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As soon as it launched in October 2018, it was clear that Blurred was something a bit special. The agency set up by former Unity co-founder Nik Govier, alongside former Weber Shandwick strategy and creative director Stuart Lambert and ex-Unity and Brands2Life director Katy Stolliday, recognizes the increasingly blurred lines between marketing and consulting disciplines, and is equally as strong on strategic and corporate consultancy as creative work.
Blurred’s fee income for its first full year of operation was over £1.1 million, with revenue coming from an enviable list of high-value accounts for a new agency, including luxury brand house LVMH Paris, Marriot International, The Coca-Cola Company, BT Group, UBS and Grundig, among other household names. The scope of work for these clients reaches well beyond traditional PR, including management consultancy, creative campaign development, employee engagement, crisis consultancy, ESG and purposeful business consulting and large-scale change management.
Key hires over the year brought the core team to 11, including former Vodafone corporate affairs lead and sustainability specialist Matt Peacock, who has enabled the agency to step up its consultancy around purposeful business, and live up to its promise of only working with brands that are working towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The team combines its permanent team with members of its experienced, specialist consulting and creative cohorts who come from varied backgrounds including government, FTSE boardrooms and sustainability experts, as well as the worlds of music, digital culture, and photography, with the likes of Rankin among its partners. — MPS
In September, 2018, Peppercomm co-founder and CEO Ed Moed left the agency after 24 years to start a new venture — an affiliate agency called Hot Paper Lantern — with Ted Birkhahn, a 20-year Peppercomm vet who had most recently served as president. The idea: launch a thoroughly modern agency designed to help brands thrive in a digital economic. The opportunity: be a well-rounded client partner with a model that integrates strategy, technology, communications and culture – all with the goal of creating, telling and measuring the impact of brands’ stories.
Brand marketing and communications is at the heart of HPL, whose ultimate goal is to help clients craft compelling messages, design the best experiences and tell their stories through the channels that have the greatest impact on their audiences. The agency, however, goes beyond those core competencies to shepherd brands in the throes of change. The firm provides business consulting, working closely with clients to further their understanding of the intersection of business and brand transformation. When it comes to technology, HPL uses tools to unlock new ideas, drive innovation and deliver results.
Since its launch, HPL has grown its revenue to $9.1m and its headcount to 38 full-timers. The growth in part down to the addition of new clients in 2019 including XPO Logistics, Trade Fan, Toptal, Windsor Vineyards and Cysurance. The lift in revenue is also due to expanding services for existing clients Facebook and Saint-Gobain. The year also saw the launch of HPL Digital Sport, a specialty practice for digital and fantasy sports clients, and the HPL Fantasy Sports Loyalty Index, which surveyed more than 1,000 daily fantasy bettors measuring their loyalty to the top daily fantasy sports websites . The firm also launched the HPL Crisis Response Index, a body of research that analyzed how 80 companies communicated during a significant crisis event, showing how the timing, tenor and quality of a company's response is directly linked to the performance of its stock price over the short-and long-term. — DM
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