Barrett Dixon Bell
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Barrett Dixon Bell

Holmes Report

Business-to-business marketing consultancy specializing in international programs


From its headquarters office in Manchester, Barrett Dixon Bell runs business-to-business marketing campaigns across more than 20 countries. The firm’s approach is media neutral—drawing on its capabilities in advertising, media buying, direct mail, collateral design and production, website development, e-marketing, and exhibition design, as well as traditional public relations—typically choosing the right blend of disciplines on a client-by-client, challenge-by-challenge basis. About three-quarters of the firm’s staff are fluent in more than one language, which means they can design integrated multi-market programmes and communicate with reporters and other audiences in their native language, despite the lack of a formal network of overseas offices.

Founder Henry Dixon serves as managing director, working closely with business director Emma Edwards, who runs the PR group at BDB, and client services director Olivia Kehoe, who is responsible for the quality of thinking, design and innovation at the firm. They are supported by a PR staff of about 15, generating revenues of a little more than £1 million last year. After a difficult year in 2004, revenues rebounded in 2005 and are on track for healthy growth this year, with new business coming from Carbery, a major supplier of nutritional and functional ingredients; Synergy, a flavours and fragrances specialist; and the American Peanut Council.

The firm is particularly well known for its work in the food and beverage, health ingredients and manufacturing sectors, but has expanded into other areas, including textiles, packaging and quality control equipment sectors, with a client list that includes National Starch Food Innovation, Archer Daniels Midland Company, Ocean Spray Cranberries Ingredient Technology Group, and DSM Food Specialties. Major projects in the past 12 months included the launch of a new product for Ocean Spray in the U.S. and Europe, with BSB handling everything from market research and brand naming to PR-led, integrated through-the line activities; and an integrated marketing communications campaign to communicate the thinking behind, and the benefits of, the re-branding of National Starch & Chemical to National Starch Food Innovation to the food industry in 16 countries.

“BDB’s BerryFusions launch campaign has been a huge success,” says Arun Hiranandani, global marketing manager at Ocean Spray ITG. “Its creative designs, results-based approach and professionalism have delivered a focused and integrated campaign in all our key markets. Who could not be delighted with a ROI of over 900 percent?” And editor Julian Mellentin of New Nutrition Business says: “In the food industry, one B2B agency really stands head and shoulders above the rest. BDB’s specialist knowledge of the industry, the issues, language and players makes it a pleasure to work with.”

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