LONDON – Delphi, the specialist technology strategic communications consultancy launched last year by former Harvard leaders, has backed its first new venture, new tech agency 393.

393 is led by another Harvard alumnus, deputy managing director Will Cook, and its proposition is to focus on its clients’ audiences to achieve impact through comms in terms of brand reputation, business growth, attracting talent, and winning and retaining customers.

Delphi – named as PRovoke Media’s new EMEA agency of the year for 2024 – was launched in May 2023 by former Harvard chairman Louie St Claire, CEO Ellie Thompson (pictured, left) and planning and strategy lead Pete Marcus (right). At the time, the trio said they planned to invest in working with like-minded specialists to start niche consultancies.

Cook (pictured, centre) worked with Delphi’s founders for more than 10 years at Harvard and was instrumental in helping grow the agency to a 100+ person, £10m revenue business. He led global corporate communication and B2B technology programmes for the likes of Cisco, Salesforce, EY and the UK Government’s digital initiatives.

393 – named after the year of the last Ancient Greek Olympics – launches with four clients, winning its first pitch recently for a large enterprise cloud provider, as well as working with existing Delphi clients include an augmented reality scale-up, a UK telco and a US payments unicorn.

Cook told PRovoke Media it was a “brilliant opportunity” at a time when the technology market and the media landscape were becoming more complex: “There’s a need for comms to be laser-focused on impact and ROI. Rather than going after the same media channels based on hunches, we’re starting with the audience. We pride ourselves on really understanding who and where audiences are in the tech space.

“Our Audience ID research tool goes directly to the C-suite and asks how they are making decisions, what media they consume, what platforms they are on, so when we’re building a programme we can focus on the media and channels that will influence that audience, so there’s no guesswork and a direct link to what will benefit the business.”

The new venture is putting technology at the centre of its own offering, said Cook: “We talk about being AI-enabled (tools to take the pulse of clients and their markets), AI-efficient (tools that create more time for dialogue) and AI-empowered (tools that drive a spark or idea). We’ll always be transparent with clients and partners around how we are using technology and we think coupled with traditional thinking we can really maximise value.”

St Claire said: “We are so excited to be up and running with Will. We can’t think of a more astute and committed person to invest in. It’s a win-win for all of us. Will can tap into our experience, network and thinking and we get to be part of a new business with all the drive and passion that anyone who knows Will gets straight away. He also shares our commitment to DE&I and building diverse, inclusive teams and we cannot wait to see where he takes the great work he’s done to date into 393.”

And St Claire added Delphi was “ambitious” about investing in more new ventures: “We’d like to do one a year. We’ll probably look at something creative next – we’ve built creative elsewhere and investing in core competences we don’t have ourselves would be really exciting. All the big B2B brands are now using consumer creative strategy. But we’ll remain true to our purpose, backing talent that wouldn’t be able to do it without our help and shared ambition.”