The first thing that strikes a casual visitor to Frank’s loft-like space in London’s Camden is that the firm has to be the champion of “red-top” media relations. Tabloid headlines featuring the consultancy’s clients—and its employee-owned greyhound, Flying Frank—are everywhere. But Frank’s expertise is far broader, encompassing all aspects of brand and lifestyle public relations, with a particular expertise in buzz marketing (the firm is a founder member of the Viral + Buzz Marketing Association and author of a chapter in the book Connected Marketing). The firm’s Talkability methodology, which serves up a proprietary process slathered with the special sauce of Frank’s big ideas, ensures that every campaign is designed to generate the maximum buzz. There’s a premium on evaluation too, with a variety of tools available to clients to measure everything from recall to the spread of word-of-mouth to return on investment.
There’s no better illustration of how that works than the buzz the firm has generated for itself. Since its launch in 2000, Frank has clearly established itself as the newest hot creative public relations shop in the hyper-competitive U.K. marketplace. It won a Gold Award at the PR Week awards in 2003 and followed that with a trio of honours in 2005, earning PR Week’s Best Consumer PR Campaign award, making the final shortlist for its Consultancy of the Year designation, and being named PR Agency of the Year by Marketing magazine. Flying Frank generates even more buzz for the firm, despite the fact that he has not exactly set the track alight in his performances to date, in part because he is hailed as the only dog with his own blog.
Founder Goodkind was formerly managing director at Lynne Franks PR and, during a break from the PR industry, founder of another.com, a leading U.K. youth internet brand. At Frank, he has surrounded himself with bright, hard-working, irreverent and creative types including Andrew Bloch, another Lynne Franks veteran who also worked as an associate director at Ketchum; former Cohn & Wolfe creative director Frankie Burslin; Shine veteran Alex Grier; youth marketing specialist Claire DaBreo; Angela Cooper, whose food and beverage experience spans Haagen-Dazs and Perrier Jouet; and Miranda Mitchell, previously with Don’t Panic and a specialist in youth and lifestyle brands.
The firm’s client list includes big brands such as Amstrad, Birds Eye, Brylcreem, Budweiser, Flora, Foot Locker, HP Sauce, Kellogg’s, the National Union of Students, Nickelodeon, Pizza Express, Slim-Fast, Swatch, and Virgin Money, and the past 12 months saw growth of close to 60 percent as the firm zoomed past £2.3 million in fee income for 2005.
Frank’s work for Nickelodeon illustrates its ability to generate big ideas: its search for a British family that would be immortalized in its own Simpsons-like sitcom has been duplicated by the company around the world after generating media coverage valued at more than £3.5 million. Other notable successes include the “Brown is the New White” campaign for HP Sauce, which included sponsorship of the brown ball in snooker and a groundbreaking deal under which star player Jimmy White changed his name to Jimmy Brown; and helping to re-launch New Scientist magazine with a competition offering the winner a chance to be cryogenically frozen and re-animated in the distant future.
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