Johnson King
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Johnson King

Johnson King is an anomaly: the majority of its largest clients—companies like Alcatel, Enterprise Ireland, Packeteer, Sophos—have been clients for five years or more.

Holmes Report

Business-to-business and technology specialist

In the technology public relations space, where clients seem to change PR consultancies as quickly as they change their earnings estimates, Johnson King is an anomaly: the majority of its largest clients—companies like Alcatel, Enterprise Ireland, Packeteer, Sophos—have been clients for five years or more. Further evidence of the loyalty JK inspires: a couple of its biggest wins over the past 12 months—like Digital River—are returning to the firm after hiatus.

One reason might be that the firm has made a conscious decision to limit the number of clients it serves, a policy that avoids spreading account staff too thin—one of the big problems with tech specialist firms during the boom of the late 90s—and encourages people to focus on serving existing clients rather than constantly chasing new business. Another reason is that Johnson King inspires loyalty in its people. Business development director Helen Banyard has been with the firm for 11 years; one account director, Joe Banks, has been there eight years; another (Claire Ayles) has five years tenure, as do Ingrid Daschner and Nadine Lang, heads of the firm’s German and French offices respectively.

JK has more than 20 employees and revenues of around £1.6 million, ranking it among the top 20 IT firms in the U.K. Revenues were up by 25 percent last year, with every office making a contribution, after a decline the year before as the tech recession bit. It’s a business-to-business PR specialist serving technology and telecoms companies, with most of its clients in four sectors—security, enterprise software, networking, and telecommunication—and the ability to work on a pan-European basis through its own offices in the U.K., France, and German and through The Global Reach PR Network (which it founded), a network of technology-focused PR consultancies with more than 40 offices covering 50 countries worldwide. New client wins in the past 12 months include a pan-European campaign for Vallent and assignments for Crossbeam and U3 that span the firm’s three offices; as well as projects for FAST, Primavera, and Keynote.

The firm’s services include corporate branding, an extension of the traditional technology public relations approach of promoting a clients’ innovative propositions or solutions, and issues development, an approach that involves positioning clients as thought leaders in relation to business and industry trends, building their profile in both the trade and business press by talking more about the problems they solve than about specific products. That service is supplemented by a rapid response offering, which involves identifying and exploiting breaking news for comment opportunities. JK also has experience in the crisis management arena.

Interesting assignments in the past 12 months include continuing work repositioning Sophos from an anti-virus company to a broad IT security expert with “Operation Can Spam”; an anti-spam campaign for Mirapoint; launching retrofone.com; and supporting the European launch of U3.

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