France PR Consultancies of the Year 2018 | Holmes Report
Charting the future of public relations

2018 French PR Consultancies of the Year

Our 2018 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 were unveiled at the EMEA SABRE Awards in Amsterdam on 23 May. Analysis of all Finalists across 20 categories can be accessed via the navigation menu to the right or here. 

Winner: Jin (Independent)

Founded just five and a half years ago by Edouard Fillias, who previously held digital roles in French organizations, including a stint with Publicis, Jin is a fast-growing, digital-first agency with its headquarters in Paris, where a team of 36 works under the leadership of GM Patrick Bonin (a veteran of Kingcom and Le Public Systeme) across the consumer, healthcare and technology sectors with clients including Chipotle, Europcar, and Ricoh.

Jin boasts exceptional digital capabilities (especially in the context of continental Europe). Its team includes several specialists in SEO (including COO Alexandre Villeneuve); a team of six designers, developing website and social media content; an insights team of three; and a group it calls the Lab, which has developed proprietary tools including a monitoring solution, Plugr, and a VR training tool, Pitchboy. Its influencer marketing capabilities, meanwhile, depend on networks of influencers in major European markets).

Another thing that sets Jin apart is its focus on delivering pan-European solutions. It has opened smaller offices in London (six people) and Hamburg (four people) and actually has two people on the ground in New York. It works for Chipotle and Ricoh is France, Germany and the UK, and for Europcar in 15 countries. Other clients include GE, for women’s healthcare issues, Astellas (disease awareness and influencer outreach), and Medtronic. — PH

Finalists

Edelman-Elan (Independent)

It has been three years now since Edelman acquired the leading French independent, Agence Elan, and installed its founder (and Edelman veteran) Marion Darrieutort as CEO of the merged operations. Darrieutort had built a €15 million agency in a difficult market by challenging the conservative conventions of the conservative French PR establishment, blending expertise in corporate and marketing communications, supplemented by research and planning and expertise in influencer outreach and social media. Joining forces with Edelman—and its pioneering digital, social, creative, integrated resources—has only strengthened the offer.

With close to 100 people in Paris, Edelman now ranks in the top three in the French PR market, and in the top 10 among all creative services. The firm picked up new business from French blue-chop brands Danone and L’Oreal last year, adding them to a roster that includes Gilead, BMS, HP, Microsoft, Econocom, Club Med, and more. The firm also added new talent, hiring Benoit Viala, former managing director of Havas PR in Paris and most recently with a leading French change management specialist, as deputy CEO to strengthen the firm’s consulting credentials, and bringing in Robert Fridovich, a veteran of Havas Media Group, as global director, creative marketing.

That last move will only bolster a creative capability that is already impressive. The agency took a look at strategies to get pregnant for Le Grand Forum Des Touts Petits last year, producing a frank and funny video that drove a social media conversation, and has taken the lead on Club Med work that used virtual reality to take people on amazing journeys. For Airbnb, the firm organized and publicized a contest to allow people to spend the night at the Galeries Lafayette department store on the eve of the winter sales or in the Catacombs of Paris, and for Klorane Botanical Foundation it launched the “Botany for Change” initiative.—PH


Hopscotch Groupe (Independent)

Launched in 2000, Hopscotch has expanded to become France's largest communications group, with the 2010 merger with Le Public Système helping to create a leader in the industry, now worth €54m with operations across EMEA. The group has further expanded its offering by acquiring 33% of food and beverage specialist Sopexa, part of a plan to create a viable French alternative to the Anglo-Saxon independent PR networks. 

In 2017, Hopscotch started operating under a new tagline, Relationships Built By Design. The phrase is meant to capture the agency’s approach to communications — designing relationships for clients and their audiences. For Hopscotch, that involves inciting high-impact conversations, creating experiences, collaborating and aligning with business sectors and eradicating preconceived notions. The firm showcases a fully rounded offering across multiple sectors and practice areas, with particular strength in digital, events, technology and content production. The client roster is a blue-chip affair that in 2017 added Alibaba, PWC, Huawei, Puig and Lacoste on top of existing clients such as Renault-Nissan, Skoda, Microsoft,  Sony, Samsung and Peugeot. — AS/DM

Monet + Associés (Independent)

Monet’s positioning reflects its focus on creating engagement, which has helped it develop into one of France’s leading PR firms, with 37 staffers led by MD Amaury Bataille. The consumer PR firm demonstrated remarkable growth in 2017 of 42%, powered by a client roster that includes Bosch, Siemens, Bayer, Bouygues, Nokia, Roche, Intermarché and Nikon. 

Much of that growth was helped by the agency’s ability to handle social media campaigns for its clients, thanks to specific expertise in branded content and influencer marketing. That was further illustrated by a range of eye-catching campaigns, including considerable digital and video activity, for the likes of Algotherm, Bosch, Laino, Silverlit and Brossard. After being elected PR Agency of the Year in 2016, it is little surprise that Monet continues to impress. — AS

Wellcom (Independent)

Wellcom's consistent presence as one of France's top 3 PR firms owes much to founder Thierry Wellhoff's restless penchant for innovation. In 2015, for example, the firm joined forces with La Maison Link, expanding its expertise into the  lifestyle and consumer arena. A couple of years ago, meanwhile, it upped investment in measurement and analytics, via the creation of a new KPI tool. And at the end of 2017, Wellcom acquired multimedia content firm Analogue to bolster its branding unit, following an internal reorganisation that divided the firm into five areas of expertise. That approach extended to a new methodology called ‘senslation’ which aims to guide brand building with the help of AI tools.

Fee income continued to demonstrate healthy growth, up 5% to €10.5m, driven by continuing strength across consumer, corporate, creative, digital, healthcare and technology. That approach helps to sustain a client portfolio that is stronger than most featuring new clients like Nivea, Thales, Trandev, Motorola, Talentia Software, Placo Saint-Gobain, Carglass, UPPAbaby, Verisure, and Transferwise, who join a client roster that includes Adidas, Logitech, Total, Sodebo, B&B Hotels, Easy Voyage, Engie, Biocodex, Essilor, Pfizer. 

There was also notable SABRE-nominated work for Nivea — ‘Pure Skin’ and Careless, underpinning Wellcom’s reputation as a progressive force in the modernisation of French PR. — AS