2020 Nordic PR Consultancies of the Year | PRovoke Media

2020 Nordic Consultancies of the Year

The 2020 EMEA PR Consultancies of the Year are the result of an exhaustive research process involving more than 200 submissions and meetings with the best PR firms across the UK, Europe the Middle East and Africa. Analysis of each of the finalists across 20 geographic and specialist categories can be accessed via the navigation menu to the right or below. Winners are unveiled at the 2020 EMEA SABRE Awards, which will be taking place virtually, with details forthcoming soon.

You can find the 2020 SABRE Awards EMEA winners here.

Winner: BCW (WPP)

BCW’s Swedish office was one of the stand-out performers of its Europe and Africa region in 2019, more than living up to the Nordics’ reputation for creativity and adding a network-beating 30% in fee income over the year, most of which came from organic growth. Clients such as Trygg-Hansa, Pricer and Tradera (Swedish eBay) were added to the roster, and the team won its first advertising pitch, beating incumbent DDB.

Marta Karlqvist, who had been leader of Cohn & Wolfe in Stockholm since 2010, took over the leadership of BCW’s Nordic region in July 2018. Elsewhere in the Nordics, BCW Finland embarked on a turnaround journey and closed 2019 with its first profit in quite some time. The agency also refreshed the leadership team in Norway in 2019 and has now embarked on turning that business around.

BCW’s Swedish office became one of the most-awarded agencies in a country dominated by independents, including its Pu:rest campaign for Carlsberg Sweden. There were also multiple gongs for the hard-hitting SABRE-nominated “Sound of Drowning” campaign for insurance company Trygg Hansa, which resulted in 70% of Swedes being aware of signs that someone is drowning, in a year when deaths from drowning in the country more than halved. — MPS


H&H Group (Independent)

The firm formerly known as Hallvarsson & Halvarsson had established itself as the Nordic region’s most formidable financial communications specialist before it was sold to Sage Holdings in 2009. It spent the next five years in a kind of purgatory before senior executives Martin Petersson, Anders Halvarsson, Johan Ramsten and Staffan Lindgren bought the business back in 2014 — but in the six years since then the businesses now known as H&H Group have expanded at a very healthy pace, reclaiming their place of prominence in the financial space while diversifying their portfolio through a string of acquisitions that have included creative PR specialist Jung Relations, Creo, Consilio, Involve, Tomorrow China, Identx and Springtime, along with the launch of two agencies — Savvy Design Collaborative and Axiom Insight.

Today, H&H aims to provide a home for entrepreneurs, while also supporting complex assignment with cross-agency teams. Fee income declined by around 5% to $52m, but the agency continues to work for a number of Sweden’s largest companies, including Atlas Copco, Astra Zeneca, Electrolux, Ericsson, Spotify and Scania, along with international names like Pernod Ricard, Burberry, Porsche, Starbucks and Google. 

Key leaders include Jung co-found Jonas Sevenius, Tomorrow China CEO Rogier Bikker, head of capital markets Helena Nordman Knutson, Consilio chairman Erik Belfrage and Axiom Insight chairman Lars-Göran Johansson. Campaign highlights included Jung’s ‘We Create History’ for Adidas, along with ’Calling all Fans’ and ‘The Main Sponsor Intern’ for Svenska Spel, all of which secured SABRE EMEA nominations. — AS

Narva (Independent) 

Narva — named after the Swedish army victory over a Russian force three times its size — has always embraced its positioning as a challenger brand initially within the financial communications space (from investor relations to IPOs and other transactions to annual and sustainability reporting) and more recently in the broader media relations, public affairs and CSR space (via the 2015 acquisition of consultancy Rewise) — and in the healthcare arena, where the firm bought Mix PR in 2012 and Heart three years later. In 2018 the firm was named Nordic Consultancy of the Year and Global Healthcare Agency of the Year, and continues to impress, growing 14% last year to $9.3m. 

Under the leadership of managing partners Daniel Bergsten and Johan Molander, Narva's performance reflects that its positioning is paying off. There were new assignments from Unilever, Bayer, Amgen, Schneider Electric and Saab, joining an existing client roster that features Amundi, KLM, Securitas, Novartis, Volvo, Henkel and WWF.In particular, Narva benefits from the market’s newfound focus on purpose, given its existing strength when it comes to integrating sustainability strategies with issues management, particularly in terms of the whole stakeholder landscape. The consultancy’s sustainability practice is led by Johan Säwensten and Johannes Zetterlund, while other senior leaders include Annika Sundström, partner and head of public affairs; Therese Lange, partner and head of health and life sciences; Staffan Bruzæus, partner and head of financial communications; Göran Hägglund, former minister of social affairs; and, Olle Axelsson, former SVP of communications at Volvo Cars.

Maintaining its tradition of innovation, meanwhile, the firm continues to lead across health, sustainability and transparency, while it has launched new data-driven platforms for sustainability data and climate scenario planning. Campaign highlights included ‘The Patients Parliament’ for Novartis, a new approach to public affairs and coalition building, along with ‘Put the Finger on Pain’ for Bayer. — AS