Benelux PR Consultancies of the Year, EMEA 2015 | Holmes Report

2015 Benelux Consultancies of the Year

Our 2015 EMEA PR Consultancies of the Year are the result of an exhaustive research process involving more than 150 submissions and 100 face-to-face meetings with the best PR firms across the region.

Winners received their trophies at the EMEA SABRE Awards in London on 19 May. Analysis of all Winners and Finalists across 20 categories can be accessed via the navigation menu to the right or below.

Benelux Consultancy of the Year — Havana Orange (Netherlands/Indepedendent)

Havana Orange has built its PR agency around the idea of community — bloggers, journalists, celebs, tweeps, experts and scientists, anyone who can effectively reach an audience. This broad thinking has won Havana Orange an exceptionally strong roster of clients including: TomTom, Pernod Ricard, Bosch Siemens Home Appliances, KAZAM, Kodak Phones and F-Secure.

Havana Orange has managed to modernize its PR services while still retaining a core that’s anchored in classic communications. Walking this tightrope has brought Havana Orange credibility across the paid, earned, owned and shared spectrum.   

Gross income is up just past €1m and total headcount is 20 across offices in the Netherlands, Belgium, Finland and Germany. Co-founders Rick van de Weg and Jacob-Jan Esmeijer continue to helm the firm as it nears its six year mark, alongside managing partners Robin Middel and new hires Carsten Bickhoff and Stefan Ehgartner. Havana Orange positions itself at the intersection of lifestyle and tech. In 2014 the firm also started Havana Blue, a subsidiary completely focused on the maritime sector. Havana Blue is part of the Navigate PR global network of maritime communications agencies.

Notable work includes launching the world thinnest smartphone for KAZAM — a revolutionary product from a fairly unknown brand. Havana Orange seeded rumors about the product at the consumer electronic fair IFA Berlin 2014. From there, the firm organized a press tour, tapping into its network within the smartphone and electronic media. The effort also included a collaboration with channel partners to create large banners hung on the outside wall of big stores, as well as print commercials.

For Onapsis, Havana Orange explained the benefits of video distribution and monetization to broadcasters, companies and publishers. The team successfully placed news, case studies and interviews in publications read by Onapsis’ target audience in a short amount of time. — AaS


Het PR Bureau (Netherlands/Independent)

Het PR Bureau has an insightful proposition — to create chain-reacting stories that connect people with brands. How these connections happen, however, is constantly changing so Het’s network includes a broad range of entrepreneurs, journalists, bloggers, social influencers, artists and others.

Founders Jacqueline Bosselaar and Marnix Geus lead the 10-year-old firm with offices in Amsterdam and Antwerp. In 2014, they oversaw 20% growth resulting in €3.4m in fee income. Key clients include Vodafone, Spotify, International Card Services, Unilever, Heineken and PepsiCo.

Esther Leloux, strategy director, and Sid de Koning, creative technology director, oversee the work across the firm’s practice area: tech, media and entertainment . Example of this include handling the huge amount of media interest in Spotify’s digital music offering and generating results around AXE’s female fragrance tapping into bloggers, vloggers and artists. — AaS

Whyte Corporate Affairs

Some Brussels firms focus on the EU public policy agenda, others target the Belgian consumer market, but since its founding in 2008, Whyte Corporate Affairs has focused on providing stakeholder engagement counsel to corporate clients with EMEA headquarters or operations in the Belgian capital, providing insight into the Belgian media, political, corporate, social and academic landscape.

The firm has 23 people—including founding partners Sandrine Agie, Joris Bulteel, Eveline De Ridder, and Emmanuel Goedseels—generating fee income of around €3.14m, up by 6%  last year. Clients include Anheuser-Busch InBev, IKEA, Thalys International, Saab Aeronautics, Dexia Holding, Danone, Brussels Airport, and Holcim. New clients last year included BASF, Monsanto, Nutricia, and Renault Automotive. The firm has won awards for crisis communications on behalf of Anheuser-Busch InBev, and other recent highlights included serving as lead agency for the corporate communication in four markets (Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands) for Thalys International and issues management for Renault following an allegedly sexist Facebook ad.— PH