JComms has demonstrated exceptional performance, thanks in large part to the company’s clear business strategy and strong commitment to CPD. The judges were impressed by the brands on their client list, as well as their ability to retain them for several years. Their campaign case study demonstrated their ability to devise a coherent strategy to deliver tangible results to the bottom line. A worthy winner!

Finalists:

  • Barley Communications
  • Big Ideas Machine
  • Clark Communications
  • cofinitive
  • HN Communications
  • The Fourth Angel
  • Viva

Winner entry:

Number of employees:

Fourteen.

Business objectives and analysis of performance against budget over the last two years:

Maximise profitability, including retaining and maximising profits with top clients:

  • >85% client retention since 2017 (>95% in past year)
  • Grown fee income and profit every year, with 2019 a record year.

Grow business outside NI by 20%:

  • Grew business outside NI by 75% 2017-2019.

Retain excellent existing staff by rewarding them well and maintaining a stimulating environment:

  • 100% staff retention in the past year
  • Two-thirds of team have been with the company more than five years
  • 50% of team have been with the company more than 10 years.

A brief overview of business / team strategy:

  • Be a high-end, boutique PR agency, delivering international quality work at a regional cost-base
  • Expand business outside NI through being better and more cost-effective (lower cost-base) than providers in other regions
  • Continually enhance skills and qualifications, with a focus on CIPR membership, CPD, Chartered Practitioner Status and company-funded training – training and development has been undertaken in the past year in Belfast, London, Manchester, New York
  • Be a great place to work so we can retain excellent staff, recruit exceptional new talent, and have a highly motivated workforce. As part of this, we introduced:
    • healthcare programme for all staff including dental, optical, and medical cover
    • company funding for therapy treatments including physiotherapy, acupuncture, chiropractic
    • company-funded face-to-face counselling / cognitive behavioural therapy for any team member who wishes
    • 24-hour advice and information line offering counselling, legal advice, health advice, wellbeing advice
    • personal accident and accidental death cover for all team members
    • free fresh fruit deliveries twice per week for all staff
    • upgraded coffee machine and coffee beans for free use by all team members, with regular deliveries from premium coffee roasters Baillies
    • company-funded social programme, managed by staff-nominated ‘Ministers of Fun’ with frequent company-funded nights out
    • Friday-versity programme of stimulating talks on Friday afternoons with beer and nibbles provided
    • increased our annual training and development budget by 50%.

A summary of commitment to CPD and professionalism:

  • We pay all team members’ professional memberships
  • We encourage and support all team members to undertake CPD
  • All 9 PR practitioners in the business are CIPR members and members of our digital team are members of CIM (one is CIM chartered)
  • All non-admin team are undertaking CPD (9 with CIPR)
  • All directors are Chartered PR Practitioners
  • We have successfully put 7 team members through CIPR Chartership – more than any other organisation in UK – and have another team member undertaking assessment on June 10 2020
  • Four of our team are CIPR Fellows
  • We hold Investors in People accreditation
  • All directors are member of the Institute of Directors
  • We are strongly committed to diversity – e.g. 50% of our directors and senior managers are female.

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

  • Won significant new account to be Flybe’s sole reactive PR agency covering the UK
  • Won a major new account to be the sole global PR agency for CDE, which has operations in 30 countries – e.g. one of our team members is just back from managing a major PR programme for CDE in the USA, coordinating activity in New York, Syracuse, Austin Texas, Los Angeles, Hawaii, and San Francisco
  • We managed a substantial programme of PR activity for one of the major exhibitors at Bauma, the world’s largest trade show, which took place in Munich in April 2019
  • We retained a contract with RICS for the 20th year and expanded our brief into other parts of the UK
  • We grew business with a major UK bank
  • We won six CIPR PRide Awards in 2018 (four Gold)
  • We won Outstanding PR Consultancy 2019, CIPR NI PRide Awards
  • We retained our Investors in People accreditation
  • Director Jane Wells was in CIPR’s 70 at 70 – a list of members who’ve made an outstanding contribution to the Institute and wider UK PR industry
  • MD Chris Harrison was the only PR agency representative to be invited to join the employer advisory board of Ulster University’s School of Communication. He was also the only PR consultant to be asked by the Cabinet Office to conduct a communications capability review of the UK government in NI
  • Record turnover and profitability in each of the past two years.

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

We were asked by CDE to manage its PR for the world’s biggest trade show, bauma in Munich in April 2019. bauma had 700 exhibitors from 63 countries and 620,000 visitors from over 200 countries, making it a highly competitive and congested media and comms space.

Objectives:

  • Maximise CDE’s profile with global trade media as the industry-leading innovator
  • Maximise positive widespread coverage of two key products being launched at bauma.

Strategy:

This included activity before, during and after bauma. It focused on telling the CDE story and the story of its two products being launched at bauma, the Combo and Intelligent Plant, in a creative way and in language that is accessible and easily understood, highlighting tangible benefits to customers. (CDE’s products are highly technical, niche pieces of washing equipment for quarrying and mining.)

Tactics:

  • Press releases written for, and attendance at, pre-bauma media event in January in Munich
  • Creating media launch events and media hospitality events at bauma in April
  • Inviting and encouraging hundreds of global journalists to attend the events (when they were getting bombarded by information and invites from thousands of other exhibitors)
  • Press release issued in advance of bauma with a special offer on CDE plant
  • Photographer in attendance at bauma taking shots for uses including to announce any deals done
  • Two highly successful press launches and a creative ‘Irish Night’ hospitality event to which all key media invited attended
  • Setting up interviews with key trade media
  • Significant follow-up with international media after the event to help secure coverage
  • Writing features and thought-leadership articles.

Outputs:

  • Coverage in titles from more than 40 countries
  • More than 100 hits in key trade media around the world
  • More than 40 journalists from key media attended the press previews, providing the opportunity for one-to-one engagement
  • Interviews secured with a range of important trade publications.

Outcomes:

  • CDE is well on target to secure its commercial objective from bauma
  • CDE built new and deep relationships with key trade media from around the world which is already reaping significant rewards in terms of further opportunities.