iseepr has a very clear focus. They have found their niche, but with enough variance in the sector to futureproof their business in a competitive environment. Sustained growth year on year without having to invest in pitches is winning them significant levels of business and has helped to shape a strong viable company that has been established by word of mouth. The judges were impressed by the global reach of iseepr, delivering international projects from policy to product promotion. People development is central to their business and they demonstrate a clear commitment to CPD and professionalism that is having a positive effect on their business.

Finalists:

  • Hatch Communications
  • Massive PR
  • Serious PR
  • spottydog communications
  • Tin Man

Entry:

Date of incorporation, number of employees – including executive / support staff – and annual fee income:

iseepr is a niche B2B technology agency.  Based in Leeds, we work with American, European and Asian clients, delivering intelligent PR programmes that add value.  Chip/mobile technology, routers, internet-of-things, trusted execution environments…yes we are geeks, but this is our world.  We love what we do!

  • Incorporated: March 2007
  • 12 full-time staff (MD, CSD, Associate Director, 2 x ADs, 2 x AMs, 3 x AEs, HR Manager, Office Assistant).

 

Business objectives and analysis of performance against budget over the past three years:

  • Become a ‘top 20’ PR Week UK technology agency
  • Recruit/empower a team of talented and passionate individuals
  • Continually ‘wow’ and grow a portfolio of international technology clients.

 

A brief overview of business / team strategy:

Our growth strategy is to develop our position as unparalleled specialists in technology markets, putting ‘added value’ at the heart of everything we do. This approach is working: since 2014, we’ve grown fee income by 52% and increased headcount by 34%.  We’ve done this by:

  • Proving to clients, through measurable results, that intelligent PR delivered by sector specialists adds real value
  • Creating a happy, fulfilling workplace which adds value to…well…ourselves.

 

A summary of commitment to CPD and professionalism:

Adherence /contribution to best practice. Professionalism underpins the business:

  • iseepr funds CIPR membership for all staff
  • CPD is built into annual appraisals; 50% of staff are CIPR accredited practitioners
  • iseepr’s MD is a regular judge for CIPR Excellence, PRide, and other awards.

Supporting the next generation:

  • iseepr team members participate in recruitment panels and guest lectures at local Leeds universities, supporting under-graduates interested in PR careers
  • We offer work experience opportunities to students, aiding skills and portfolio development. Most importantly: we ALWAYS pay them for their time. We recognise their value and reward them fairly
  • We offer AE’s the opportunity to ‘try’ us out on a paid placement before accepting a job offer. (Tech PR is not for everyone…).

Team development:

  • The team’s intelligence, chemistry and drive are intrinsic to iseepr’s success. We have processes, opportunities and rewards in place which ensure that we recruit, retain and nurture the best professionals in the business:
  • Expansion of flexible working across the agency. Offering part-time opportunities and staggered working hours enables us to retain and recruit amazing people often overlooked by other agencies. 40% of our team work flexibly around childcare and other commitments
  • Remote working opportunities enable us to hire the best person for the job, even if they don’t live within a commutable distance to the office (our most recent remote worker lives in Edinburgh). Senior vacancies are advertised nationally
  • Individual annual training budgets up to £1,000
  • In-house training sessions delivered by full team (including MD) bi-weekly
  • iseepr ‘Perk Package’ launched in 2016, communicating our commitment to professional benefits
  • Work-life balance:
  • A ‘wellness policy’, enables staff to extend their lunch breaks to exercise and socialise during the work day
  • We offer childcare vouchers and operate a Ride2Work scheme
  • 50% of our team worked abroad in the past 12 months.
  • In February 2016, iseepr flew the entire team to Barcelona for a ‘bonding’ session. We visited a tech trade show, hosted company meetings and had a guided tour of the city
  • Staff get annual bonuses
  • Staff get rewarded throughout the year (e.g. an office Christmas ‘advent calendar’ with doors revealing individual, office or team-wide treats; birthday ‘days off’).

Social conscience:

We understand that no matter how bad our day has been, there are many people who have it a lot worse…. We value fundraising for worthy causes; team fundraising initiatives (e.g. the Yorkshire Warrior mud run, a ‘coffee club’ which supports local social enterprises) and efforts of individuals within the team (e.g. 100 mile bike rides, triathalons) are always supported by the company.

 

A summary of recent outstanding achievements, including client list growth / retention:

Performance:

  • 52% revenue increase
  • Profitable year-on-year
  • New business leads: 100% from referrals – no pitches
  • Growth from existing clients:
  • Increased fee revenue from 70% of longstanding clients: +33% per account (average)
  • Project revenue is up 69%.
  • Headcount increase from 9 to 12
  • 82% client retention rate.

Client-side:

  • Eleven new client wins
  • Retention of three founding clients (9 years), two of which have grown to be the agency’s largest accounts
  • €1.2 m revenue generated for client via global ‘early mover’ disruptive technology campaign (Bell ID: SE in the Cloud campaign – 2014)
  • We opened funding streams for joint marketing with Cisco for a client (Cisco channel partner), through an increased media profile and campaign microsite.

Operational:

  • 2016: Ranked #31: PR Week’s UK tech agency league
  • 2016: Ranked #27: Prolific North’s top 50 PR agencies
  • Silver winner of CIPR PRide Awards ‘Outstanding PR Agency of the Year’ (Yorks & Lincs) 2015
  • Winner of PR Moment’s technology and B2B agency of the year awards, 2016
  • Shortlisted for PR Moment’s technology, B2B and boutique agency of the year awards, 2017
  • Relocation from a Yorkshire market town to Leeds City Centre to ease recruitment: 78% increase in CVs received in the six months since we moved….
  • £40k investment into creative redesign of new premises to create a collaborative workspace. 100% of staff polled are much happier at work!
  • Lee’ann Kaufman (MD) was selected to be mentored by Jackie Cooper (Global Chair, Brand, Edelman) on PR Week’s inaugural Mentoring Project in 2014. Jackie’s mentorship has led to iseepr establishing co-operative relations with Edelman’s technology division (#1 technology PR firm: PR Week).

“I loved hearing about Lee’ann’s passion for the business.  It reminded me of how I felt when establishing my agency,” says Cooper. “It’s always good to spend time with people who love our industry and want to make a difference.” (PR Week article, March 2015).

 

A summary of a campaign you are particularly proud of, including details of the brief, objectives, strategy, tactics, outputs, outcomes and budget:

2016 was a pivotal year for a long-running iseepr campaign for Dutch client, Bell ID, to position the firm for acquisition. The objectives of the campaign were to 1) support lead generation by positioning Bell ID as a dynamic/disruptive force in the fledgling mobile payments market, 2) establish a reputation for innovation and thought-leadership by generating global exposure, and 3) attract interest from potential acquirers. The campaign, which blended digital PR, social media, internal comms and content marketing, achieved its objectives and was instrumental to acquisition. Over a three-year period (including 2016), the campaign:

  • Delivered 237.5% revenue growth
  • Generated 15,912 inbound leads (585% growth)
  • Reached audience of 29,413,350 via 762 coverage hits globally
  • 1,000%+ increase in Twitter followers, 50,230 YouTube/Vimeo views
  • Attracted attention from global IP-licensing giant Rambus Inc., which acquired Bell ID in 2016 (deal worth £45.7m).