Michael Hayman was most recently chief executive of The Communication Group and prior to that was a U.K. board director with Hill & Knowlton, while Nick Giles served as managing director of Text 100 for five years and previously led the corporate team at Manning Selvage & Lee in the U.K. In other words, they have the experience and expertise to make sure that Seven Hills—which they launched in January of 2010, is not just another start-up.
That combination of experience and expertise prompted The Financial Times to describe Seven Hills as the “first post-recession PR company.” That positioning is a reflection of the firm’s four areas of focus: the first is entrepreneurship (Seven Hills advises several of the U.K.’s leading entrepreneurs, including founding Dragons’ Den panellists Peter Jones and Doug Richard, and Michael Hayman has been named chairman of entrepreneurs at private bank Coutts & Co.); the second is campaigns, with an emphasis on thought-leadership (for Virgin Gold, the firm has reached out to young business leaders through the Virgin Media Pioneers campaign, with Hayman and Giles authoring a report based on interviews with successful business leaders); the third is destination marketing (highlights included a major rebrand of the city of Sheffield); and the fourth is corporate citizenship (the firm has been working with Havas and its Euro RSCG agency of One Young World, an initiative described as “Davos for the Young”).
To each area, Hayman and Giles bring three core strengths, in campaigns, communications and connections. The campaigns are designed to deliver real business impact; the communications expertise spans traditional and digital media; and the connections help clients find mutually-beneficial partnerships, with other companies, with the public sector, and with charities, not-for-profits and causes.
The firm’s first year in business has been quite impressive. Seven Hills has built a client portfolio that would be the envy of many larger, better established agencies: the City of Westminster, Coutts & Co., CPC, Creative Sheffield, Doug Richard’s School for Startups, EDF Energy, Entrepreneurs Union, Enterprise UK, Global Entrepreneurship Week, Havas Worldwide, Lara Morgan, the National Enterprise Academy, the National Youth Theatre, the Royal Institution, Smiths Gore, The Black Farmer (Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones), The Peter Jones Foundation, Virgin Media Pioneers, Very PC and YouGov Stone.
Hayman and Giles have also built their team, adding Jessica de Pree, former director of the corporate practice at MS&L; Amanda Pugh, a former director at Fleishman Hillard; Nicole Green, a reporter from the Sunday Telegraph; and Rosie Walkinton, who previously working in fundraising for St Paul’s Cathedral. The consultancy has also developed an advisory panel, which includes Mike Southon, Financial Times entrepreneur columnist; Steve Norris, a former Transport Minister and London Mayoral candidate; David Davis, former chief executive of the Football Association; Carol Stone, former producer of Radio 4’s Any Questions; and Michael Cole, a former BBC correspondent and corporate affairs director for Harrods.
“Seven Hills is a smart outfit and an exciting business,” says Dragons’ Den panellist Peter Jones. “It is the public relations firm for entrepreneurs. They are helping me to champion enterprise with government, business and the media. I am delighted to be working with them.” Adds his colleague Doug Richard: “The most brutally effective PR impact I’ve ever had. Seven Hills did the job it needed to do in a fast and surgical manner.”
While Seven Hills is focused on the U.K. market, it has already worked on assignments in Switzerland and South Africa, and has been appointed to work in Sweden in 2011.