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

2015 Iberian 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.

Iberian Consultancy of the Year — Lift World (Portugal/Independent)

Lift World’s rise started in December 1993 with two people in the heart of Lisbon. These days, Lift World is comprised of eight integrated and multidisciplinary companies specialized in key areas of marketing and communication services: Lift Consulting, Leadwide Consulting, High, More, WOM, Plus and BrandCook. This network exists across the company’s HQ in Lisbon, as well as in Porto, Madrid, Luanda, as well as in Greece and Mexico. The company is also associate partners of international networks: Reputation Institute and TheNetworkOne.

In 2014, fee income was €5.2m which represents 6.5% growth over the previous year. This growth was fueled by big name clients, including: Toshiba, Microsoft, AstraZeneca, Fidelity, Staples, BIC, Pernod Ricard, Maybelline and South African Tourism. CEO Salvador da Cunha’s deep experience includes corporate communications, financial communications and crisis management. Beyond this, the firm’s expertise includes consumer marketing across various sectors.

Among its notable work in 2014, Garnier Ambre Solaire decided to raise skin cancer prevention awareness in Portugal. Believing that sun exposure educating should start in start at childhood, the strategy focused on children as the main target. The team launched “Healthy Sun Time” – a campaign that impacted half a million children in its first cycle of basic education. Garnier also held a contest for schools to design a sundial made of recycled materials. It ultimately resulted in strong media coverage and awareness. — AaS


Apple Tree Communications (Spain/Independent)

When Carme Miró, Kirsty Brown and Olivia Walsh launched their own public relations consultancy in July of 2003, they chose the apple tree as their brand because it is constantly bearing new fruit, and they wanted to communicate to the market that this was a firm that would constantly generate new ideas for its clients.

The three had met at Cluster Consulting, a strategic consulting firm specializing in the technology and telecommunications sectors, and sought to combine the big strategic thinking of a consulting firm with the creativity that is the hallmark of many marketing and PR firms in other markets, but which was thought to be in short supply in Spain. It has since supplemented that approach with an integrated offer that includes event production and social media expertise.

The firm’s clients are a blend of market leaders and challenger brands and include Audi (the firm handled the A6 launch in Spain), Authentic Caribbean Rum, BMW, Emirates, FC Barcelona, FDI (for World Oral Health Day), Ftibit, Google, GSMA (managing the Mobile World Congress), taxi app Hailo, Novartis, SEAT, Spotify, and single malt The Glenrothes. The firm’s financial performance last year was impressive, with fees up by 18% percent to €8m, and the work was equally inspiring, with diabetes education efforts on behalf of Novartis, the launch of Fitbit in Spain, and travel marketing for Grandvalira all nominated for EMEA region SABRE Awards.—PH


A full-service firm, the former Inforpress has stood out in the Spanish market because of its willingness to innovate in the corporate realm (the firm is a thought leader in employee communications, crisis management, and corporate social responsibility) or in the creative space (it has been among the leaders in developing digital and social, content creation and paid media capabilities).

Now Atrevia—a name it adopted early in 2015—the firm saw fees increase by 6.5% last year against the backdrop of a still-troubled Spanish economy (helped in part by its recent expansion into Latin American markets) and ended 2014 with fees a little over €13.5m.

Clients include 3M, Oracle, Fundación Telefónica, Baxter, ISS, Ricoh, Lilly, Twitter, Starbucks, BP, BBVA, and California Walnuts, and the leadership team remains stable, with founder Núria Vilanova supported by CEO Asunción Soriano, Barcelona office manager Isabel Grifoll, Madrid GM Isabel Lara, and Ana Margarida Ximenes, country manager for Portugal—all of whom have been with the firm for at least a decade. Atrevia has gained recognition over the past 12 months for its employee publications on behalf of Astellas Pharma; its internal communications work for ADECCO; its healthcare marketing work, “Stop Carterismo,” for CCP Espana.— PH

Burson-Marsteller (WPP)

In a market where the multinationals tend to lag the local giants, Burson-Marsteller is among the largest in the former category, with a team of 60. But in punches above its weight in several categories. It is well regarded, ranking number one in awareness according the PR Scope study conducted by Grupo Consultores, and beating the industry average for client retention. It plays a leadership role in the market, with president Carmen Valera serving on the executive board of Amcham Spain and of the Serer Foundation. And it produces some stellar creative work, including SABRE-nominated campaigns for local ridesharing service Blablacar, which had to overcome regulatory and consumer hurdles to make it big, and for Brewers of Spain, for which BM forged a partnership with the SIN Riders motorcycle club that toured the country talking about its love for alcohol-free beer.

The firm also picked up new assignments from MasterCard (media and influencer relations, social media and crisis communications) and the Spanish Egg Industry Association (beating out four ad agencies to lead the brand work); advised Apollo on its acquisition of a portfolio from government-owned financial institution Sareb; expanded its relationship with Carrefour to include sponsorship of the Tour of Spain; and concluded a three-year corporate positioning project for fashion and fragrance company Puig.— PH

Llorente & Cuenca

Founded two decades ago, Llorente & Cuenca is probably still best known for its work in financial communications (including mergers and acquisitions) but also boasts considerable expertise in corporate communications; issues management and public affairs; marketing; industrial development; community affairs; media relations; and most recently social media.

It has grown from a single office in Madrid to a network of offices in 11 countries throughout the Latin world, with 350 professionals under the leadership of co-founder José Antonio Llorente generating fee income of €24.4m, up by 12.5% last year. Key clients include major multinationals such as Coca-Cola, Repsol, Gas Natural Fenosa, Embratur, CaixaBank, BUPA Sanitas, Inditex, Organización Cisneros, Panasonic, SABMiller, Mercadona, Grupo Catalana Occidente, Sacyr, Telefónica, Abbott, Bertelsmann, Sonae Sierra, Grupo El Comercio, Barrick and Kellogg’s, while new business in Spain and Portugal included work for Volkswagen, Novartis, Merck, Cepsa, Endesa and more.

Over the past year, L&C has advised on some of the most significant transactions in Spain in 2014, including the purchase of Ono by Vodafone, and the takeover of Barclays’ local business by CaixaBank. It also earned SABRE nominations for its work with Coca-Cola, L’Oreal, Schneider Electric and Volkswagen. The firm has also been developing an impressive track record in thought leadership, with the development of d+i, a data and analytics group focused on major trends and issues.— PH