Independent communications consultancy Freshwater UK plc has today published annual results showing healthy growth in 2013-14, its tenth year of trading under the Freshwater brand.
In the year ending August 31, 2014, Freshwater saw turnover rise four per cent to £4.13m, including a seven per cent increase in revenue from fees and commission to £3.36m, and generated an operating profit of £0.55m.
The results come as the group celebrates the 10th anniversary of its adoption of the Freshwater trading name as part of a strategy of growing across the UK.
Founded in 1997 by former BBC journalist Steve Howell, the consultancy had traded eponymously for seven years and established itself as one of the leading PR businesses in Wales.
Since the 2004 rebrand, Freshwater has increased its annual revenue by 244 per cent and grown from 21 to 53 staff as it delivered numerous successful projects for local, national and international clients.
“We have achieved our objective of creating a respected UK-wide communications consultancy while retaining our Welsh identity and continuing to be headquartered in Cardiff,” said Steve Howell, the group’s chief executive.
“The PR and marketing industry is exceptionally London-centric, but we didn’t think we needed to follow the crowd. In fact, we saw an opportunity to develop a competitive advantage by keeping as many services as possible in Cardiff while building a high profile in the UK capital.
“In Cardiff, we have much more than a back office. Our staff in the Welsh capital include client-facing consultancy and production teams that deliver great results for some of the UK’s best known brands, drawing on the abundance of creative talent available in Wales.
“At the same time, we recognise the importance of having a strong London team to handle work that needs to be done there, such as Westminster-focused public affairs, policy conferences and PR for clients needing London-specific activity.”
Freshwater has won numerous industry awards, including a UK Chartered Institute of Public Relations Excellence Award for its Invisible Death Row organ donor campaign in 2011.
The group’s focus on client service is reflected in its decision to mark its 10th anniversary by inviting a panel of industry experts to judge its work and choose the 10 best examples under different categories.
The panel comprised Francis Ingham, Director General of the Public Relations Association, Betty McBride, former Head of Policy and Communication at the British Heart Foundation, and Val Bodden, Chair of CIPR Cymru.
The 10 projects they chose reflected Freshwater’s wide range of clients: John Lewis, Thompsons Solicitors, League Against Cruel Sports, Drinkaware Wales, Organic Centre Wales, Barry Waterfront, Donate Wales, Unite, SPECIFIC (including Tata Steel and Swansea University) and the Welsh Government’s True Taste Food and Drink Awards.
Freshwater’s ‘What the fox?’ campaign with the League Against Cruel Sports won a UK Public Affairs Award for ‘Best in-house agency collaboration’ in 2014.
“Our success as a business is inseparable from our commitment to delivering outstanding results for our clients,” added Steve Howell. “We have been at the forefront of a fast-changing industry, constantly looking for new ways to use the ever-expanding range of communication channels to ensure our clients reach their audiences.”