Meet CommsCon Awards’ PR Agency of the Year contenders

Havas Worldwide’s Red Agency has topped Mumbrella’s CommsCon Awards shortlist, with 11 short-listings across the award’s 27 categories.

The shortlist recognises the best campaigns, businesses and individuals in public relations and the communications industry.header_CCAwrds_Isentia2016.083625

In the Agency of the Year categories, The Cru Media + Communications, Kite Communications, F4WARD Agency, Propeller, Poem Group and Bench PR will fight it out to be named boutique or small PR agency of the year.

The mid-size PR agency of the year category will see PR Edge, N2N Communications, Klick Communications, History Will Be Kind and Sling & Stone battle it out.

The large PR Agency of the Year will pit Pulse Communications, Red Agency, Mango Communications, Cannings Purple and One Green Bean against each other.

Here the Agency of the Year contenders give their pitch on why they deserve to win.

Meet the Boutique Agency of the Year contenders:

THE CRU MEDIA + COMMUNICATIONS

Kensington Street Social Restaurant Launch 3 Kensington Street, Chippendale Monday 18th January, 2016 Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016

Why should Cru be the 2016 agency of the year?

As a small, agile specialist agency, we believe we deliver truly meaningful results to clients who trust us implicitly, and that we make a positive impact on their businesses. We think this embodies the future of public relations- deep audience understanding built on genuine insights that can only be achieved by specialising in an industry.

We are humble and pride ourselves on the longevity we have achieved with our core clients. We don’t tout our achievements, our clients are always the stars, and all of our business is referred via word-of-mouth. Reputation is everything in the food and drink space and that’s something we never lose sight of in this very competitive space.

Looking inwards, there is a continued focus on nurturing our people. We have purposely kept the team small and the agency boutique so we never loose what makes us special. Everyone who works at The Cru are very hands-on and passionate about the genre and our clients recognise this.

What is Cru’s biggest achievement of the last 12 months?

Consolidating our position as market leaders as specialists in food and drink and working with leaders in our industry, locally and internationally. We have stuck to our guns and identified what we can offer that differentiates us from other agencies, and delivered outstanding service as a small, nimble agency. We have worked with major tourism bodies, property developers, international and local award-winning restaurants, and leading food brands, and offered each of them our insights and tailored approach to communicating with their customers, other businesses and potential clients, because we understand and care about their industry as much as they do.

What does Cru aim to achieve in the next 12 months?

We have already begun to offer services that we have seen matter to our clients and can make us even more valued partners of their businesses. Because we specialise, clients come to us looking for a total solution within our industry, and over the next 12 months we are building our capability to deliver more related services.

Our clients have started to come to us requesting an extension of services. What The Cru offers today is so much more than just PR. Being vertical specialists we are now working not only across consumer brands but more and more there are B2B opportunities where larger businesses are looking to connect with our clientele.

If you had 2 minutes with our CommsCon jury what would you want them to know?

The Cru has continued to build on the principle we were founded on- that a deep and genuine understanding of our industry would allow us to deliver the best results possible, founded on market research and instinct for our industry. We identified a gap in the market to specialise in the growing industry of food and drink, and instead of deviating from that path as we have grown, we have used our industry knowledge to offer comprehensive services that respond to changing client needs and keep them a step ahead of their competitors in their communications strategies.

KITE COMMUNICATIONS

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Why should Kite Communications be the 2016 agency of the year?

In our first full year of operation we smashed our ambitious business targets, attracted sought-after global and Australian clients to our register, expanded our team of smart and talented consultants, and above all delivered creative and strategic work which has made a real difference to our clients.

What is Kite’s biggest achievement of the last 12 months?

We’re proud to be carving out a niche for Kite as the expert agency to launch and build consumer brands – particularly those with a challenger mindset. Our award-winning work with peer-to-peer lender RateSetter shows the power of PR in establishing exciting new brands in the Australian market. We also helped Tourism Northern Territory attract more visitors to the region against competing domestic destinations.

What does Kite aim to achieve in the next 12 months?

We’ve set ourselves some ambitious growth and profitability targets we’re confident we’ll achieve as we raise our profile, extend our digital capabilities, and continue to develop our strategy offering. Our aim is to retain all our current clients and win new ones, and we have a very healthy pipeline to do so. We’ll be continuing collaborating with our sister agency Sefiani on fully integrated consumer and corporate programmes, which is already reaping rewards – we’ve just won a new global food client.

Ultimately, our goal is to work with the best and brightest, both on our team and as our clients, on the most creative campaigns grounded in real strategic insights.

If you had 2 minutes with our CommsCon jury what would you want them to know?

Kite is a specialised agency clear on its purpose. We exist to service consumer and challenger brands primarily in the sectors of finance, e-commerce, travel & tourism, and FMCG. We’re also a small agency with a big heart helping worthy organisations like Australia for UNHCR and Foodbank NSW on a 50:50 pro bono/paid approach. We love giving back to the industry and have helped judge student competitions for UNSW and UTS, while our parent company Sefiani Communications Group sponsors a prize for the most promising PR graduate each year at Charles Sturt University.

We can access the issues and crisis management ‘smarts’ of our big sister corporate agency Sefiani and offer clients global best practice with the personalised attention and friendly culture of a boutique.

F4WARD AGENCY

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Why should F4WARD be the 2016 agency of the year?

F4WARD’s mission is to create compelling branded communications and content. Our work stimulates conversations that positively change attitudes and behaviour. We co-create with influencers, collaborate with experts and our content is distributed through earned, shared, owned and paid channels.

Our client roster includes some of Australia’s leading brands. As an agency we continue to grow, with success in several major pitches in the past 12 months.

F4WARD values good work and good people. Our culture champions independent thinking and encourages curiosity and challenging the status quo. We empower our team members to be autonomous and collaborative.

What is F4WARD’s biggest achievement of the last 12 months?

Partnership is one of our primary principles and with our client, The Daily Drinks Co, we developed an education campaign for Fruit Juice Australia tackling myths and misperceptions about fruit juice.

Over the course of six months, we set out to balance the negativity surrounding fruit juice and shine a spotlight on the positive role it can play in our diets.

Content and digital were key to our strategy. We created a bank of engaging branded assets founded on research by CSIRO, including videos with our supermodel ambassador, Robyn Lawley. We placed this within high reaching earned media and seeded and amplified across all partner’s digital and social channels.

The campaign connected with Australian grocery buyers and produced clear, measurable outcomes, which exceeded all KPIs for the client.

What does F4WARD aim to achieve in the next 12 months?

In addition to excellence in media and blogger relations, event production and content creation, our ambition is to be one of Australia’s leading influencer marketing agencies.

Influencer marketing is a growing area for us, with almost every major campaign having an influencer component or being entirely influencer lead.

For the next 12 months, this will be a strategic focus for us. We are currently finalising the integration of several new technologies that will help us to innovate further and evolve this offering in 2016.

If you had 2 minutes with our CommsCon jury what would you want them to know?

Although we are boutique in size, we are big in our thinking and ambitious in what we achieve for our clients.

The agency is designed around the central concept of a hybrid consultancy, and we were one of the first to understand the rise of the influencer.

As communications is always evolving, we are fluent, nimble, and capable of working simultaneously with traditional media and digital channels. We embrace new models and platforms to tell our client’s stories – technology is integral to our growth strategy and enables our creativity, implementation and efficiency.

PROPELLER

Propeller PR

Why should Propeller be the 2016 agency of the year?

It’s been an amazing year. The past 12 months have been a huge success in new business, winning pitches for Sensis, BP, Libra, Carr Design and others. We have grown retained business by 67% and project work by 23%.

That’s the headline answer. The real answer as to why we should be Agency of the Year is that we are different to everyone else. We are independent, deliberately small, have a sister agency who many would consider a direct rival, we operate across two cities with a parochial Melbourne base and we speak our minds (politely).

(Laughing) Propeller doesn’t fit into the typical PR agency mould. Propeller’s founders have never worked for anyone else in PR , so they’ve been making this up as they go along (mainly because no one has been around to tell them they’re doing it wrong).

What we do have is integrity, strategic firepower, commercial understanding, a great work ethic, passion for what we do and just the right amount of crazy to keep things interesting.

Does that mean we’re not the easy choice? Yeah. Does it mean we should be Agency of the Year? Hell, yeah!

What’s Propeller’s biggest achievement of the last 12 months?

It’s been a huge year from a new-business sense – as mentioned above, we have welcomed some incredible brands on board.

But by far the biggest achievement has been being considered a genuine extension of all our clients’ in-house teams. We have incredibly strong, personal relationships with our clients and really feel that’s where our success radiates from. If you genuinely care about people, you will go that extra mile to make sure they look good in front of their boss, their stakeholders and their audiences. So we do. And they do. It’s a bit of an old-fashioned attitude but it seems to have stood us in good stead, this year in particular.

A wise man once told us: “A principle isn’t a principle until it costs you money”. This year, our principles cost us some money by saying no to some serious offers. They were different situations but the moral side of the equation was always the easiest part. The hardest part is working out how you’re going to replace that massive revenue opportunity you’ve just passed up as you open your latest love letter from the ATO. Ouch.

What does Propeller aim to achieve in the next 12 months?

We have some plans for growth – but in a sustainable, managed way.

We think one of the most exciting things is where that growth will take us. Definitely into uncharted waters – the whole industry is in such a period of upheaval that we almost feel any answer we give you now will be redundant in three months’ time.

Organic growth and consolidation is our first priority. Testing our new ideas with our clients in an environment of trust is the next order of business.

There are a couple of business initiatives we’re launching which may cause a stir within the industry. We hope so.

If you had 2 minutes with our CommsCon jury what would you want them to know?

Probably not a whole lot more about Propeller as a business (feel free to Google stalk or call us if there’s anything more you’d like to know), but rather about the industry itself.

We’re passionate about the future of this industry but we are concerned. We are being attacked on all sides by other types of agencies clawing at clients’ PR budgets. We are an industry full of smart people, who ironically, could do with some positive publicity to shore up our position.

We’re interested in how we can all help each other grow the definition of PR as a discipline in clients’ minds. We need to own that territory others are encroaching – we need to claim the digital high ground more emphatically. We need to get rid of the smoke and mirrors and emphasise our strengths and professionalism as an industry.

The PRIA, the Communications Council and platforms such as CommsCon have been doing an awful lot of work to help raise professional standards, especially during the past few years of dramatic change. But we need to work out a way to ensure clients understand the value PR can bring to their business and give us a seat at the table, not a highchair in the nursery.

Even though Propeller is a small business, we actively help nurture the next generation of talent. If we can do it, so can everyone. After all, the talent pool is so tight, chances are we’re all going to end up hiring them at some point in their career. Let’s all work together to make sure they’re the best they can be.

Rant over. Let’s have a drink on the 23rd, no matter the outcome.

POEM GROUP

Poem_Matt Holmes & Rob Lowe

Why should Poem be the 2016 agency of the year?

We started Poem specifically to move away from traditional industry habits and the legacy model of large agency processes. We saw it as a chance to start fresh and build from the ground up to reflect the way that media consumption has changed and the pace of today’s world. The fact we’re here now shows that people want a more human approach to marketing.

What is Poem’s biggest achievement of the last 12 months?

We’ve won 17 clients across a variety of business categories and grown to five permanent staff and several key consultants in just eight months, and still found time to work on a fantastic pro bono campaign with MND Australia. Currently being in the final rounds of several live pitches against agencies shortlisted for Large Agency of the Year shows the power of big agency expertise combined with a boutique model.

What does Poem aim to achieve in the next 12 months?

We want to grow our existing client base to show the the full breadth of services we offer and deliver some great campaign work that we will all be proud of, while slowly growing the talent further within the agency.

If you had 2 minutes with our CommsCon jury what would you want them to know?

We’d want the jury to hear about our challenges and successes, the worry and the celebrations that we’ve faced over the last year in striving to build an agency equipped for the future. We’re thriving on the ability to be more transparent, collaborative and more human in how we work and the ideas we develop. Qualities that are much easier to stand by as a boutique agency.

BENCH PR

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Why should Bench PR be the 2016 agency of the year?

Bench PR should be the 2016 small PR agency of the year for the following reasons:
1. We’re tech specialists – we eat, live and breathe tech, we know our field extremely well and the influencers in that field, whether they’re journalists, gov representatives, venture capitalists etc. We’ve proved that independent specialist PR agencies can not only survive against the big multinational agencies but thrive.

2. We’re experienced – we only hire PR professionals with more than ten years’ experience. We rarely pitch for business and bring flexibility to everything we do, using the latest technology, work practices and hiring criteria.

3. We’re flexible – my consultants can work the days/hours they want from wherever they want. We believe that the traditional hierarchical PR agency model, where everyone works from one office, 5 days a week, is broken. We’ve demonstrated that an alternative model can work, extremely well using the latest technologies, providing real flexibility for PR professionals where none has existed before.

4. We’re part of our client teams – many agencies say this, but we are – we’ve had many of our clients for 3,4 and 5 years. We don’t do project work – all of it is retained, so our clients all make long-term commitments to us, they pay us every month, so it’s up to us to deliver for them, every single month. We don’t take this responsibility lightly. This means that we get the best results for them as we know their businesses, inside and out.

5. We’re committed – although finding experienced PRs can be a challenge, once they join Bench they stay. Three of my five consultants have been with Bench for four years or more. Clients like this – they’re not having to work with someone new every few months.

What is Bench PR’s biggest achievement of the last 12 months?

I suppose it’s been about Bench achieving strong growth again over the past 12 months, despite three of our clients being acquired in the first 6 months of the year.

Of course we’ve helped make that possible – without our work raising the profile of those companies, they wouldn’t have been acquired, but still, all three happening pretty close together was a challenge. We knew that two were likely, so it’s the first time we put in place a ‘replacement strategy’, which worked really well. Something again, probably only the large PR agencies do – but with a bit of foresight we not only replaced that revenue but added new clients to the mix, which has put us in a strong position for 2016.

What does Bench PR aim to achieve over the next 12 months?

We’ve got a couple of clients who are likely to go to IPOs in the next 12 months , so our role will be to support them from a communications perspective and help them make that transition to a public company. We’ve been through this before with both Xero (ASX listing) and Zendesk (IPO in May 2014), so we understand what we need to do and the important role PR and comms plays in this process.

If you had two minutes with our CommsCon jury what would you want them to know?

I’d like them to know that we’re all passionate about the role of PR and are very proud of our reputation as one of the most respected specialist PR agencies in Australia.

We only work with clients who we feel we can add real value to and help them achieve their business objectives and future growth.

We’ve got a great culture at Bench and support each other to make our flexible model work.

Whilst we don’t work with large, global consumer brands, we do work with some fantastic B2B focused companies who help their customers run their businesses more effectively. We excel at finding and telling interesting stories, in easy to understand language that often come from complex and technical environments. We love turning the ‘unsexy’ into the ‘sexy’.

Meet the Midsize Agency of the Year contenders:

PR EDGE

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Why should PR Edge be the 2016 agency of the year?

Sometimes it takes the greatest challenges to uncover the truest of champions.

PR Edge weathered considerable losses in the first quarter before experiencing phenomenal growth, which saw us outperform expectations, grow our staff by 20% and open a second office in Sydney.

As the year drew to a close, we saw it was time to put our energy around an important cause that was gaining traction. We launched a market-first division, Rosie, dedicated solely to tackling issues of gender inequality.

Our credentials of matching social cause with corporate interest were acknowledged when we took out the national title for Community Engagement at the PRIA Awards with our Yellow Pages R U Okay? Campaign. Across 177 Australian finalists this campaign was awarded the 2015 National Campaign of the Year.

What is PR Edge’s biggest achievement of the last 12 months?

Aside from the fiscal success, our biggest achievement has to be the launch of Rosie. Entirely unique in its approach, Rosie involves the expertise of specialists and professionals (feminist thinkers, commentators and medical professionals, such as psychologists) in the development of campaign strategy.

Work is measured not only on media and social reach/metrics, but on how a campaign has practically instigated a positive change across communities.

In a world where media and marketing channels collide, it’s important we harness the skills that are unique to PR. We are not just publicists, we are the marketers best equipped to engineer behavioural shift and attitudinal change.

Our investment in Rosie reflects not only an important societal issue but our belief in the power of the PR discipline to engineer campaigns that matter.

What does PR Edge aim to achieve in the next 12 months?

We will continue our growth into the Sydney market. We will continue to facilitate partnerships between the corporate world and causes that are good for our world to generate both brand love and positive change.

We want to continue to be recognised as delivering market-best campaigns in the corporate responsibility space, with a specific focus on gender inequality for 2016.

If you had 2 minutes with our CommsCon jury what would you want them to know?

In a world where media and marketing channels collide, it’s important we harness the skills that are unique to PR. We are not just publicists, we are influencers who use multiple channels to engineer behavioural shift and attitudinal change.

Our investment in Rosie reflects not only an important societal issue but our belief that PR, and the business of bespoke influence, is the discipline in which to nurture campaigns that truly matter.

We are evolving to be the agency of the future – one where our consultants not only have the skills of ‘suits’ to develop and implement fully integrated campaigns (which they learn and are constantly upskilled on as part of the CHE Proximity offering) but to also create news and spark conversations that people care about.

N2N COMMUNICATIONS

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Why should N2N be the 2016 agency of the year?

We entered CommsCon to recognise the contribution our team has made to help us respond to a fast-evolving market. In the past 12 months, the transformation of our skills, structure and services has helped us generate substantial new business as well as grow and retain our diverse mix of clients and work. We’re really proud of the way our team has adapted to change and full of excitement for the year ahead. A CommsCon award-win would be the icing on the cake.

What is N2N’s biggest achievement of the last 12 months?

Harnessing the collective energy of our 25 consultants so we could throw ourselves at the challenges faced by our brands has been our greatest achievement. In 2015 we won our first Cannes Lion, delivered complex strategy work with EY, doubled our digital and social team, and launched a creative studio along with an agency-wide evaluation and measurement pilot and a partnership scheme to create long-term career paths for our people.

What does N2N aim to achieve in the next 12 months?

In 2016 we will keep pushing ourselves to help our clients solve complex business problems with creative ideas, strategic excellence and integrated execution. Each year we take stock of our performance, insight from clients, the market and competitors. This, coupled with our strategy of great people, game-changing brands, diversified skills, and an agile structure drives our approach to market. Our goal this year is a continued focus on outstanding campaigns that are creativity led and content driven.

If you had 2 minutes with our CommsCon jury what would you want them to know?

If we had 2 minutes with the CommsCon jury we’d take them into our Surry Hills office so they could soak up the energy and culture of our team. If they could give us five minutes we’d even shout them a coffee.

KLICK COMMUNICATIONS

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Why should Klick Communications be the 2016 agency of the year?

The team has pulled together to serve up the biggest 12 months of Klick’s history. Our focus has been decidedly on our people, perception (our brand) and partnerships with our clients. By focusing on these three lead indicators, we surpassed our profit goals. The majority of our revenue is from our existing and long term partners and we’ve excelled with some wonderful new business wins in the travel and lifestyle space. The entire Klick team has pulled off our best year yet – and are still smiling.

What is Klick Communications’ biggest achievement of the last 12 months?

The most exciting thing to come from 2015 was the launch of our Hawaii office. Translating our brand and delivering our IP to the land of Aloha with great success is something we are incredibly proud of. Klick is the only Aussie communications agency to have a presence on US mainland (Los Angeles) and the islands (Honolulu), which we think is pretty awesome. Within six months of launching, the Hawaii team have secured more than a dozen new clients and grew from one team member to three. It’s really satisfying to watch our brand success translate to other markets.

What does Klick Communications aim to achieve in the next 12 months?

We always have one eye firmly on the ’next’. The next twelve months are about growth, but not in terms of size. We will continue the momentum we’ve developed, and grow in terms of skills, geography, results and revenue.

If you had 2 minutes with our CommsCon jury what would you want them to know?

I think I’d want them to know how passionate our team is about making Klick a place that kicks goals for clients while looking after their people; that our success truly comes from putting our people first. Our team of “A” players are challenged, motivated, inspired and accountable to each other. As a result they deliver some of the best work seen within our industry. We’ll proudly never be the biggest agency around, but we’re definitely vying for the title of being the best.

HISTORY WILL BE KIND

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Why should HWBK be the 2016 agency of the year?

From a two person team at launch (March 2014) to the current team of 11, the growth and financial success of the agency has been standout. Spearheaded by an aggressive new business program, strong word-of-mouth referral, and retention of key foundation clients – our desire to make a mark in the ever-evolving world of integrated communications is clear. We are proud of what we’ve achieved.

Our purpose is to create moments in history for our clients. We manage reputations, raise profiles, drive thought leadership, launch products and start movements. We do all of this backed by solid research, influencer audits, strategic planning, monitoring and ROI focused analytics.

It’s been a busy 12 months for the team. We secured over 20 new clients from leading brands to grassroots organisations, and more than doubled our partner base, achieving 154% growth. We launched new products and services, including our Content Remix Lab, Real Time Integrated Measurement Dashboard (RIM) and Brand Ethnography offering – an immersive approach to new client inductions.

What is HWBK’s biggest achievement of the last 12 months?

Being a startup gives us freedom to create new ways of doing things. We can challenge traditional models, and bring our clients on a journey to find the best fit, even if it means tailoring a bespoke approach along the way. The results this creates for clients, is invigorating and self-sustaining.

We embrace change thinking, constantly challenging ourselves to evolve, to be channel agnostic and story centric. We strive to explode ideas that engage across platforms and devices.

It’s this diversity and mix of work which really makes us thrive. We’ve done everything from re-engaging a youth audience with tenpin bowling through AMF’s Facebook community, and positioning International Convention Centre as innovation leaders on the global stage, to supporting The Black Dog Institute to engage their donor base for a vital early detection app for depression.

What does HWBK aim to achieve in the next 12 months?

We are on track to double in size, launch new products and services, and explore new territories. We are also heavily focused on team development, with a recent new initiative, that focuses on improving our service offer, work environment and the capability and engagement of our team. Our drive is to attract the leaders and creators of tomorrow to become part of History.

If you had 2 minutes with our CommsCon jury what would you want them to know?

Business growth and success is one thing, but what sets an agency apart are the people and the passion. We celebrate diversity with a mix of PRs, designers, musicians, writers, photographers, animators, social media and analytics gurus. It’s a dynamic combination of characters with a shared goal – to create great work. We have been lucky enough to collaborate with diverse brands and inspiring clients across property, health and fitness, technology, innovation, travel, FMCG, Government and beyond. We’ve had a great year, but this is only the start.

SLING & STONE

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Why should Sling & Stone be the 2016 agency of the year?

We entered the industry five years ago with a different approach to working with clients, using technology to run smarter, data-driven, efficient campaigns, and building a culture around hustle, curiosity, blending art with science, and doing beautiful work.

Fast forward to 2016, and this model has been key to the phenomenal year of growth and success we have had, from doing great work with long standing clients, to winning new ones like Domain, Google, Xero, and many more.

Judge us by the work we’ve done, the brands we represent, and the talent we attract. Our clients, campaigns, and people, have all grown tremendously in the last 12 months at Sling & Stone.

What is Sling & Stone’s biggest achievement of the last 12 months?

The biggest achievement we’ve had in the last 12 months is doubling our size by headcount and revenue while maintaining the culture, passion, and approach to work that defined our early years.

A year ago we were on a rapid growth path, and we sat down as a team and decided we wanted to grow the right way. We’re just getting started, but we are proud that we were able to go through the last year of growth without compromising anything.

What does Sling & Stone aim to achieve in the next 12 months?

We want to help more great challengers, disrupters, and entrepreneurs change the world around them. We enjoy learning from them, uncovering interesting things, and telling their stories.

If you had 2 minutes with our CommsCon jury what would you want them to know?

I’d direct them to talk to any of our clients about what it’s like working with Sling & Stone, and to look at the real business outcomes our campaigns have generated for them.

Meet the Large Agency of the Year contenders:

PULSE COMMUNICATIONS

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Why should Pulse be the 2016 agency of the year?

This year has been another record year for Pulse Communications.

This year has been another record year for Pulse Communications. We achieved our second consecutive record financial year, with double digit growth. Not bad for an agency that celebrates its 15th year in 2016.

Since January 2014 Pulse has won over 30 new clients (including adidas, Netflix, eBay and Australian Egg Corporation).

But as an agency not only have we grown in size and partnered with new brands, but we have also produced our best work ever, thanks to our new Brave creative philosophy and values: we believe that behind every impactful campaign there is a Brave idea, inspired by a bold insight. From cutting through the noise on one of the most PR-able days of the year with the Virgin Australia Pet Lounge, to changing the way consumers think about technology with the eBay Innovation Lab, we continue to be committed to creating bold, brave and brilliant work that makes brands famous; pushing the boundaries of insight, innovation and creativity in the process.

What is Pulse’s biggest achievement of the last 12 months?

Firstly the engaging and innovative campaigns that we have delivered for our partners that we feel really brings to life our agency vision of Brave Ideas That Make Brands Famous. In 2015 Pulse won or was shortlisted for more awards that anytime in its history, with 11 nods.

Secondly our culture. The agency has been able to develop a unique, fun and engaging culture all around the Brave concept – it really runs through everything we do. Being brave in the office simply means knowing that you can be brave – being able to speak up and have your idea heard, whatever level you are. We believe that the idea can come from anyone and this reflects our ability to come up with world first ideas but also we believe it contributes to our staff happiness. Despite having almost doubled in size in terms of people, employee retention hit a new high in 2015 and in a recent staff survey (December 2015), the team scored culture highly.

What does Pulse aim to achieve in the next 12 months?

We will continue to innovate around our Bold Insight, Brave Ideas and Brilliant Impact philosophy.

A few examples:

Bold Insight
We are expanding our planning team, further focusing our business on delivering outstanding consumer insight.

Brave Ideas
2015 saw the launch of Pulse Futures – a regular thought leadership series pulling together the best creative and marketing trends. We will launch the second issue in 2016.

2015 also saw the launch of the Brave Manual. A practical book for every staff member on how to be Brave and come up with Brave ideas. This will be updated and relaunched in 2016 with a new focus on technological innovation.

We will continue our transformation into a digital and social media first agency. New hires joining Pulse in the last few months include a head of content and our first creative technologist. We’ve also been shortlisted for Social Media Campaign of the Year at 2016’s CommsCon awards.

Brilliant Impact
In 2016 we will further advance our 2014 launch of our proprietary measurement system Impact4 with new innovations using some new mathematical and statistical techniques.

If you had 2 minutes with our CommsCon jury what would you want them to know?

1. That as an agency we continue to grow year on year, recruiting more best in class practitioners, developing new and impactful measurement and analysis, and delivering innovative, creative, bold and brave work – all of which leads to brilliant impact for our clients.

2. Through Pulse’s innovations the agency has contributed significantly to the industry’s evolution. For example, championing outcome measurement, including econometric modelling and statistical ANOVA modelling with talks at PRIA and Mumbrella.

3. We’ve grown as a team significantly, yet we’ve been able to keep our unique and fun culture.

4. Most importantly, we’d want them to know how our team and partners feel about working with us and would love our clients and our staff to present to the judges about how they feel about us. We want them to speak for us.

RED AGENCY

Red Agency

Why should Red Agency be the 2016 agency of the year?

After a number of outstanding years in terms of creative and commercials, 2015 was our most successful to date. Our teams have branched out into new areas and continued to deliver against Red Agency’s vision of creating Australia’s most ground-breaking and inspirational campaigns.

I believe we are doing consistently the best and most interesting work of any PR agency in the market today. We have our clients trust and that allows us to do the type of work that makes us all proud and, perhaps more importantly, delivers tangible business outcomes. This is backed up by the fact that we have been shortlisted in eleven categories for the CommsCon Awards!

What is Red Agency’s biggest achievement of the last 12 months?

There are a few campaigns that have been massive for us in 2015 – one was the Unlimited campaign for the rebrand of Western Sydney University, whereby we championed the transformational alumni story of Deng Adut from child soldier to refugee lawyer, which has been celebrated around the world. And that is just a small part of the work, overall the impact this campaign is having on the university’s profile and its performance targets is phenomenal.

But the biggest achievement in my opinion is the pride I see on every member of our team’s faces each day – pride in their work and in their colleagues. It is incredible what we have done with our agency in such a short space of time and it is our people and their belief in what we are doing that has driven it.

What does Red Agency aim to achieve in the next 12 months?

We have some big plans for strategic investments in further digital capabilities and investigating an overseas expansion. After coming of age in 2015, our experiential team, Red Guerilla has a foundation to continue to build from and I am expecting even greater collaboration with our Havas Village sister agencies to aggressively integrate capabilities. It is all about continuing to move forward, I would rather try something and fail than not even try. I believe this is a big part of what makes us unique and why people want to work for Red Agency. But I am very conscious that I don’t want to get too big and lose control of the quality of our work, I have seen that with too many bigger agencies.

If you had 2 minutes with our CommsCon jury what would you want them to know?

Look at the breadth of our work and how we are helping power our clients’ businesses – the success of our campaigns speaks for itself. Look at how we are at the forefront of redefining PR within the Australian market and how we are increasingly pitching and winning work that traditionally sat with creative agencies. And on that note I believe PR’s time is now to carry this momentum.

I would say look at how we are flying the flag for Australia as a hotbed of creativity at international award shows and conferences. And most of all I would say look at our people. We are a young, growing team that believes in our philosophy to challenge conventional PR and marketing wisdom and that we have the confidence and fearlessness to not just talk about it but to do it.

MANGO COMMUNICATIONS

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Why should Mango be 2016 agency of the year?

When I first walked in to Mango Australia, I knew this was an agency to be reckoned with. Amazing talent, strong and enduring client partnerships, a passionate but warm culture and an unparalleled love of communications and commitment to the broader Australian communications industry.

Our vision is to be pioneers in the new age of communications. Our truly integrated approach to strategy, social and creative public relations both as Mango ANZ, (Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland) and as part of the global DDB Network, means we can we deploy the strongest talent and create outstanding campaigns that can live across multiple channels and most importantly in today’s corporate landscape, achieve a strong commercial return on investment for our clients. Our goal is to create ideas so interesting, involving and magnetic that people participate with them, play with them and pass them on. Ideas that are impossible to ignore.

The future of public relations is evolving. There has been much industry debate around how the lines across the disciplines are blurring and we are committed to the power of integration, across borders and across disciplines.

What is Mango’s biggest achievement of the past 12 months?

As my first year as Mango Sydney MD, there are many things I am proud of on both a personal and cultural front. Mango is fiercely protective of its culture and we safeguard it with a simple hiring philosophy in-keeping with DDB Group; to be a Mango you must be talented and nice. You can’t be one without the other. Creating a culture doesn’t just happen. It’s about attracting the best people, from varied backgrounds and giving them the freedom to be themselves.

However, the true hero of 2015 was the work. Work that moved people. Work that cut through the clutter, reached an increasingly distracted audience and got our clients noticed. I feel our two most outstanding campaigns were McDonald’s #macitbetter which achieved 3.8 billion PR impressions and Kidsafe Victoria/Australia The Unconventional Oven which achieved 28 million Australian PR impressions.

What does Mango aim to achieve in the next 12 months?

In two words – growth and collaboration. Growth for Mango, for our people, for our clients and for the Australian industry. We now play on a global stage and it is brilliant to celebrate the outstanding talent that Australia hosts.

The continual challenge for the industry is to ensure we create work for our clients that gets noticed, remembered and understood. Often, that work is the result of excellent collaboration with other agencies, and I think it is important to recognise and respect the strategic approach, creative thinking and diverse skills set that others can bring when you work as an all-agency team. It’s healthy to challenge each other and learn from each other – ultimately, it’s about leaving ego at the door and coming together to get the best possible business result for your client.

If you had two minutes with the CommsCon jury what would you want them to know?

We would want them to know us as people – our culture and our passions – as this is the soul of Mango. Our culture is our people – talented, nice, passionate, emotionally connected and super smart. We are also proudly part of the DDB Group globally. The DDB culture is based on the Four Freedoms – freedom to be; freedom to fail; freedom from fear; freedom from chaos. This allows Mango to bring the best elements of a big agency – strategic planning, integrated thinking, award-winning creative, sponsorship specialists, experiential producers and media hounds – and marry it to the best of a boutique company, culture and team.

When we asked Mangos why they love being part of the family, this is what they said:

  • Creating work that makes people say “that’s cool”
  • Creative and strategic ideas that have style and substance
  • Industry leading ideas
  • We aren’t led by ego
  • We are proud of our work. We back ourselves!
  • We are passionate about our clients, their brands and out work
  • We produce work, both PR, experiential and sponsorship that other agencies wish they had
  • We have long and enduring partnerships with clients – we both care

I’m pretty proud to be a Mango.

CANNINGS PURPLE

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Why should Cannings Purple be the 2016 agency of the year?

We believe we deserve to be recognised as agency of the year because of our growth and our success. Against a difficult economic climate in Perth, we’re grown our staff, our revenue and our profit before tax, with some parts of the business, like the Design and Digital team, doubling its revenue. And we’ve done this without compromising on quality or success for our clients. As one resources sector managing director put it: “Cannings Purple saved our industry.”

What is Cannings Puple biggest achievement of the last 12 months?

From a client perspective, the successful #heartofgold campaign has been the highlight. Through an integrated approach, utilising all aspects of the business, we successfully argued that the gold industry should not have to pay an increased gold royalty, and did so through a positive, informative campaign which helped an historic Western Australian industry survive.

Within our business, we’ve invested heavily in our people and our culture – formalising for the first time the unique personality of the company.

Our trademark of #greatertogether has been a consistent internal ethos, creating clarity about how we do business, why we do business and how we expect our teams to treat each other.

What does Cannings Purple aim to achieve in the next 12 months?

We have set growth targets for the business which will consolidate our position as Perth’s only fully-integrated strategic communications agency. This includes more work in Asia, a more diverse client list, and a continued push into digital services.

If you had 2 minutes with our CommsCon jury what would you want them to know?

We would want you to know about the quality of our people and how much we enjoy working together.

Our other awards, our campaign successes and our client testimonials all demonstrate the performance of the business. But they are just a function of an outstanding team of experienced and skilled individuals.

We love the challenge, we love the successes, and we live our trademark that we are #greatertogether.

ONE GREEN BEAN

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Why should One Green Bean be the 2016 agency of the year?

We exist in a world where the only constant is change. Our Vision is to be the creative agency of the future. Today.

We believe the consumer is the most powerful medium of all. Our mission is to fast craft the best solution having understood the problem, precisely. It’s this guiding light that has delivered a year of creative diversity for One Green Bean. Our work has continued to surprise and delight clients and consumers alike, whether it be for James Boag, nbn or MLA.

In order to deliver on our mission, in the past year, we’ve made two significant evolutions to our business.

Firstly, we’ve overhauled our structure to build a multi-skilled team where strategy and creative excellence sit alongside our PR, social media, technology, content and design specialists.

Secondly, we’ve launched two new businesses. The first in the form of content co- creation platform called Crowd Atlas. Most recently, in partnership with our sister agency Host, we launched insight and entertainment led agency, Bring.

What is One Green Bean’s biggest achievement of the last 12 months?
Transitioning a new leadership team into place with very little disruption to the existing team of Beans, or our client base.

What does One Green Bean aim to achieve in the next 12 months?
To always stay true to our PR roots, but continue to land vanguard business in the form of Crowd Atlas and Bring. Meanwhile, we will continue to invest in our diversity – it’s going to be an exciting 12 months!

If you had 2 minutes with our CommsCon jury what would you want them to know?

That we are the creative agency of the future. Today.

You can read the full CommsCon Awards shortlist here

The awards will be presented on the evening of Wednesday March 23 at Doltone House, Jones Bay Wharf, in Sydney. Tickets for the dinner are now on sale.