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Trigger was launched in 2010 by founder and managing director Preben Carlsen, a thirtysomething former IKEA communication manager, and made quite an impact over its first decade, becoming the biggest SABRE Awards winner in Norway and being named both Nordic Consultancy of the Year and Creative Consultancy of the Year by this publication. Remarkably, Trigger Has been named Norway's PR-agency of the Year six out of eight years since the award was firm presented (by the publication Byråprofil) in 2014.
Trigger is headquartered in the Norwegian capital of Oslo.
Trigger has a team of 40 advisors after revenue grew by about 40% over 2020 levels, after expanding its portfolio to take on new work in the technology, retail and cultural realms. New business successes included Polestar, The National Museum Art, and grocery chain KIWI (largest advertiser in Norway), and Hello Fresh, which joined an impressive roster that already includes the likes of Samsung, Visit Norway / Innovation Norway and The Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs.
From its inception, and now under the leadership of CEO, Bente Kvam Kristoffersen, Trigger has been a values-driven business, whicg means the firm is selective about the clients it represents and often turns away businesses that don’t fit its underlying vision and philosophy. Last year saw the addition of several new creative and strategic talents from different sectors: the firm doesn’t recruit extensively from other agencies, preferring to source talent from related fields such as journalism, design, strategic consulting—and from the client side of the business. The firm enjoys close relationships with Norwegian schools and universities and a robust internship and training program.
Trigger has always taken a unique approach to PR planning, inviting the target audicnec to participate in the communication—helping to spread the messaging virally and creating a stronger and longer-lasting bond between organization and audience. This year, the firm was once again nominated for eight EMEA SABRE Awards, more than any other agency of comparable size—indeed, more than many global agencies. The nominations recognized the firm’s stellar creative work in the travel and tourism sector (“Chiefs of fun” for Destination Trysil; “The drawer proof strategy,” “Norway wins the Space race,” and “13000 reasons to visit Northern Norway” for Visit Norway); in the cultural realm (“Art is coming home” for The National museum of art, design & architecture); as well as its purpose driven and not-for-profit work (“No more secrets” for sportswear brand Kari Traa, and “The hate with no name” for the Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth & Family Affairs); and in the issues management arena (“The vaccine campaign: Do it for yourself” for Oslo Municipality.”
— Paul Holmes
H&H Group has its roots in advisory firm H&H, which was founded in 1995. The agency was sold to DF King Worldwide in 2008, with a 2014 MBO by Johan Ramsten, Martin Petersson, Anders Halvarsson and Staffan Lindgren to create a group that now includes some 60 partners. That includes the December 2021 acquisition of data/tech/AI marketing firm Nordic Morning, which joins such other players as Springtime-Intellecta (financial & content), Jung Relations (creative), Consilio (geopolitics), Bysted (financial), and Comprend (digital corporate)
The group is primarily active in Sweden but also maintains a reasonable UK presence.
Fee income reached US$50m in 2021, reflecting growth of around 8%, underpinned by increasing collaboration across the group’s different entities. Key clients include Ericsson, Spotify, Klarna, Atlas Copco, Assa Abloy, Google, H&M, TetraPak and Scania.
Aside from the group owners, key figures include Jung co-founder Jonas Sevenius, Consilio chairman and former Swedish deputy PM Jan Nygren, CEO Anna Grönlund Krantz, newly-arrived Comprend CEO Johanna Fagrell Köhler. H&H established an equality group as long ago as 2007, which was superseded by a new entity in 2018.
Campaign highlights included Storytel’s interactive annual/sustainability report, social media work for Porsche, and Spotify’s Lullabies Bedtime Project.
— Arun Sudhaman
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— and in the healthcare arena, particularly life sciences. A new team combines the firm’s sustainability and planning skills, enhancing its insight and analysis and supporting its credentials as a leading strategic advisor in the ESG space.
The firm works throughout the Nordics from its Stockholm HQ.
Narva reached record revenues of US$12m in 2021, reflecting 10% growth, with particularly strong expansion from life sciences and sustainability. New clients included BD, Tobii, Autoliv, Hexagon, Happy Socks, Hemnet, E.on and Fagerhult Group, joining existing clients such as Unilever, Schneider Electric, Chiesi, Amgen, SAS, Moderna, Novartis, Sandvik Group, Scueritas and Assa Abloy. Narva has handled the pandemic far better than many of its domestic rivals, thanks to a broad offering that has helped it adapt to changing market demands.
Last year saw founders Daniel Bergsten and Johan Molander step down, and the leadership reins handed over to new CEO Frida Dahlgren, who had spent the previous decade at Prime Weber Shandwick. Johannes Zetterlund became deputy CEO, supported by head of team insight Johan Gomez de la Torre, and business development head Johan Säwensten. D&I specialist Amanda Oxell also arrived, as Narva rolled out a rigorous gender equality plan that covers working conditions, parenthood, harassment, recruitment and equal pay. The firm’s annual salary analysis has found no structural discrimination, while the Narva Academy focuses on diversity, inclusion and representation. There were no layoffs and neither did Narva accept government assistance during the pandemic.
The firm continues to maintain a high level of agency comms and marketing, including analysis of annual and sustainability reports from listed companies Sweden and four other major markets around the world. Other thought leadership initiatives focused on life sciences, climate change and sustainability. Campaign highlights included building awareness for SEB, the Dove self esteem project for Unilever, and the ongoing Patient Parliament for Novartis.
— Arun Sudhaman
Chairman Johan Wetterqvist and CEO Axel Lagerbielk have seen Spotlight grow year after year since launching the Stockholm firm in 2005. At that time, Spotlight offered a new take on PR, one that puts driving business results for clients at the center of its work. That approach encompasses the firm’s strengths across technology, consumer, creative, digital marketing and thought leadership, including a Spotlight Scorecard that measures the firm’s work on three levels: output, brand effect and business impact.
Spotlight PR is based in Stockholm, Sweden.
2021 was Spotlight’s best ever year since its founding, with 20% growth to €3.6m, from its 30 staffers. There was a strong new business haul from Geotab, Medallia, Jabra, Netatmo, Endava, Transcom, Movestic, 3 Step IT, Mangold, and Sweco, joining a client roster that already featured Coca-Cola, Adobe, Citrix, Eaton, Emirates, Qlik, Weight Watchers, Cointreau, Campari and Ranstad.
Camaraderie has always been core to Spotlight’s culture, and the sense of community that comes with that was never more important than during the pandemic. Spotlight’s leaders implemented a variety of means to keep its team unified, and also expanded with a series of key hires, including team leaders Åsa Hart from Signalisten and Aron Samuelsson from Telenor. An equal gender split is reinforced by complete pay equity.
While media relations is still at the heart of Spotlight’s work, the agency has expanded into thought leadership and integrated campaigns to keep pace with client needs. Campaign highlights included a sustainability effort for Coca-Cola, noted for its measurement component, and thought leadership work for Bjurfors.
— Arun Sudhaman
Weber Shandwick acquired Swedish public relations firm Prime and its business intelligence arm United Minds in May of 2014. In addition to providing Weber Shandwick with a market leading presence in the Swedish market, the deal provided the global IPG-owned agency with access to Prime’s award-winning creativity and gave Prime an international reach for its strategic thinking. Since that time, the deal has shown itself to be among the smartest acquisitions in an industry where mergers often fail, with Prime executives taking on senior EMEA and global leadership roles at the parent company and United Minds expanding its consulting approach to the US.
Prime Weber Shandwick and United Minds are headquartered in Stockholm, with an office in Malmo, and have access to the regional and global capabilities of Weber Shandwick.
In a year of leadership transition, Weber Shandwick’s EMEA operations nevertheless delivered mid-single digit growth, with strong secondary performance metrics: double-digit growth among larger clients and strong retention among the top 50. Prime, meanwhile, added local clients such as Polisen, the Swedish police authority; outdoor products manufacturer Husqvarna; and pulp and paper manufacturer BillerudKorsnäs. They join a roster of existing clients that includes Ericsson, McDonald’s and INGKA, the holding company that controls most IKEA stores.
Weber Shandwick’s global “Juice” approach to flexible working—one of the first public declarations in the business—has been helpful during the return to the office of the past few months, and fits well with Prime’s existing culture. Meanwhile, homegrown talent continued to flourish within the larger Weber Shandwick universe, with Charlotte Witte, previously head of marketing communications at Prime, taking on a new role as chief client and growth officer for EMEA, while former Prime creative guru Tom Beckman is the global agency’s chief creative officer. Prime itself got fresh leadership in 2021 with the promotion of 10-year veteran Malin Severin as chief executive. Other additions included Carl Jannerfeldt, who joined as executive creative director after a year with various US ad agencies, most recently R/GA; Malin Ljung Eiborn as head of sustainability; and Russell Mattinson as head of digital.
As always, Prime produced some of Weber Shandwick’s most impressive creative work, including the development of a new game “Dictator of Sweden” to educate on the choices that lead to democracy or authoritarianism for the group Civil Rights Defenders—the game was recognized as one of the best of the year. Elsewhere, the firm won multiple awards for Felix: The Climate Store, a pop-up supermarket that helped the food company communicate its sustainability credentials by demonstrating how easy it is to make climate-friendly choices when products are clearly labelled with their respective carbon footprints. It also worked with GSK’s Sensodyne brand to shift messaging away from pain toward pleasure: highlighting the things that people with sensitive teeth were missing out on and offering a way to enjoy those things again.
— Paul Holmes
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