Magazine article Marketing

Agency of the Year: Customer Publishing Agency of the Year - Publicis Blueprint

Magazine article Marketing

Agency of the Year: Customer Publishing Agency of the Year - Publicis Blueprint

Article excerpt

The winning shop has turned around its fortunes in the three years since an especially tough 2008, and now offers compelling branded communications and content across platforms.

WINNER

Everybody loves a comeback kid and you can't ask for a better turnaround story than Publicis Blueprint, which has been named Marketing's Customer Publishing Agency of the Year 2011.

Back in 2008, at the height of the recession, the agency was forced to retrench and regroup following several high-profile departures and account losses. Three years on, its fortunes have improved dramatically.

The agency took the top spot in Marketing's annual customer publishing league tables, reporting a pounds 12.9m growth in turnover and a 46% upturn in revenues year on year.

In a tight field, the judges were particularly impressed by Publicis Blueprint's ability to work both as a lead agency and collaboratively with other agencies and suppliers globally. Despite being one of the biggest agencies in the UK, Publicis also managed to be fleet of foot with innovation.

The judges highlighted the agency's ability to offer innovative creative work and integrated activity across multiple channels for brands including Cath Kidston, HP and Orange. The self-titled work for designer Cath Kidston, like so much of the agency's content, was highly effective; an insert in Easy Living drove a 56% increase in online customers, while the full customer magazine delivered a 33% uplift in mail-order and online sales.

The judges also praised Publicis Blueprint's now-stable management team, whose members have 63 years of combined company service between them. Credit for a phenomenal year must also go to chief executive Geri Richards. Known for her self-deprecating style, she has galvanised the agency through her fierce loyalty to her staff and understated, but effective, ego-free management style.

The agency has continued to invest in talent, despite the challenging economic climate. During 2011 it appointed 32 new staff, a 45% year-on-year increase. Additionally, the agency has worked hard to boost the skills of existing staff, increasing its investment in training by 32% year on year.

CSR is more than just a bolt-on afterthought at the agency, which has invested time and effort in regular staff charity fundraising initiatives. Particular mention goes to the 15 employees who participated in the annual Royal Parks Half Marathon, raising pounds 2365 for the Multiple Sclerosis Society - a figure that was matched by the company.

While it has had a great 12 months, Publicis Blueprint's Agency of the Year victory is also testament to the results of a hard-fought, three-year turnaround drive. Here's hoping its Friday drinks trolley stocks some well-earned celebratory Champagne.

FOCUS ON ASDA

The agency's long-term relationship with Asda was cited by judges as an example of an impressive and genuine strategic partnership; Blueprint works with 500 of the supermarket's suppliers and agencies.

Research has shown that Asda Magazine was directly responsible for a pounds 260m uplift in sales annually, including pounds 5.6m for clothing brand George.

The title continues to be the UK's most-read women's monthly with 5.3m readers. According to ABC figures for January to June 2011, it is now the UK's highest-circulation magazine.

Investment in it is paying dividends: customers who read the publication spend an average of pounds 167. …

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