Consumer, corporate and public affairs firm
Good Relations is one of the oldest and best known public relations brands in the U.K. It was the first PR-only firm to go public, and today is part of the public relations group at Chime Communications, which ranks number one among U.K.-based public relations companies. Good Relations has about 50 people and fee income of around £4.5m, and a reputation for enduring relationships with blue-chip companies: Candarel has been a client for 16 years; Honda for 12 years; and the Meat & Livestock Commission for nine (after a competitive re-pitch last year). Other big names on the firm’s roster include the Daily Mail Ideal Home Show, Iams, Legal & General, P&O, and Arsenal football club.
The firm currently operates four divisions: consumer; corporate and business-to-business; Good Relations Political; and planning. The consumer group is particularly strong in the food and beverage sector and is known for its work with women’s magazines and newspapers for clients such as the Ideal Home Show and Pantene, for exceptional contacts with the morning TV shows, and for its relationships with supermodels and celebrities. The corporate and business-to-business group provides media relations support to large corporate clients such as Honda, more, and public sector clients such as the British Standards Institute and the National Health Service, with an approach grounded in stakeholder planning. The political group, which focuses on media coverage of public policy issues rather than traditional lobbying, works with clients including the Meat & Livestock Commission and Milklink. Finally, the planning group specializes in helping property developers with planning applications, handling community affairs and approaches to local councils.
New developments over the past 12 months include the formation of two specialist teams. One is focused on renewable energy, drawing talent from the firm’s planning, political, and Cardiff teams to specialize in wind power and other renewable energy issues, offering local authority and national public affairs counsel and community relations support. Clients include Nuon Renewables, Gamesa and Your Energy. The other addition is a property marketing team that offers media relations and event marketing support to shopping centres and other developments. The firm is currently working with Edward Holdings to promote new retail and leisure developments in Ireland and is working on the opening of Monogram Hotels’ new hotel designed by Philip Treacy.
Other new business successes over the past 12 months include consumer clients such as Navigon, a satellite navigation software company; Shiatsu Week; and the new Product Museum in Notting Hill; planning assignments from Aggregate Industries, Gladedale Homes, Sainsbury’s, and George Wimpey; healthcare accounts including the British Association of European Pharmaceutical Distributors and medical device company Biocompatibles; political projects for Airbus, the Student Loans Company, the Commonwealth Institute, and Raytheon; and corporate campaigns for Northwest Airlines (building the company’s reputation within the European financial community), Russian shipping company Slovocomflot, Nice TV, and Criminal Justice IT, a Home Office department that oversees the implementation of a U.K. IT infrastructure connecting the disparate parts of the England and Wales criminal justice system.
Interesting work included using St. George’s Day as a platform to encourage “patriotic” food choices, including traditional roast beef. GR worked with cricketer Ian Botham and launched a poetry contest encouraging participants to write an Ode to Roast Beef. The firm also worked with Honda in April 2005 to promote the appearance of ASIMO, its advanced humanoid robot at Hawkley Hall High School, Wigan and lobbied government officials to Save the Electric Ballroom, one of London’s landmark music venues.
A strong leadership team is headed by managing director Ann Fossey, who joined the firm in 1988 to lead the consumer division. Working closely with Fossey are current head of consumer Helen Newey, formerly with Barbara Attenborough Associates and L’Oreal U.K.; Paul Dimoldenberg, who heads the property and planning division; political communications chief James O’Keefe, a former research assistant to MP David Blunkett; and head of corporate Phil Brady, who joined in 1994. The most notable additions of the past 12 months were Stuart Higgins, former editor of The Sun, who joined GR as a non-executive director in May of this year and Ben Novick, who joined the political communications group after serving as chief press office at the Department of Education & Skills.
The Good Relations account team is “very much a part of the marketing department,” says Lynn Porteous, general manager of Merisant U.K., and “a natural part of the Iams team,” agrees Robin Sharp, of Procter & Gamble’s external relations department. The firm is “extremely creative, innovative, and excels in building relationships with the key media for our brands,” says Caroline Turvy, marketing director at DMG World Media. It “continues to develop and run fresh, innovative and creative campaigns and most importantly deliver results,” adds Richard Lowe, marketing director for the Meat & Livestock Commission.