Charting the future of public relations
Holmes Report
News and insights from the global PR industry


Consumer, corporate and technology PR with social media expertise U.K.

Holmes Report


After a three-year acquisition spree, U.K. marketing services company Loewy Group announced in March of 2009 that it was bringing together its various public relations holdings—technology public relations specialist Rainier PR (plus its sister agencies Custard and Lighthouse), corporate and consumer firm Mantra PR, and consumer shop BMA Communications—together to create a £5 million firm with 50 people and expertise in technology, corporate and consumer PR.
The firm is led by managing directors Stephen Waddington and Steve Earl, who founded Rainier PR in 1998 after working as account directors for two of the world’s largest technology PR companies, Brodeur Worldwide and Weber Shandwick, supported by director of technology Geraldine Grewal; director of consumer Helen Beavis; director of corporate Nick Bishop; and director of business communications Nicola Savage. Bill Jones, co-founder of leading U.K. independent Lexis, serves as chairman. Just a few months after the merger, Speed was named the Best U.K. Consultancy to Work For by this publication, an indication of the speed—no pun intended—with which that leadership team established a unified culture and entrepreneurial attitude in the new firm.
But what sets Speed apart from its competitors is an unusual promise: that the firm’s public relations planning, execution and evaluation methodology can eliminate some of the unpredictability that makes marketers hesitant to invest heavily in public relations, delivering assurances when it comes to outcomes. The process starts with insight, progresses through creative ideas to influence the intended audience, and finally to measuring impact. The approach, originally developed for mainstream media relations activities, works just as well in the digital and social media realm, and activities in that area is increasingly integrated into the work Speed does for clients such as The Economist, Interoute and Wickes (as well as into the firm’s own operations: every practice area has its own blog, as do both the MDs).
The recession has taken its toll in terms of client budgets, but the firm anticipates modest growth for 2010, thanks to increased demand for digital and social media services. The firm continues to work with key clients such as The Economist, Symantec, Tesco, Toshiba and Virgin Media Business, while there was new business from Tesco Beauty and Clinton Cards. The firm’s work for Tesco has been particularly notable. Speed conducted a social media landscape audit to learn how and where women were talking about beauty online, and discovered an appetite for a “real life” perspective, suggesting that Tesco enter into a conversation with the nation about what women really want from their every day beauty routine. The results include 2,500 Facebook fans and an increase in mainstream media coverage.
The firm’s affiliate partner network, SpeedWorks, delivers international programmes, campaign management efficiencies and market expertise where through offices in 16 countries across key markets in Europe, North America and Asia.
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