Well, what a year it has been.
Yes, tomorrow, 1 October, marks exactly one year to the day since the creation of MHP from our three predecessor businesses, Mandate, Hogarth and Penrose.
An enormous amount has happened in the last 12 months. We at MHP want to thank the support of our clients and friends that has been critical in allowing us to build our new business.
And I also want to thank all my colleagues in MHP, and across Engine, for their effort in making our first year such a success.
In a fast changing world, we’ve been able to grow our business – growing our team, growing our offer and growing the results that we’ve delivered for clients.
This year the MHP team in the UK has expanded to over 160 people. Some of the best talent in the communications industry has chosen to join us; including Paul Baverstock who joined to lead our Corporate Reputation discipline, and Mark Herbert who joined us as a Managing Director. But we are equally proud of nurturing exceptional new talent through our graduate programme, which this year has seen more brilliant young graduates than ever before learning skills across PR disciplines and then go on to graduate into permanent jobs in MHP.
Our team has expanded internationally. We opened MHP in Brussels, alongside our existing offices in London, Edinburgh and Washington DC.
Led by seasoned EU operator Alisdair Gray, MHP Brussels has also just been joined by Darren Ennis, who comes to us after 10 years in Brussels, first as economics, trade and foreign affairs correspondent at Reuters and then latterly as the media & strategic communications adviser to the EU Vice President & High Representative.
Alongside our own growing number of offices, we were thrilled to welcome new partners around the world into MHP’s global affiliate network. Now spanning four continents, just last week we welcomed the 40th affiliate company to join our worldwide team.
Our geographic expansion over the last year has been matched by an extension in our services. Our financial & investor communication team rose to number 4 in Hemscott’s rankings of financial PR advisers to the FTSE 250. And we were thrilled back in July when New Media Age named MHP as the UK’s Number 1 digital PR agency. It is testament to the skills of our digital experts, who have driven increasing work right across our business through a full range of digital channels, that we have also created our own proprietary digital tools. Our newest is MHP ORA, our unique online reputation management tool for business leaders.
I am particularly proud of the recognition of results that we have earned throughout the year for campaigns of all types.
Our team has brought home more winning silverware in 2011 than ever before, including Marketing Week’s Best FMCG Campaign, the CIPR’s Best Corporate & Business Campaign and Best Healthcare Campaign, a sweep at the Communiqué awards including Best Specialist Consultancy, “Communiquetor” of the Year and Consultancy of the Year (and one we are especially proud of, for MHP’s Rachel Rowson, as Young Achiever of the Year). And coming up we are finalists for PR Week’s Large Consultancy of the Year, the PRCA’s Large Consultancy of the Year, the Financial News Awards for Excellence in Private Equity and the Public Affairs News Awards for Best Agency and Most Innovative Campaign. So keep those fingers crossed for us please!
Together with our passion for working for our clients, we have also expanded MHP’s pro bono activity, driven by the enthusiasm of our own team who selected the organisations that we support.
Our commitment to diversity is recognised in the support that we give to the 30 percent club (www.30percentclub.org.uk), whose steering committee includes our Chairman Gay Collins. But the team also wanted to recognise our commitment to young people, and so we added to our pro bono support list the Children’s Legal Centre (www.childrenslegalcentre.com), young homeless charity De Paul (www.depauluk.org) and youth support and skills charity the Foyer Federation (www.foyer.net). These are all part of MHP’s continuing and growing commitment to do our little bit to help our community.
But none of this would have been possible without the continuing trust and support of our clients. We want to thank the many clients who worked with our predecessor agencies and who continued their trust with MHP in our first year. And we also want to thank the many new clients who have started working with us this year. None of anything we have done would have been possible without you.
This time last year, DJ Tim Westwood joked of us that we had “Pimped three agencies into one. And that’s some big pimping baby.”
Well Tim, you were right. It’s been an amazing first year. And we’ve loved every minute of it. Here’s to year two and the future.