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Founded in 2013 by Cyrille Arcamone, MAARC’s rise owes much to its senior team’s impressive blend of international agency experience and independent agility and investment. Initially focusing on reputation, issues and crisis management, along with perception measurement across social networks and public affairs, Maarc has since expanded to include corporate media relations, training and internal comms, bolstered by strong monitoring/analysis capabilities. The latter features the Maarc Watch team of eight analysts, which examines the logic of influence and issues for institutions such as the French government and ministries, and companies like Airbnb, Mars and Cargill. Maarc’s change management expertise also stand out, straddling the growing convergence of crisis communication and human resource at a time of considerable workforce transformation.
2021 was something of a milestone year for Maarc, with the firm up 40% on a like-for-like basis to €2.8m. There was major new business from Pole employ, Action for the PA, Ministère de l'Economie, Cargill, all of the Mars units, Air Products, Cenexi and Celltrion, reflecting Maarc’s strengthened public affairs offering and depth in monitoring, reputation and press relations. Headcount also grew with the addition of 10 new consultants, working across a client roster that features the French Government Information Office, Airbnb, Sanofi, Mars Wrigley, GIFAM, Citeo, Business France, R’Green Invest, EM Lyon and 3M.
Arcamone’s leadership team features three associate directors who have each doubled their shareholding: Emilie Molinier-Ravage, Marianne Paul and Stanislas Barnett. The firm is committed to recruitment of disenfranchised people, in line with its Pole Emploi service contract and has also rached 50/50 salary and staff equity.
Arcamone is a board member of the French PR association SCRP, reflecting the firm’s industry contribution, which also includes the development of a new methodology for public speech and media training. In addition it has supported the Covidliste initiative with PR skills sponsorship for vaccination campaigns in France, and regularly produces thought leadership on various platforms. In addition to Covidliste, campaign highlights include national PR work for Airbnb’s efforts to restore heritage buildings, and supporting the closure of a Marriott hotel in Maarch, the latter of which called for sophisticated change management.
— Arun Sudhaman
Until the middle of 2021, Hill+Knowlton operated under two brands in France: one firm, under the H+K banner, was best known for its work in corporate communications and public affairs, while the other, RCPA, was a brand PR and influencer marketing specialist. The firm decided to bring them together under the leadership of Valerie Lecasble, a former journalist, who had joined H+K in 2019 after serving as director of Defense Information & Communication Delegation and spokesperson for the Ministry of Defense.
Hill+Knowlton’s French operations are headquartered in Paris, with reach through the agency network into Europe and around the world.
The merger of H+K and RPCA created a $10 million business in Paris with about 60 people, building on a business recovery that began with Lecasble’s appointment. On track for double-digit growth in 2022, the WPP agency now has enough critical mass for the firm to be able to compete not only with its multinational peers but also with the indigenous French agencies that continue to dominate the market. The firm has been investing in key sectors, including health, tech, energy and industrials. Growth came from both existing clients and new additions to the roster, which now includes the likes of Adobe, Ariston Thermo, Amazon, Ferrero, Qualcomm, StockX, Spectrum Brands, Sage, Johnson&Johnson, Wipro, NetApp, Kronenbourg, and P&G.
Much of Lecasble’s energy over the past 12 months has been devoted to bringing the two cultures of H+K and RPCA together while furthering the firm’s commitments to professional development and increased diversity and inclusion—and of course taking care of staff during the pandemic and subsequent return to the office. She is supported by two deputy MDs: Emmanuelle Veron, who previously led lifestyle offerings at RCPA, and Emeline Prioult, who previously worked at Edelman Elan.
Lecasble has been raising the profile of the Paris office, providing media commentary on politics and economics, most recently regarding the war in Ukraine and the French elections. Meanwhile, the firm has been producing some first-class work, managing PR, digital influence and reputation management for Oppo, increasing the brand’s share of voice in France by 10% over the past year; for P&G’s Braun brand, meanwhile, the firm has been working on 100th anniversary activities, offering influencers the chance to create their own Braun products; hotel company Accor. Meanwhile, is working with the firm as it seeks to rebuild business post-pandemic; and for Adobe, a new win, the firm will represent enterprise, creative, and marketing divisions, providing social media, digital influence and reputation support.
— Paul Holmes
Founded in 2010 by Céline Angelini, Marie-Antoinette’s 29-strong team is organized around 4 areas of expertise, including brand, corporate, and strategy. That was expanded last year with the launch of a new digital advocacy offering that develops three levels of activation on such platforms as LinkedIn. It is an approach that reflects Marie-Antoinette’s willingness to challenge established business norms, perhaps in a manner reminiscent of the Queen with which the agency shares its name.
The firm grew 12% in 2021 to €3.2m, bolstered by new business from Lego, Hello Fresh, Marks & Spencer, Club Med, Carmila and Seedlip, which join such existing clients as Deliveroo, Pinterest, Marine Harvest Group, Biocoop, Fnac Darty, Sennheiser, Danone, Happn and Groupe Bonduelle.
Angelini is supported by Marine Guilleminot, Elodie Balsamo and Alvina Tissandier, who oversee brand, corporate and strategy, respectively. The firm’s investment in training and CSR has not missed a beat despite the pandemic, and includes an ‘actors of trust’ programme that reinforces an open and transparent feedback culture. There is a focus on youth recruitment, along with the appointment of a sexual harassment and gender-based violence referent at the firm. Marie-Antoinette’s pay gap currently stands at 2.3%, and the firm has devoted €35k to training all of its staff.
CSR stands at the heart of Marie-Antoinette’s strategy, illustrated by its ‘actors of trust’ programme and reflected by its ability to secure the TOUMAÏ label. Campaign highlights included a successful promotional initiative for Deliveroo, and Lego’s campaign to fight gender stereotypes.
— Arun Sudhaman
Monet’s positioning reflects its focus on creating engagement, which has helped it develop into one of France’s leading PR firms, with almost 100 staffers focusing on healthcare, kids/toys, food and tourism — underpinned by particularly strong expertise in content, influence, social media and data/analytics. Capabilities are set to expand with the addition of an internal tool that boosts the firm’s measurement capabilities, reflecting Monet’s approach to 360 degree communication.
Headquartered in Paris, the firm operates three further offices in Lyon, Nantes and Bordeaux.
Monet’s impressive progress, which saw 10% growth in 2020, reached another level in 2021, when it surged by 33% to reach the €10m barrier, marking it out as surely one of France’s fastest-growing agencies. There was an impressive new business haul that included Nestlé, Eckes Granini, Mattel, Yamaha, Engie, Merck, Savencia, Danone, Energizer, Aldi, New Balance, joining an existing roster that features Casio, Bosch, Siemens, Bayer, Bouygues, Nokia, Roche, Pilot, Vicat, and Merck.
Founder Julian Monet continues to serve as CEO of a team that has grown considerable over the past couple of years. Key arrivals during the year included strategic planner Raphaële Blot and Bordeaux office director Pierre-François Bourjalliat.
The firm is currently readying the launch of a internal tool that will help it measure KPIs across media relations, influence and social media — reflecting its capabilities in terms of data, media intelligence and branded content. In terms of campaigns, highlights include the launch of Vital Proteins in France.
— Arun Sudhaman
The world’s second largest public relations agency, Weber Shandwick has been a force in EMEA since its formation 20 years ago. The firm is equally well known for its work in brand-building and corporate reputation management and public affairs, has strength in both the healthcare and technology sectors, and has made substantial acquisitions in the digital space, establishing itself as a leader in that arena.
From its headquarters in Paris, Weber Shandwick France has access to the extensive regional and global resources of its parent company.
While smaller than Weber Shandwick’s powerhouse operations in the UK, Germany, and the Middle East, the French operation was a significant contributor to growth in 2021, with fee income up by 19%. And that was no one-off, since the firm has grown by almost 65% over the past three years, under the leadership of Eloi Asseline, previously with Lewis and M&C Saatchi. New business in 2021 came from clients such as Lilly, Nespresso and Purina, while the firm’s major French clients remain Nestle and Nestle Waters.
Under Asseline’s leadership, the firm has grown from around 25 people to more than 45, with a strong senior team including head of strategic planning Jean Paoli, head of brand marketing Emilie Barrail, head of corporate and crisis Katerina Haggioannou, head of digital Lauriane Durand. Across EMEA, there has been an increased emphasis on DE&I, with new regional leadership, while Weber Shandwick’s global “Juice” approach to flexible working has been helpful during the return to the office of the past few months.
Last year saw the French operation add new dimensions to its creative work with the expansion of digital media agency Flipside to Paris (helmed by Ross Gilman) and the launch of a new public affairs offering. Creatively, the firm supported “The Bread Exam,” an initiative of the British Islamic Medical Association, which tackled cultural taboos relating to intimate parts of the body by using bread to show women how to conduct self-examination. The firm also helped Lilly mark “pink October” by creating “Les Notices Roses,” new versions of traditional medical leaflets but featuring only positive side-effects.
— Paul Holmes
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