Russia-CIS PR Consultancies of the Year, EMEA 2015 | Holmes Report
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2015 Russia-CIS Consultancies of the Year

Our 2015 EMEA PR Consultancies of the Year are the result of an exhaustive research process involving more than 150 submissions and 100 face-to-face meetings with the best PR firms across the region.

Winners received their trophies at the EMEA SABRE Awards in London on 19 May. Analysis of all Winners and Finalists across 20 categories can be accessed via the navigation menu to the right or below.

Russia-CIS Consultancy of the Year — FleishmanHillard Vanguard (Omnicom Group)

Launched as a joint venture between FleishmanHillard and leading local PR firm Vanguard in 2007, FH Vanguard (in which the Omnicom firm now owns a majority) remains one of the best PR firms in Russia. Unlike many of its international peers, it has navigated a crippling downturn to retain a double-digit growth rate across Moscow, where it now employs 60 consultants under the leadership of general director Elena Fadeeva.

Fadeeva's own industry leadership, as head of AKOS (The Russian Communications Consultancies Association) has also helped position FH Vanguard as visible, progressive presence in the market, particularly through her efforts to establish a new ethics code for country's PR firms and in-house communications operations in recent months.

The firm draws much of its client work from international and Russian MNCs, including VTB Capital, Avon, Starwood Hotels & Resorts and Avaya. Last year's new business highlight was probably the addition of Russian telco Megafon.

The firm's campaign work has always scored well, particularly via its well-established healthcare capabilities, and FH Vanguard's thought leadership work also remains a distinguishing factor, demonstrated a wide range of research reports and efforts to lift overall standards among Russia's PR industry. —AS

Finalists

Ketchum Maslov (Omnicom Group)

Last year started on a high note for Ketchum’s Russian operation, with the Sochi Olympics marking the culmination of a six-year effort on behalf of the Organizing Committee and also bringing work a number of sponsors, including P&G and its noteworthy “Thank you, Mom!” campaign. The year grew more challenging after that, with the conflict in Ukraine and international sanctions making life difficult for all agencies, and with the end early in 2015 of Ketchum’s longstanding economic development work for the Russian government (although most of that work was handled in international markets).

Still, Ketchum Maslov was able to retain key clients such as Google, Master Card, J&J, Western Union, and Adidas, many of which increased their spend, and add new business from the likes of Acuvue, Abbott, IKEA, Atlas BioMed, and Booking.com—growing by 16.5% and ending the year with a headcount close to 100. The firm also continued its leadership in the local market, for its advocacy of higher ethical standards in the profession to its integration of Ketchum’s global strategic process and its PESO model to its introduction of new research tools in the public affairs space. The firm’s Karenina, Live Edition online reading session on behalf of Google engaged 700 Russian-speaking readers, from the press secretary of President of Russia and the Minister of Culture to Russian-language students in Seoul, attracting 70,000 subscribers to the project page.— PH

SPN Communications (Independent)

Two years after severing a longstanding relationship as an affiliate of Ogilvy Public Relations, SPN Communications is thriving as an independent, distinguished from its competitors by a unique blend of local market expertise—with offices in Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan—and global experience. It has particular expertise in managing complex integrated communications programs on a national scale, particularly public sector efforts on behalf of the Ministry of Public Health of Russia. Other clients include The Russian Olympic Committee, LG Electronics, AMD, leading Russian mobile operator Megafon, the Skolkovo Foundation, Gazprom, VTB Capital, Toyota, and Danone. Wins in 2014 include the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Industry & Trade, Siemens, Electrolux, Olympus, KFC, and the World Bank (a year-long nationwide public education campaign on increasing financial literacy).

SPN was the first Russian winner of an EMEA region SABRE Award, and has picked up 11 since 2005, with this year’s nominees including its work for the Public Contributions Council of the Russian Olympic Committee, boosting support of Russian athletes, and a science education campaign on behalf of RVC. The firm is a leader in the market in terms of size (180 employees and fees of $23.2m last year, up a very impressive 15% despite the troubled local market) and thinking, organizing the Baltic PR Weekend, the largest international communications forum in Eastern Europe, while CEO Andrey Barannikov is the chairman of AKOS, the Russian Communications Consultancies Association.— PH

PR Partner (Independent)

In 2006, Inna Alexeeva started PR Partner on the idea that a PR firm should feel less like an agency and more like a partner. With two offices — in Moscow and Krasnodar — the firm expanded its reach in 2012 by joining IPRN and since becoming a member of ICCO and part of the Lewis+ network.

In 2014, the firm earned $2.1m — 26% increase from the previous year — with 35 staff. Clients include Hansa, Jack Wolfskin, Tutti Frutti Yogurt, Winx, Bank Vozrozhdenie, Bank ITB, Investtorgbank, KorpusGroup, VMware, Brocade, Riverbed and Check Point Software Technologies, among others.

Founder Alexeeva has racked up several accolades including co-authoring the book High-flight PR. Business development director Daria Odintsova oversees bringing in new clients across the firm’s main sectors: IT & telecom; FMCG & fashion; finance & real estate. PR Partner provides a full range of agency services: influencer relations, social media, experiential, strategic counsel and marketing. More than 90% of clients work on retainer, while still allowing for project work. When it comes to social media, the firm engages audiences and builds content specifically tailored for each social channel.    

Notable work includes, presenting the new line of Samsung TVs to the Russian market and organizing an introduction for journalists and partners. PR Partner gathered 98 journalists — including the Robb Robert, GQ, Harper's Bazaar, The Hollywood Reporter and Men's Health.ru. For ZTE, PR Partners unveiled a flagship model of Nubia elite smartphone to journalists, engaging media like Kommersant TV, Izvestiya, Playboy, National Geographic, Tom's Hardware Guide and Computer Bild. — AaS


Win2Win Communications
(Independent)

Launched early in 2014 by Margarita Sereda, one of the co-founders of Russian independent Pro-Vision, Win2Win was responding to “a clear demand for transparency, openness, trust, and dialogue” between companies and their stakeholders, and based on the belief that “ethical standards are no longer a luxury, but a strategic prerequisite of success. It offers a mix of media relations, digital communications and event marketing services and an emphasis on content creation, internal communications, and media monitoring and analysis.

The firm has quickly grown to 50 employees, serving clients including Discovery Networks, Omega-Bittner, LEGO, Castrol, Finnair, L’Oréal, Reebok Classic, APC by Schneider Electric, with new business last year from Siemens, SAS, ACCOR group, Viacom International Networks, UralSib Private Bank, Mosenergo, L’Occitane, and Unilever. The firm helped Finnair introduce new routes to the Russian market, and launched a new OMK-Uchastie charity credit card supporting children’s health. In addition to its Moscow headquarters, the agency is also present in Ukraine (Kiev) and Kazakhstan (Almaty).— PH