ThepowerofPRWelcome to the 2014 edition of the Prolific North Top 50 PR Agencies, the definitive list of the North’s leading PR agencies. The initiative is published in association with theEword.


The ranking is anchored on financial information taken from Companies House and also draws upon data submitted and verified by the agencies themselves including additional financials, headcount, client information and – where appropriate – confidential private background information.
Working together with Mustard Research, one of the UK’s leading independent research companies, and the financial reporting company fame BVD, we initially looked at information on over 200 PR agencies which are either based in or have offices in the North and then drilled down in more depth on the accounts of around 120 agencies.

These were ultimately whittled down to the 50 in this ranking.

We did not give agencies the option of being included or not. This does mean however that sometimes larger, or indeed, smaller agencies, can have unusual years which can inflate or hurt their performance in a given year. Two examples are the Liverpool agency Paver Smith which is enjoying a particularly successful year but whose ranking (balance sheet in particular) is still affected by an earlier CVA and the Leeds agency Finn Communications which has doubled its headcount.

It should also be noted that some agencies, although commanding a relatively modest headcount, have steadily built up impressive shareholders’ funds which as a key weighting in our ranking, can make a surprising positive difference and many of the smaller agencies keep their headcount deliberately low, preferring instead to make more use of freelancers.

As none of the companies on the list – excluding agencies which are subsidiaries of international groupings – file full accounts (i.e. sales of more than £6.5m) we have agreed not to publish the financial data which most prefer to keep private. We would also like to specifically thank Weber Shandwick, Good Relations and Havas for taking the additional time to work with their London HQs to break down and provide detailed financial and specific information about their Northern operations.

There are some new additions this year and some deletions. The most notable deletion is the Newcastle agency Martin Tait Redheads which has dropped the ‘PR’ moniker from its title and now pitches itself as an Integrated agency and as such, it will be referenced when we start compiling the 2014 edition of the Prolific North Top 50 Integrated Agencies initiative due for publication in November this year.

And once again, integrated or digital agencies with significant PR operations such as Amaze and McCann’s have not been included because this ranking is dictated by the agencies’ prime offering: PR and comms.

Once again, Manchester agencies lead the list in contrast to our Integrated and Digital agencies rankings where Yorkshire agencies compete right at the top. But the Yorkshire contingent and particularly the Leeds agencies, led by Finn and Manifest, are enjoying rapid growth (with the latter opening an office in Manchester earlier this year) while Good Relations and Kenyon Fraser also have offices in Leeds.

Harrogate agency Acceleris also opened an office in London earlier this year.

North east agencies include Recognition in Darlington, DTW in Gusiborough and Karol in Newcastle.

Owner-managed agencies still dominate the list with seven of the top 10 headquartered in the region.

Eword logoOnce again we are planning to hold a special event to celebrate this initiative in the autumn and Barclays Bank Northern TMT (Technology Media and Telecoms) unit in Manchester will host the informal event. More details will be announced in due course and theEword, who have supported this initiative, will be managing the event on our, Mustard’s and Barclays’ behalf.

In the meantime, Mustard and Prolific North would like to thank the agencies we have been liaising with over the past four months for their time and patience supplying us with information and data and responding to our questions where required.

Update: 25/9/14:  Paver Smith rebrands as Influential

The Prolific North Top 50 PR Agencies 2014

– in association with theEword


Rank Company name Offices in the North Full time staff  Selection of clients
1 Weber Shandwick Manchester 30 Aldi, Bernard Matthews, Warburtons, Manchester Business School, Q Hotels
2 Tangerine PR Manchester 59 Wilkinsons, Peugeot UK, AkzoNobel, Amir Khan, JW Lees
3 Citypress Manchester 56 Lloyds Banking Group, Coca-Cola Enterprises, The Post Office, Brother, British Gas
4 Brazen PR Manchester 26 Cussons, Mitchells and Butler, Magnet, Ronseal, Dr Oetker
5 Barrett Dixon Bell (BDB) Altrincham 26 Tata Steel, DSM, TNA, Leica Geosystems, ADM
6 Good Relations Regional Macclesfield, Leeds 60 B&Q, Portmeirion, John Cotton, Camelot, Thwaites
7 Beattie Communications Group Leeds, Manchester 20 Specsavers, Flybe, Shepherd Group Built Environment, Federation of Small Businesses, Warren James
8 Manifest Comms Leeds, Manchester 23 Leeds Bradford Airport, Fircroft, Asda, ABP
9 Finn Communications Leeds 24 Morphy Richards, All About Food, Quorn Foods, R&R Ice Cream, Pork Farms
10 Havas PR Manchester 20 Asda, Debenhams, Greggs, Manchester Airports Group, Pets at Home
11 Scott Partnership Holmes Chapel 15 Rigaku Raman, Sciformix, CrownBioScience, Haydale, Agilent
12 Corporate Culture Liverpool 20 Asda, NHS, Royal Mail, Microsoft
13 Freshfield Public Relations Preston 17 Boost Business Lancashire, Ludlow Wealth Management, Marcus Worthington Group, Sherwin Williams Protective & Marine Coatings, UCLan
14 Peppermint Soda Hale 21 Home Bargains, Asda, The Fragrance Shop, Gateley, Muse Developments
15 Kenyon Fraser Liverpool 30 City of Liverpool College, SSP, Merseytravel, Citybike, NHS
16 SKV Communications Manchester 13 Crown Commercial Services, Construction Industry Training Board, Rapiscan, BDP, Colliers International
17 Pelican Public Relations Saddleworth 13 Apeal: Association of European Producers of Steel for Packaging, Bidvest 3663, BFFF, FCC Environment
18 de Winter PR & Marketing Chester, Liverpool, Manchester 18 Bank of America, EA Technology, Adoption Matters Northwest, Chester Grosvenor Shopping Centre, Harewood Associates
19 Context Public Relations Macclesfield 10 Check Point Software Technologies, Roku, TTG, Mirantis, Clavister
20 Mason Williams Manchester  – Mercure, Hollands Pies, Lowry Outlet
21 Roland Dransfield PR Manchester 10 Asda, Hill Dickinson, GVA, MSP, Taylor Wimpey
22 HR Media Sheffield 11 Sheffield Children’s Hospital, Westfield, SIV, B Braun and Sheffield Chamber of Commerce
23 RMS PR Altrincham 14 Hiscox, PHS Group, Swizzels Matlow, Westbridge Capital
24 Intereurope Communications Group (ICG) Preston 15 Sodexo, Balfour Beatty, Blackpool – several clients
25 Active Profile Manchester, Liverpool 9 Muse Developments, Sigma Inpartnership, HCA, Energy Innovation Centre, NW Fund for Biomedical (SPARK Impact)
26 MTJ Associates Leyland 9 Kepak Convenience Foods, AG Barr, Burton’s Biscuit Company, Sutcliffe Play, Republic Technologies (UK) Ltd
27 Recognition Communications Darlington 13 Bannatyne Fitness, Bristol St Motors, Priory, Black Sheep Brewery, NOF Energy
28 Hatch Communications Leeds 11 Crabbie’s, Wensleydale Creamery, Tata Steel, PhD Nutrition, Triathlon England
29 Acceleris Harrogate 15 Severfield-Rowen plc, Prince’s Trust, Allstar, Vantage Motor Group
30 Lucre Leeds 28 Mira Showers, Amway
31 The Partners Group York 6 Barratt Homes, Glassolutions, York St John University, Silk Family Law, Eurocare Showers
32 Dragonfly Public Relations Rotherham Cheswold Park Hospital, Ilkley Windows, 3Squared
33 iseepr Otley 11 GlobalPlatform, SIMalliance, EMVCo, NG Bailey IT Services
34 Triangle Public Relations Manchester 6 CDL, F Ball and Co Ltd, CLS Care Homes, Belong Villages, Irwell Valley HA, Assetsure
35 DTW Guisborough 13 SITA UK, Redcar & Cleveland College, Mersey Gateway Project, Hartlepool Borough Council, NCG
36 Smoking Gun Manchester 13 Silentnight Group, Paint By Conran, Robert McBride, Hexbug, Kumho Tyre
37 MCG PR Leeds 7 Damart, Greencore, Icefresh Foods, Spa/EASIpanel, TaxAssist Accountants
38 The Write Angle Chorley 8 Choice Hotels, Halite Energy Group, Praetura Asset Finance, Muse Developments, Eshton
39 The Karol Marketing Group Newcastle upon Tyne 11 Newcastle Airport, Darlington Borough Council, Your Homes Newcastle
40 Paver Smith PR Liverpool, Manchester 17 IFB, Liverpool Vision, Downing, ACC
41 The Public Affairs Company Leeds 5 FirstGroup, NCFE, Express Gifts
42 Profile Communication Winsford 12 AKW Group, Arley Hall, Groundwork
43 Aurora Media Archetype Liverpool 10 National Grid, Neptune Developments, Liverpool John Lennon Airport, Liverpool Community Health
44 Label PR Manchester 5 JD Williams, Bosch, Rare London, Lavish Alice, Kapello Hair
45 Quest PR Harrogate 5 hlw Keeble Hawson, Jones Myers LLP, Institute of Export, JTM Service, Fracino
46 IPB Communications Sale 10 National Grid, Rwe Innogy UK, Keepmoat, Barratt Homes, Together Housing Group
47 Lexicon Ilkley 7 Dorel, thebigword, Maintel, James Dawson, 2Plan
48 HatTrick PR Manchester 6 Dulux Decorator Centre, PetSafe International, Desso Business Carpets, (part of JD Sports Fashion Plc), Repic
49 Carousel Manchester 10 Selfridges, LolliBop Festival, Simba Dickie, Savills, Festival No.6
50 Mitchell Halton Watson Newcastle upon Tyne 6 EDF Energy, NewGene, Best Western Ryokan