2024 Technology Consultancies of the Year | PRovoke Media

2024 Technology Consultancies of the Year

The 2024 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 Winners and finalists across 20 geographic and specialist categories can be accessed via the navigation menu to the right or below. Winners are unveiled at the 2024 EMEA SABRE Awards, which take place in London on 17 April. Tickets and tables are available here.

You can find the 2024 SABRE Awards EMEA finalists here.

Finalists

AxiCom (WPP)

aoy-backstory-iconBackstory

In a year where the tech economy had its biggest downturn for more than a decade and specialist PR agencies were navigating very choppy waters, AxiCom and its team of self-proclaimed pirates, led by swashbuckling European president Kate Stevens, won the sector’s biggest treasure: the coveted AMD account, previously held by Edelman. At a minimum of $7m in fees, it was the biggest global technology pitch for two years and a major proof point that the transformation of a small specialist agency into a global communications force for tech companies and brands with a tech story was complete. AxiCom’s mission is to combine technical expertise with data, insights, emotional intelligence and creativity to earn brands a place in business and culture, as well as helping its clients solve grand problems to advance business, people, and society. As well as expanding its creative, digital and content capabilities in 2023, the agency rolled out the Axis – a new way to pitch and think about clients and their goals. 

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In Europe, AxiCom has 120 employees in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden. It also has US offices in San Francisco, Austin and New York.

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After increasing revenue by 13% last year, it was a year of scale rather than growth for AxiCom, which still grew revenue by mid-single digits in 2023 across all its offices despite the challenging market. As well as winning the marquee AMD account after an eight-month pitch process, AxiCom picked up work from the likes of Lavazza, Talk Talk, Outbrain, Capgemini and Razer. These joined Sage, Orange, Kantar, OnePlus, Equinix, Whirlpool, Proofpoint, Juniper Networks, Experian and AWS on the agency’s client roster. 

aoy-people-iconPeople & Culture

Last year the agency launched the AxiCom Culture Council, made up of employees across its global network to drive culture and DEI efforts, which include CultureAmp, global performance management platform to tackle bias using 360-degree feedback. The agency also has access to sister agency BCW’s Destination Diversity inclusion programme. The agency increased the number of mental health allies and added to its benefits package, including broadband subsidies, lunch vouchers, extending the £600 health and fitness benefit to general wellbeing. AxiCom swapped its sector teams model for a matrix structure to increase collaboration. It introduced the AxiManagers group to give line managers a greater say in the business and ways of working, appointed a social team to bring everyone together, ran AxiIntel learning sessions featuring senior execs from Microsoft and Adobe, and hired a European HR manager. The agency also maintained ‘Brake Day’: a day for employees to focus on themselves in honour of former European CEO, Henry Brake, who died suddenly in 2020. Stevens is supported by a team that includes UK MD Rosie Bannister, whose role expanded in 2023 to include global head of growth and marketing, and key hires included European content director Joff Sumner, tasked with building a creative studio after 12 years at Red. 

aoy-leadership-iconThought Leadership & Work

AxiCom kicked off its work for AMD with a global storytelling campaign around the semiconductor giant’s ‘Advancing AI’ event, which led to 155 English language articles in 36 hours, including in the FT and Tech Radar. AMD's market cap jumped $20 billion in the aftermath. The team also set up a multi-country agency network for Sage – the agency’s big win of 2022 –  which was struggling with message and campaign activation consistency. Three weeks later, the eight agency teams had completed their first global campaign together and Sage continues to benefit from the approach. To position Kantar ComTech as a leading provider of consumer data in the mobile, music and video space, AxiCom developed quarterly quick-response media commentary content packages and launched Entertainment-on-Demand research showing that the cost-of-living crisis was leading to cancelled subscriptions. The story had blanket coverage and was one of the BBC’s most read news stories of the day. AxiCom also dramatically changed how Experian CEO Kai Kalchthaler was being positioned, helping him get thousands of LinkedIn impressions. 

Maja Pawinska Sims


Brands2Life (Paritee) 

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Brands2Life, recently acquired by Nordic holding group Paritee, has grown with remarkable consistency since it was founded by Giles Fraser and Sarah Scales 23 years ago, and has also evolved, from a technology public relations specialist into “the agency for the brands transforming our world,” which has allowed the firm to take on a broader array of consumer and business-to-business clients. There is in-depth expertise in AI, cleantech, fintech, healthtech, and online leaders, supplemented by specialisms in business services, energy, financial services, health & well-being and retail & leisure — all of which revolve around the ‘better stories, bigger impact’ approach. A sophisticated digital practice, furthermore, delivers truly integrated services—social, influencer, creative content and public affairs—to most of its largest clients. Just as important, though, are the communications strategy and organisational re-engineering capabilities that mean B2L operates higher on the value chain than most of its tech-focused peers. 

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Brands2Life is a UK-based agency with 200 people across key markets London, San Francisco, New York, and Minneapolis..

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In a tough environment for tech agencies, Brands2Life’s fee income was effectively flat at $28m, although there was $3.9m in new and organic business, including ESET, Epic Games, Lacework, Hoxton Farms and Pragmatic. The launch of new services, such as full-funnel marketing, SEO, health advocacy and brand identity helped, as did further investment in social, influencer, creative content and public affairs, with each of these teams growing substantially. Key existing clients include CooperVision, Experian, Hologic, LinkedIn, Qlik, Russell Reynolds, Sitecore, Tetra Pak, Vodafone and Broadcom/VMware.

aoy-people-iconPeople & Culture

Key hires included corporate and purpose MD Carolyn Irvin and consumer creative director Julian Cirrone. Brands2Life’s commitment to employee culture remains market-leading, across career progression, salaries, rewards and benefits, mental health, and menopause support. The firm has also demonstrated a significant commitment to diversity and inclusion, with 19% of the staff coming from non-white backgrounds, up from 16% in 2022, and a board that is 60% female. There are numerous initiatives aimed at enhancing DEI, including an annual neurodiversity month, and inclusive recruitment training for all hiring managers. 

aoy-leadership-iconThought Leadership & Work

There were eight thought leadership reports over the past 12 months, focusing on such areas as gen AI, integrated SEO, health tech trends and full funnel marketing, along with seven events — featuring the popular Tech Trends forum. Campaign highlights include Experian's Support Hub, Pragmatic's shaping of the UK political & economic landscape, and Hologic's initiative to improve women's health.

Arun Sudhaman

Fight or Flight (Independent)

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Our 2022 New Consultancy of the Year, London’s Fight or Flight is a boutique B2B PR agency whose founders — Charlie Meredith-Hardy, David Woodward and Joe Walton — spent a combined 32 years at Weber Shandwick before launching the firm in April 2020. Their goal in doing so: disrupt a B2B market dominated by boring product stories, whitepapers, and webinars at a time when B2B brands fight for attention in the same crowded space as consumer brands. Fight or Flight’s owned, earned and social campaigns are designed to enable B2B brands to compete, while turning heads and making headlines.

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Fight or Flight is based in London and has a US operation.

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2023 was a transformational year for Fight or Flight, which moved from start-up mode into the next stage of growth. With a high win rate, and organic growth, the agency’s fee income rose an impressive 33% to £4.5 million. Much of the firm’s success is tied to two core areas of expertise — creating B2B campaigns that attract mainstream attention and the delivery of multilanguage PR programs across Europe. The agency won new briefs from top B2B brands including AMEX, Expedia, NetApp, and Deel. The firm also saw growth from the US operation it launched at the end of 2022, with Tim Fry, Emma Hedges and Dan Bird at the helm. In its first full year of operations, Fight or Flight’s US arm grew headcount to 10 full time staff, contributed 25% of total agency revenues and won assignments with big B2B brands Avalara, Expedia and Salesforce.

aoy-people-iconPeople & Culture

Fight or Flight is led by founders and ex-Weber Shandwick directors Charlie Meredith-Hardy, Joe Walton and David Woodward, as well as Tim Fry, a former global tech practice lead at Weber, to chair its US operations. Senior hires in 2023 include former Weber and Current Global executive VP Emma Hedges to run its New York operation, former Instinctif deputy MD Tali Kramer as senior director and associate director Jamie McNicholas from broadcast agency Markettiers. Fight or Flight is commitment to hybrid and flexible working. Employees are asked to physically work in the office just twice per week.  All employees are provided with a 12-month subscription to Headspace meditation app, UK and US private medical insurance including mental health coverage, a 24/7 as well as access to mental health advice and coaching on the Ihasco training platform. Fight or Flight publishes its diversity numbers on its website to hold the leadership team accountable. As of January 2024, 23% of Fight or Flight’s workforce is from a minority ethnic background (up 7% YOY); women make up 50% of the agency’s leadership team; and 12.5% of its leadership team is from an ethnic minority background.

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Fight or Flight’s work shows that creativity in B2B PR works.  At the start of 2023, Fight or Flight launched a podcast, “Accounts Deceivable,” for accounting software company Medius, complete with true-crime style and storytelling, as well as an influencer strategy. The podcast was downloaded 80,000 times, with a 94% listen completion rate. When the firm was charged with promoting Roland DG’s new TrueVIS printer — which can print more than 50 different orange hues — it created a redhead-themed look book and a research report celebrating “Fifty Shades of Ginger” fronted by Jenny Ryan from The Chase. The campaign secured more than 50 pieces of coverage, including a slot on Good Morning Britain plus hits in The Sun, Daily Mirror and Daily Star and delivered a whopping 196% spike in organic search traffic. 

Diana Marszalek

WE Communications (Independent)

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Founded 40 years, WE Communications has grown to become one of the world’s leading technology PR firms. WE’s EMEA region has grown fast, particularly in the UK, while its German and South African operations have also matured and expanded service offerings, including digital marketing, social media strategy, insights and analytics for national and international clients of all sizes. Last year, WE invested and extended its corporate reputation and brand purpose capabilities in the region, including its acquisition of social impact and behaviour change agency Hopscotch, adding expertise in social and economic issues, brand reputation and responsible governance, and crisis and issues management to its services.

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In EMEA WE has around 150 people across offices in London (63 people), Frankfurt, Munich (55 combined) and Johannesburg. Headquartered in Seattle, WE has an extensive presence in the US and a substantial Asia-Pacific footprint across Australia, India, China and Singapore.

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Despite the tech slowdown, WE grew 14.5% in EMEA, while headcount expanded by 10% too. New business included Quantinuum, Takeda, Zscaler, FSC, Lewis Pugh Foundation, AstraZeneca, Alcidion and African Parks, joining an existing client roster that features OCI Global, Intel, Microsoft, Abbott, Waze, Aruba, Elsevier, FSC, and Vodacom. The UK grew by 7%, while Germany was up 9%, while the addition of Hopscotch also bolstered WE’s topline expansion, along with improved returns from healthcare and digital.

aoy-people-iconPeople & Culture

The UK is now headed by former deputy MD Laura Gillen, who was promoted to the top job upon the departure of Ruth Allchurch to Ketchum. South Africa is led by Sarah Gooding, while Bianca Eichner oversees Germany. WE’s commitment to employee culture reflects its female ownership and fierce independence, while the firm has invested considerable amounts of money and time into its DEI efforts across the UK, Germany and South Africa. In the latter market, WE has secured the highest BBEE rating, ensuring that WE is 30.1% black female-owned, while the UK and Germany have benefited from partnerships and training that have bolstered their efforts to build an inclusive staff culture. 

aoy-leadership-iconThought Leadership & Work

WE continues to establish a unique point of view in the industry and in the world, not just with its flagship Brands in Motion Research, but also a new Future of Comms reports with clients, Hopscotch’s Social Impact Framework, “The Path to Impact”, and more. Campaign highlights include an impressive menopause-focused campaign for Astellas, along with work for FSC, Microsoft, the Crown Estate, Sport England, Vodacom, African Parks and FlySafair.

Arun Sudhaman

Wildfire (Independent)

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Following a significant management restructure in May 2023, Wildfire owners Debby Penton and Andrew Shephard assumed the roles of CEO and COO, respectively, while board members Chris King and Louise Palmer became joint MDs. The moves have helped bolster the 20+ year old tech agency’s focus on the future, supported by B Corp accreditation, and built around being 'the best company to work for and work with'. 

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Wildfire is a UK-based agency with its headquarters in Kingston upon Thames, London. 

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Challenging market conditions mean fee income was effectively flat at £3m, following 11% growth in 2022.  Wildfire’s client portfolio includes Bango, Cloudflare, Emarsys SAP, Epson, Inrupt, Persistent Systems, Samsara, and SolarWinds, while there was also new business from Confluent, Dimension Studio, Epicor, Panasonic, Pulsant, and Tanium. 

aoy-people-iconPeople & Culture

Wildfire's commitment to diversity and inclusion is commendable, with a gender pay gap of -9 — better than the PRCA average of 2.6, and an ethnic diversity rate of 30%, surpassing the firm’s 25% target. The agency's boardroom is 60% female, while there are also numerous B Corp initiatives to positively impact employees, the industry and community. 

aoy-leadership-iconThought Leadership & Work

Wildfire has directed its thought leadership activity towards making B2B PR work less boring, championing creativity and launching a B2Bold marketing campaign to inspire the industry. Campaign highlights include such the 'App-ocalypse!' campaign for Bango, the 'Shutter Safari' campaign for Panasonic, and 'The Quiet Critics' for FullStory. 

Arun Sudhaman