of the Year: GolinHarris
GolinHarris becomes the first repeat winner of our UK Consultancy of the Year award since Blue Rubicon in 2009 — a rare level of accomplishment in what is probably the world’s most fiercely competitive PR market. Last year’s award reflected the agency’s remarkable turnaround from the dark days of 2005, but this year’s selection is all about the sustained excellence of an operation that is firing on all cylinders. Now employing around 200 staffers, the firm’s implementation of the global G4 model appears to be paying off handsomely, bolstered by a genuine commitment to creative talent, both in-house and via the Bright Collective initiative. Revenues were up 15% in 2013, despite the loss of some substantial Olympics-related revenue, with 2012’s new business haul augmented by major new assignments for Npower, Johnnie Walker, Danone Yogurt and Mondelez. The main driver of growth is the firm’s digital operation — which grew by 40% on the back of new projects for Persil, Roche and Tesco — but consumer marketing has also expanded rapidly, supported by solid tech and corporate practices and a healthcare offering that now includes the excellent Virgo Health. In keeping with its global reputation, meanwhile, culture is an an increasingly strong differentiator; under international president Matt Neale’s leadership team, Golin has attracted some of the brightest talent in the market, including digital head Neil Kleiner, ECD Zach Schwartz and consumer lead Lucy Hart. —AS
Finalists: Blue Rubicon, Lansons, MHP Communications, Ogilvy PR

View our 2014 Pan-EMEA Consultancy of the Year here.

View our 2014 EMEA Specialist Consultancies of the Year here.

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

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Jill Rowley @Jill Rowley

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RT @solomonmccown: #Creativity is essential in #PR. Find out why here: http://t.co/XkYYMl6dNe via @holmesreport

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