Multispecialist with strong consumer and b2b capabilities
Spun out of Text 100 six years ago (on August 1, naturally), August.One Communications differs from its two Next Fifteen sister companies—Text and Bite—in that it operates primarily in the U.K. market and attracts clients from beyond the technology realm, offering a broad array of consumer, business-to-business and corporate communications services.
August.One employs specialists in five disciplines: media relations; editorial (op-ed articles, case studies, and more); speaker training and placement; influencer outreach; and consulting. That leads to a holistic approach to communications: while August.One will put its media relations specialists up against any in the business, the majority of programmes draw on the firm’s Web of Influence process, an approach that identifies influencers on a market-by-market basis. While some of those influencers might be part of the traditional media, others may be online opinion leaders or friends and family, and so many of the firm’s campaigns focus on generating positive word-of-mouth, online and off. Other campaigns—primarily on the business-to-business front, focus on converting a client company’s most important prospects to customers, combing traditional PR techniques with the discipline of a customer relationship management approach.
A significant restructuring in 2004 saw much of the Microsoft account relocated to another Next Fifteen Company, start-up Inferno, which resulted in some shrinkage at August.One, from 55 people to around 30, and in a refocusing of the business on five key market sectors: food and drink (clients include Jordan’s Cereal); lifestyles (Homes4Sale, Umbro, Olympus); professional services (Gartner, More Th>n Insurance); public sector (Department of Education & Skills, Envirowise); and utilities (Total and Royal Mail). The senior team is now led by managing director Sophie Brooks, a 13-year veteran of Next Fifteen whose client experience includes work for Microsoft, Intel, and Cisco and who previously led the firm’s Asia-Pacific operations; consumer director Sally Hetherington; director of products and services Sarah Howe; Ellie Springett, who focused on public sector work; corporate and business to business specialist Clare Wall; and tech practice leaders James Tutt and Mark Jackson.
Fee income in 2003 was around £3.9 million, enough for the firm to hold on to its spot in the top 20 of the PR Week league table, drawn from a client list including Chantelle, Central Office of Information (COI), Envirowise, Department of Education and Skills, Gartner, Holmes Place, Jordans Cereal, Microsoft, Mothercare, Olympus, Royal Mail, Total Oil, Umbro and Whirlpool.
Key assignments demonstrate the scope of the firm’s work. For Jordans, August.One focuses on reinforcing the brand’s authenticity, handling product publicity and issues such as ethical farming. For Total, which is Europe’s largest oil company, the firm supports customer care and community relations initiatives and works across the retail, corporate, commercial, sponsorship, lubricant and refinery divisions. For Gartner, August.One handles EMEA and U.K. media relations. For Olympus, the firm builds brand credibility through celebrity brand ambassadors, exhibitions, issues hijacking, sponsorships, and media relations. And for the Department of Education & Skills, it has launched a “Beat Bullying” campaign in the U.K.’s schools.
August.One operates primarily in the U.K. market, with access to international capabilities through the networks of its sister firms, Text 100 and Bite Communications.