High-tech marketing consultancy
After a tough two or three years in the tech sector, during which fees leveled off just below the £1 million mark, Chameleon was the second fastest growing technology consultancy in the U.K. last year, according to PR Week Tech Top 50 League Table. Founder and chief executive Helen Holland managed through the downturn the right way—the firm didn’t lose key clients or key people and stuck to her philosophy of employing seasoned technology PR pros with a minimum of seven years experience—and it’s beginning to pay off as the tech sector recovers.
Fee income in 2004 was up by 44 percent, and the firm is on track for healthy growth again in 2005. New clients over the past 12 months include Bull, SpinVox, Norman, Vecta, Genesys Conferecing, Actify, CedarOpenAccounts, Q-Labs, Followapp. Just as exciting, the firm has expanded its offering to include consumer tech as well as its traditional business-to-business work, hiring former Lexis PR creative director Stuart Hehir to lead that aspect of its work. Chameleon also added Lena Ahmed, formerly of Brodeur’s London office, and recently named Neil Backwith—former chief executive of Porter Novelli’s European operations—as non-executive director.
The firm’s core expertise is in the media relations arena, but it offers a wide range of services, including industry analyst relations, media training, Competitor Watch (a competitive intelligence product), crisis communications, thought leadership programmes, and European campaign development. Rigorous planning and evaluation are built into all Chameleon’s processes. Each campaign is discrete with separate targets and results, agreed in advance and used as the basis for evaluation. The firm uses both proprietary and industry standard evaluation tools depending on client requirements.
Highlights of the past 12 months include the firm’s SABRE-nominated work for Spin Vox, generating 85 significant stories in national newspapers, TV, radio, consumer and trade titles and helping the mobile phone services company attract funding, retail partners and customers; pan-European work for FileNet and Mercury Interactive. Eschewing a formal affiliate network for such regional programming, the firm works with up to 10 firms in each of the major markets, giving it the flexibility to recommend the right partner for specific tasks. In the U.S., it works with The Horn Group (Holland has worked with Sabrina Horn for eight years) and Outcast.