The Prolific North Top 50 PR Agencies 2018

David Prior's picture
by David Prior

Welcome to the 2018 edition of the Prolific North Top 50 PR Agencies, the benchmark ranking of the North’s leading PR agencies.

The 2018 list follows our other ground-breaking research features, which include the Top 50 Digital Agencies, the Top 50 Integrated Agencies and the Top In-house Communicators.

As with the majority of our reseach-based initiatives, we are very pleased that the leading independent research company, Mustard, has once again rigorously managed the process on behalf of Prolific North.

The top 50 was first revealed at a special event hosted by Prolific North last night, and sponsored by Good Relations and the PRCA.

The ranking is anchored on financial information taken from Companies House, as well as financial reporting company fame BVD, 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.

We started with an initial longlist of over 200 PR agencies to be based in or have offices in the North, and we then drilled down in more depth on the accounts of around 120 agencies.

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

Citypress on top once more

For the fourth year running, Manchester-headquartered Citypress takes the top spot, with Weber Shandwick moving up a place to second.

Tangerine ensured that Mancunian agencies filled the top three spots with Leeds agency Finn Communications holding on to fourth place and Altrincham's Barret Dixon Bell fifth.

Beyond the top five, there were a number of significant risers. Manchester's Carousel jumped seven places into the top 10 at ninth, while Leeds-based Hatch rose eight places to 10th.

Special mentions should also go to Social Communications (up 14 places to 11th), Cleveland's DTW (up 21 places to 15th), Leeds' Prohibition (up 20 places to 17th), Roland Dransfield (up 14 to 19th) and Umpf (up 14 places to 24th). 

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.

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.

Finally, many thanks to all the agencies who have so helpfully supplied us with information and data, as well as responding to our questions where required.

The Prolific North Top 50 PR Agencies 2018

in association with Good Relations

Rank Company Location Ownership Staff Clients
1 (1) Citypress Manchester Private 80 Aldi, British Gas, Coca-Cola European Partners, Lloyds Banking Group, Brother UK
2 (3) Weber Shandwick Manchester Interpublic Group 36 Iceland, Avis Budget Group, Hitachi Capital UK, Port Aventura, Virgin Atlantic
3 (2) Tangerine Manchester Private 55 Jewson, Garmin, Iceland, Pizza Hut
4 (4) Finn Communications Leeds Private 36 Froneri, ghd, IPN, Taylors of Harrogate, Calbee
5 (5) Barrett Dixon Bell Altrincham Private 30 TNA, DSM, MacDermid, Johnson Controls, Tata Steel
6 (6) Brazen Manchester Private 27 Wilko, Magnet Kitchens, Dr Oetker, UCC Coffee
7 (7) Havas Manchester Havas Group 25 Asda, Kellogg’s, Pets at Home, Greggs, TransPennine Express
8 (9) Influential Liverpool / Manchester Private 27 Bruntwood, Grant Thornton, Camelot UK Lotteries, Grosvenor Liverpool (Liverpool One)
9 (16) Carousel Manchester Private 25 MGA Entertainment, Selfridges, Broadwick Live, MODA, Savills
10 (18) Hatch Communications Leeds Private 21 Diageo, Boost Energy Drinks, Checkatrade, Thomas Cook Sport, Spectrum Brands
11 (25) Social Communications Manchester / Leeds Private 24 National College of High Speed Rail, United Living, One Manchester, Bradford City Council
12 (10) Forepoint Preston Private 20 Moto, Hewlett Packard, Sellafield, Tata
13 (15) Democracy Manchester Private 24 Dulux - trade and retail, Carwow, Corgi Homeplan, Halewood Wines and Spirits
14 (13) PR Agency One Manchester Private 22 Decathlon, KPMG, Rada, One4all, Perkbox
15 (36) DTW Cleveland Private 15 The Law Society, Merseyflow, Sunderland City Council, Merseylink, Road Safety GB North East
16 (19) Scott Partnership Cheshire Private 13 Agilent Technologies, Crown BioScience, Sciformix, Allscripts Healthcare
17 (37) Prohibition PR Leeds Private 13 Interflora, Goldsmiths, Mappin & Webb, Watches of Switzerland, ENGIE UK
18 (17) Intelligent Conversation Manchester Private 13 United Utilities plc, Synectics plc, EMIS Group plc, Manchester Metropolitan University
19 (33) Roland Dransfield PR Manchester Private 14 North West Football Awards, Vincent Kompany’s Tackle4MCR testimonial, St Michael’s, Crowne Plaza
20 (23) MCG PR Leeds Private 16 Pink Lady and Tenderstem, Northern, Damart, Costcutter Supermarkets Group
21 (14) Lucre Leeds Private 18 Meadowhall, jet2.com, Holiday Extras
22 (31) Peppermint Soda Cheshire Private 20 Home Bargains, 1pm PLC, Bear Grylls Survival Academy, Health Shield
23 (22) SKV PR Manchester Private 14 Department for International Trade, Far East Consortium, Greater Manchester Business Growth Hub
24 (38) Umpf Leeds Private 10 ENGIE, Glen Dimplex Home Appliances, Harrison Spinks, Landsec, NHS
25 (30) Active Profile Manchester / Liverpool Private 13 Muse Developments, GVA North (Liverpool, Manchester & Leeds), Peak AI
26 (24) Smoking Gun Manchester Private 18 Childs Farm, Silentnight Group, Virgin Holidays, Nissan, Red Bull
27 (29) Fig Creative Glossop Private 18 Northwood Hygiene Products, Fastrak Group, University of Derby, Phonak
28 (43) Ramarketing & PR Newcastle / Manchester Private 10

Recipharm, Tracelink, Sterling Pharma, RAPS, Cambrex

29 (26) Pelican Communications Oldham Private 14 British Frozen Food Federation, Fowler Welch, British Aerosol Manufacturer’s Association
30 (32) Mason Williams Manchester Private 15 Accor, TOMY, Fruit Heroes, Holland’s, Athenaeum
31 (-) Sky Parlour Manchester Private 14 Ingenico ePayments, Pitney Bowes, IMRG, Intrapay
32 (34) Context Public Relations Cheshire Private 10 Keysight Technologies, Check Point Software Technologies, Yubico, Algosec
33 (-) Truth Creative Manchester Private 10 Wates Group, Crawford Healthcare, Countryside, FI Real Estate Management
34 (12) Corporate Culture Liverpool Private 24 Co-operative Group, WRAP, Unilever, Anglian Water
35 (21) Harris Associates Leeds Private 12 CDUK, Crown Paints, Cre8 Joinery Solutions
36 (35) Acceleris Harrogate Acceleris acquired Limelight PR in January 2018 12 Ernst & Young (EY), Utilita Energy, Nexus Vehicle Rental, Nautilus International
37 (53) Aberfield Communications Leeds Private 9 First Direct, Malmaison/Hotel du Vin, Deloitte, CPP, NG Bailey
38 (20) RMS Altrincham Private 20 Swizzels, Character World, Myerson Solicitors, Barbican Group
39 (28) iseepr Otley Private 15 EMVCo, SIMalliance, GlobalPlatform, FIME, Rambus Payments
40 (44) Manc Frank Manchester Group - Enero Group 7 Anki, Pax, Media 10, Eviivo, Fiddes Payne
41 (11) Kenyons Liverpool Private 24 Aintree, IBF, LIPA, MerseyTravel
42 (48) The Partners Group York Private 8 Dynamic Networks, Caddick Construction, Saint-Gobain Glass, York Dungeon
43 (54) Brand8 Leeds Private 8 Avant Homes, Gordons, Paragon, Sewtec, TOMRA
44 (60) Fourth Day Manchester Fourth Day Group 8 Autocab, Carrington, APS Group, Probrand
45 (50) Allott & Associates Knaresborough Private 10 OxAir, Pickersgill-Kaye, Restore PLC, Force24
46 (45) MTJ Associates Preston Private 8 Rustlers, AG Barr, Encona, Grace Foods, Quorn
47 (59) Polaris Media Liverpool / Manchester - 11 Cammell Laird, CBI, ACL, Intermarine Group
48 (63) Skout Macclesfield Private 8 Miele, Birmingham City University, Gazprom Energy
49 (49) JAMpr Manchester Private 8 Argos for Business, Due Course, C.K
50 (41) The Write Angle Chorley Private 11 PfP Energy, Morson, Sika, Equator Design, LGBT Foundation

2017 ranking in brackets

The Prolific North Top 50 Digital Agencies 2018

The Prolific North Top 50 Integrated Agencies 2017