111 Buckingham Palace Road
Name of person answering questions: Sarah Scales
Describe your agency in five words
From Idea to IMPACT
How would you sum up 2010 for your agency?
It was our most exciting and invigorating year yet with lots of new clients and ground-breaking projects. The world of public relations is transforming very rapidly and we’re working hard to ensure we are at the forefront of those changes. So far we’re very satisfied with our progress.
In October we moved into fantastic new offices above The Daily Telegraph in Victoria and achieved 16% growth in revenues including a five-fold increase in digital and social media income.
What was your agency’s high point of 2010?
We would have to name two. Firstly, our 10th anniversary party at Circus in June where we had the opportunity to thank all our staff and many of the clients, partners and journalists we had worked with since we set up. Secondly, our move into 111 Buckingham Palace Road was a major landmark. We’d been bursting out at the seams in Warwick Row for two years and we were all ready for more space, more meeting rooms and, in particular, air conditioning!
What was the low point of 2010?
Please give an overview of your staffing through 2010, including significant hires and internal promotions.
Staff numbers increased from 62 to 70 including eight new graduates. We continued to hire into the digital team including as head of web development.
We evolved the structure of the business to support our growth plans and this development gave full line management responsibilities to ten of our Associate Directors for the first time.
We invested heavily in staff development and welfare - £2,000 per head was spent on training and £3,200 per head on staff welfare during the period.
Five people took two month sabbaticals during the year (a perk after four years of service) and one person spent two weeks all expenses paid in our partner office in San Francisco having won Star of the Year.
What were your three best campaigns of 2010?
Nominet - Knowthenet campaign – Nominet, the internet registry that runs the .uk domain names, has a remit to educate the public about safe usage of the web. Research found that women between the ages of 25 – 34 were most vulnerable to online scams. So we designed a campaign to help everyone, especially this demographic, spot potential trouble-spots when surfing. This integrated campaign reached over 8m people via press coverage (230 pieces including ITV Daybreak, BBC Radio 4, The Financial Times and Daily Mail) and social media ( the Twitter reach was estimated at 2m people). The Brands2Life built online ThreatTest was taken by 23,000 people.
T-Mobile – Big Sofa with Saturdays to promote Night In – T-Mobile tasked us with the development of an attention-grabbing campaign to raise awareness of their Night-In promotion. We decided to land the world’s biggest sofa slap in the middle of Covent Garden and put The Saturdays on it. We achieved 103 pieces of coverage, saturating the nationals with pieces appearing in the Daily Mirror, Daily Star, The Guardian (Picture of the Week), Mail Online, Telegraph Online and Metro Online. Broadcast coverage included Capital FM, Heart FM, Live at Studio Five and Living TV and the story was also covered by lifestyle media such as OK!, Star, Now and Heat. Over 150 auditions were filmed on the Big Sofa, with one auditionee being selected to star in a TV ad. 222,000 redemptions of Night In vouchers occurred during the campaign period.
VMware – SmartSavings – We worked closely with the VMware management and marketing team to create the SmartSavings campaign which was designed to reinforce VMware’s position in the UK public sector. To coincide with the October Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) we worked out that UK public sector organisations could save £3.6bn by virtualising their IT infrastructures. The Brands2Life-designed micro-site (www.smartsavingsideas.com) attracted hundreds of potential customers to find out more and the story was featured in a double-page spread in The Sunday Telegraph as well as in over 80 other papers, magazines and blogs.
What were your most exciting client wins of 2010?
Arup, The Carbon Trust, Dun & Bradstreet, Emailvision, Gemalto, match.com and Nissan were just some of the new names onto the client list in the past twelve months. Even more importantly, we could point to nearly a third of our client base being with us for more than five years.
Of which achievement in 2010 are you most proud?
We are very proud of our growth across all aspects of our practices.
- Our work on MatchAffinitys ground-breaking Go The Distance campaign delivered national and regional coverage the length of the UK
- A highly successful seven country programme to support of Nissan’s winter sports sponsorship
- Continued c-suite level support of the European growth plan of leading IT services provider Cognizant
- Major global social media strategy project for security giant Gemalto
- Design and launch of the Nikon blog that generated 80,000 followers in its first two months
- Win of the Unisys Security Index website technical build against US opposition
What trends did you notice throughout the year in the industry i.e. Clients taking longer to sign off budgets?
Things changes faster – budgets are made available at shorter notice and campaigns need to be turned around faster and faster
More clients bought into more integrated PR and digital campaigns with the budgets coming from many different places
All clients are now switched onto online media and are pursuing social media strategies with us
How has digital changed the agency landscape in 2010?
The walls between different disciplines have come down. Clients are looking to a broader range of agencies to address broader marketing and communications requirements. We’re pitching against advertising, media and digital agencies for client projects. We see this as a major growth opportunity to design and run integrated campaigns for clients.
What are your plans for 2011?
We will continue to build the best PR agency in London – making sure our staff have fulfilling and enjoyable careers and that our clients receive better insight, creativity, service, results and value than they could get anywhere else in Europe.