EMEA New PR Consultancies of the Year 2016 | Holmes Report
Charting the future of public relations

2016 EMEA New PR Consultancies of the Year

Our 2016 EMEA PR Consultancies of the Year are the result of an exhaustive research process involving more than 200 submissions and face-to-face meetings with the best PR firms across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Winners will receive their trophies at the EMEA SABRE Awards in Berlin on 25 May. Analysis of all Finalists across 20 categories can be accessed via the navigation menu to the right or here.

New PR Consultancy of the Year: Matriochka Influences (France/Independent)

Formed in mid-2014, Matriochka Influences has rapidly marked itself out as one of the brightest public relations firms in France. The firm is led by two founding partners Elodie Monchicourt and Charlie Trouillebout, both of whom hail from market leader Elan. Indeed, Monchicourt co-founded Elan and brings 15 years of experience, while Trouillebout is a digital specialist. Together, the duo aims to integrate traditional communications with more modern influencer techniques, resulting in an approach that counts as relatively disruptive not just in France, but in the broader region too.

The firm has grown steadily since launch and now numbers 15 staffers, with a distinct focus on fashion and consumer clients such as L’Oreal Foundation, Coca-Cola, Chanel, Biotherm, Meetic, Philip Morris, La Roche-Posay and Carrefour. Of note, Matriochka prevailed over bigger rivals to secure Orangina-Schweppes’ PR business last year. And there was impressive campaign work for L’Oreal Foundation — the #ChangeTheNumbers campaign to improve the international visibility of women in science. — AS

Finalists

Engage Joe Public (Joe Public United Group)

Officially launched at the start of 2014, Engage Joe Public bills itself as a ‘new-age PR firm’, focusing on the kind of multimedia content creation that integrates well with its partner agencies within the Joe Public United Group. The firm is led by managing partner Keri-Ann Stanton who oversees a contextual leadership approach that aims to persuade rather than instruct.

The early returns suggest that Stanton’s efforts are paying off. Despite difficult economic conditions, Engage Joe Public is billing R5m and is forecast to grow 20% this year, with a client roster that includes Hippo.co.za, 32 Clothing, De Beers Botswana, Business Arts South Africa, Kenya Tourism, South African Banking Risk Information Centre, along with new additions USN, Oohs, Visa and Autodesk. The firm is split equally between corporate and consumer but has not adopted separate teams, preferring instead to reflect the convergence of traditional practice areas.

That mindset extends to a strong learning and training culture across Engage Joe Public’s nine-strong team, along with a focus on content, influence, creativity and analytics. Campaign highlights included work for De Beers and Kenya Tourism. — AS

The Romans (UK/Mother)

The Romans launched one year ago with a fairly refreshing set of objectives, which included a commitment to not becoming the biggest agency in London or taking on a client ‘just to take a cheque’. It is their third brand promise, though, that suggests they have what it takes to succeed in London’s brutally competitive consumer PR market — The Romans want to ‘make great work, with great people and have a lot of fun.’ Of course, that is not the only thing The Romans has going in its favour — co-founders Misha Dhanak and Joe Sinclair bring considerable agency experience and creative expertise, and the firm is backed by leading advertising agency Mother.

The agency’s first year of operations suggest that it is making good on its third goal. Even by London standards, it is difficult to recall a startup win so many impressive brands in less than year, including Spotify, BrewDog, Samsung Europe, The Macallan, Itsu, Innocent and Ovo. Much of that is down to the firm’s focus on creativity, which has already included eye-catching campaigns such No Label for BrewDog; Screen Sensations for Samsung; and the ‘Innocent Coconut Watering Hole’. Keep up this rate of growth and The Romans’ first objective — not becoming the biggest agency in London — might be in danger. — AS

TinMan  (UK/Unity)

Just two years since being founded, TinMan has already racked up 58 award nods (including six in this year’s In2 and SABRE Awards EMEA) and skyrocketed from zero revenues to £463.5K — with 22% profit margins. The firm has already established a reputation for delivering creative, smart work that delivers business results for clients that include Borough Market, WaterAid, Avis, Nickelodeon, Hackney Empire, Monkey Shoulder whisky, Little Brown Book Group and Harvey Nichols.

Founder Mandy Sharp sought to create an agency with big, creative ideas that tie back to business objectives. The name — Tin Man — pays homage to the character in “Wizard of Oz” as it represents campaigns with a heart, based on the idea that actions and attitudes are driven by feelings. This year, the firm has seen inbound inquiries increase by 80% and its win rate is an impressive 93%. Headcount is eight full-time employees in its London office with overall growth up 23% from the year before. The firm added 32 clients over two years, including 16 just in the last 12 months. So far, it has enjoyed a 100% retention rate.  

Award-winning work includes launching Carole Matthews’ latest novel The Cake Shop in the Garden by creating an edible garden made of cake — bringing together Britain’s top pastimes gardening and baking. In six weeks, 54K books were sold (76% uplift from a previous book launch), more than 1K visitors to the garden and 50 pieces of coverage. The book reached sixth place in the Sunday Times Bestseller list within two weeks. — AaS