LONDON — Hotwire PR’s head of engagement John Brown has left the company to set up his own consultancy, Don’t Cry Wolf.

The new business is billed as “a communications agency focused on helping no bullshit brands build affinity.”

Before joining Hotwire as a director in 2014, Brown headed up the consumer technology and gaming practice at Speed. He also worked at Buffalo Communications.

He said: “It’s exciting and terrifying and challenging. I’ve had an incredible few years at Hotwire and I’d never work for another agency again as I can’t imagine it would be as good, but I got to the point where I wanted to give it a go on my own.”

Brown said the agency’s philosophy was to be forthright with clients: “We’re not going to shy away from tough conversations. We will be happy if people think of Don’t Cry Wolf as the most straight-talking and honest bunch they’ve come across in our industry. In the current climate where everything can feel a bit Insta-filtered, getting back to honesty will give brands a competitive advantage.”

Don’t Cry Wolf is offering clients just a handful of services, including brand strategy and campaign architecture, creative work, design and training. Brown said the agency would not handle media relations or run press offices. Don’t Cry Wolf will also not work on the retained model: “If there’s one thing that kills energy and excitement, it’s a retainer,” Brown told the Holmes Report.

Among Brown’s founding clients is blockchain specialist DSX Technologies, which has handed Don’t Cry Wolf a brief for a full rebrand and communications strategy. Brown said the agency would gravitate towards technology clients and innovative start-ups, but had also had interest from sports, health and wellbeing companies.

Brown plans to build a small, senior team supported by freelance consultants, and has already brought ex-Hotwire and The Romans creative consultant Paul Stollery on board.

Hotwire PR's UK managing director Matt Cross said: “John is truly an unstoppable force. A veritable tsunami of ideas combined with an unwavering confidence, all delivered with gusto. I know he will put everything he has into his new venture and we wish him all the best.”