Consumer and business-to-business consultancy
Republic was founded Jane Howard, who worked in healthcare and on consumer brands at firms such as Rowland and Leedex; and Deborah Lewis, whose experience is in the corporate and business-to-business sectors at Text 100 and Leedex. The firm’s business reflects their areas of expertise, split almost evenly between consumer and corporate/business-to-business accounts—although employee communications is a small but growing aspect of the business too. Clients come from a wide range of sectors, from industrial to FMCG, and increasingly, the financial services business. The firm also has significant experience in the alternative medicine niche, where the British Acupuncture Council is a major client.
Republic is one of only a handful companies to have qualified for the Consultancy Management Standard, Investors in People recognition, and ISO certification—a combination that has strong appeal to the procurement people who increasingly guide the consultancy selection process, as well as to clients whose experience with other (often larger) consultancies has led them to believe that the quality of customer service in the PR business doesn’t always match the quality of the creativity. But Republic takes customer service seriously. The two principals are involved in every account, and in the formal account review process, and encourage a heavy reliance on research and planning and a structured approach to evaluation.
The firm has a staff of 24, and reported fee income of about £1.4 million in 2004, holding steady in a tough market despite a continued decline of its technology business. The consumer business was particularly strong, with new work from Taste of London, Kimberly-Clark’s Andrex brand, and Hotel Chocolat, an online retailer expanding into the bricks-and-mortar world. On the business-to-business and corporate front, meanwhile, new additions including Mill Group a PFI fund; Lease Plan, a leading vehicle leasing company; graphics chip designer nVidia,; civil engineering company Yolles; and Hartnell Taylor Cook, chartered surveyors. The firm has a particular strength in the property and construction category, handling community relations and issues management (as well as marketing) for a host of major players.
Highlights of the firm’s work included a programme designed to drive sales for Kimberly-Clark’s new Andrex Puppies on a Roll toilet paper, negotiating with Madame Tussauds to add the brand icon to the museum’s panoply of stars, generating eight pieces of national coverage and significant regional broadcast placements. For nVidia, meanwhile, the firm reached out to opinion formers to heighten brand awareness, while the British Acupuncture Council turned to Republic for crisis support after Gwyneth Paltrow sported bruises from her experience with the acupuncture technique known as “cupping.”
A major initiative in 2004 involved an overhaul of employee benefits, designed to enhance the firm’s positioning as an employer of choice.
Republic is the U.K. representative of Europe Online, a network of independent, owner-managed agencies representing all the major Western European markets.