AMBITIOUS TURNS 10

AMBITIOUS is turning 10. As we hit double digits and celebrate our first decade in business, we look back to look forward and outline what our team believe is in store for the PR industry in the next 10 years.

10 KEY STATS ABOUT US

20 strong team

2 female founders

£1,000,000 revenue in 2022

20 long-term client relationships

57 % YOY Revenue growth

11 industry award wins for great client work

4,441 social media followers

20 charities supported

10 careers launched – including apprentices, kickstarters, and paid internships

4 years running as The Drum’s PR Agency of the Year

Lis Anderson

Lis Anderson, Founder and Director

“I founded AMBITIOUS, quite simply, to do things better: provide a better client experience and create a better place to work. The traditional PR agency environment was no longer an agile or nimble place to operate or meet the needs of a changing communications landscape. This created an opportunity to do things differently: we’ve not looked back.

“Over the last decade we’ve built an agency model which has allowed us to evolve and respond quickly to the needs of clients, develop new service offerings and most critically to create a culture that supports career progression and personal ambition. The success of this vision is reflected in our consistent RAR wins as Best PR Agency over the past four years and the stability of our team.

“Together, with the amazing colleagues that I have the pleasure of working with every day, and the clients that we’re proud to call our partners, 10 years on I’m as ambitious as I was on day one and always looking forward to the next stage of our agency’s journey.

“Happy birthday AMBITIOUS! Here’s to the next 10 years and what they may hold …”

Sarah Woodhouse, Co-Owner and Director

“At 10 years old, we have an enviable national and international client-base. We are on track to hit £1.2 million revenue in 2022.

“COVID, for all its challenges, was an accelerator for the business, it forced us to take stock, strengthen operations, and invest in our offer.

“We’re a business that isn’t afraid to tackle head on our rapidly evolving industry. We are constantly testing and learning and in a feedback loop with clients.

“As corporate and b2b specialists with specific sector focuses, we bring a tremendous level of value to our clients in  trade PR, tech PR, financial services PR, healthcare PR, property PR, education PR, and professional services PR.

“In the next three to five years, we’ll double the size of the business. Our next focus is increasing the level of creativity in corporate and b2b PR and continuing to improve the measurability of PR, borrowing methodology from other marketing services to help provide boardroom worthy statistics.”

10 KEY PREDICTIONS FOR THE FUTURE OF PR & COMMS

Celebrating a milestone decade in business is certainly a reason to look back and take stock of our successes. But we’re not called AMBITIOUS for nothing. We’re active and supportive members of the industry we operate in and poised for the continued evolution of the communications sector. Therefore, this milestone in the lifespan of AMBITIOUS is also a chance for the team to outline their views on what’s to come for the PR industry over the coming decade.

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    ESG WILL NOT BE A SEPARATE COMMS THEAD, PROGRAMME OR CAMPAIGN IT WILL BE INTEGRATED THROUGHOUT ALL COMMUNICATIONS ACTIVITY

    “ESG isn’t just a hot topic. Over the next 10 years, the corporate landscape will shift considerably as regulation on responsible business behaviours and sustainability come into force.

    “At the moment, we offer ESG communications as a separate service. But in the years to come I believe ESG messaging will be integrated across all PR activity.

    “PR teams are natural storytellers, used for mitigating reputational risk and tracking the news agenda. The role of PR teams in ESG planning and communication will only increase in tandem with the business case for investing in ESG. , Therefore, we expect that any businesses that have not yet commenced ESG and sustainability PR planning are sure to begin anytime now.”

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    THE BAR WILL RISE IN B2B AND CORPORATE PR AND CREATIVITY WILL BE A PREREQUISITE AND NOT AN AFTERTHOUGHT

    “Who says b2b and corporate PR must be boring? Creativity is now a pre-requisite.

    “The corporate creativity bar is being raised, constantly. In the future, those adopting unique, creative approaches will be the ones to stand out.

    “A fifty-page whitepaper growing stale on a microsite will no longer cut it. Businesses will need to adopt ever more creative and adaptive approaches to content creation, in order to get their messages out to an increasingly critical audience.”

     

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    CLIENTS WILL INVEST IN MEASURING PR

    “I estimate that over the next few years we’ll get to a point where PR is recognised as a fully measurable discipline. Before now, meaningful methods in which to gauge impact have consumed too much PR budget – but that’s changing fast. Digital transformation is now enabling PR to show its true value through data and analytics, which will ensure it continues to gain its fair share of the marketing pot.”

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    THE PESO MODEL WILL ENABLE PR TO TAKE THE LEAD AND DRIVE INTEGRATED COMMS

    “The PESO model may have been introduced in 2014 but I believe it will serve us well in the next decade.

    “Earned media or media relations has always been considered the backbone of most PR, while paid has been considered a dirty word. Shared and owned are often wrongly treated as separate strategies. But this is an outmoded approach.

    “Moving forward, agencies that fully integrate the PESO model, will be the ones that get the greatest bang for their buck and secure the greatest success on behalf of their clients.

    “PR professionals are well placed to drive integrated comms because they understand each aspect of the PESO model and because they come at everything from a news-led, editorial agenda.”

     

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    IF YOUR IDEAS AREN‘T SUPPORTED BY INSIGHT THEY WON’T INVEST

    “The technology, software and skills now exist to bring real insight to PR campaigns, and these can help us to get a far clearer idea of the audiences we are targeting, where, when and how they consume media and content, and what topics will engage them.

    “The adoption of digital insights tools means we can test and learn our approach and adapt our strategy to capitalise on opportunities.

    “Data and analytics will be at the heart of all PR related decisions in the future.”

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    OWNED CONTENT WILL GET THE BIGGEST BUDGET ALLOCATION

    “Businesses are publishers, whether they like it or not. Consequently, they will need to continue to up their content game. And not just the written word. Audio, video, photography, graphics, animation will be just as important for owned media..

    “While the required objective of content may vary – lead gen, persuasion, profile building – corporates and brands that will win will be the ones that put quality content at the heart of their comms strategy and then sweat this through all their channels. They will also constantly revisit, update and evolve their content to win the SEO game.”

     

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    MEDIA RELATIONS WILL REMAIN THE BACKBONE OF PR EVEN AS MEDIA CHANNELS EVOLVE

    “Despite a mercurial media landscape, the advancement of influencers and being able to access your news channel of choice through a number of different formats, traditional media relations remains a core PR function

    “Newspaper circulation figures aren’t what they used to be, but the press continues to shape opinions and CEOs still want to be in The Times and the Financial Times (regardless of what your digital marketing teams may think).

    “Whether it’s for profile building or sales enablement, traditional media is still a key asset in the PR toolkit. But navigating the new media landscape is another matter.

    “Traditional media training needs to evolve to look at the host of opportunities presented to spokespeople – podcasts, Facebook Live or virtual Q&A’s all require different tips and techniques to a traditional print or broadcast interview.”

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    THE LANGUAGE OF DIGITAL PR WILL INFORM ALL COMMS STRATEGY

    “It won’t be long before we stop delineating between digital PR and PR. The intersection of these is SERP and SEO management. Your search results are not something you want to leave to chance.

    “Investing time into developing and curating your owned content and securing earned media coverage with backlinks to your website is one, albeit very important, part of a digital marketing and PR strategy.

    “Whether an investor is googling your share performance, or a potential employee is checking out your reputation, you need to be on top of these searches and helping them find the right information to get a positive outcome for your business.”

     

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    ONLINE REPUTATION MANAGEMENT WILL BE A KEY PART OF ISSUES PREPAREDNESS

    “Issues preparedness has always been a core part of public relations but in the digital age, today’s breaking news is never tomorrow’s fish and chip wrapping. Your online reputation can make or break your business and the need for digital trust has never been higher.

    “Your online reputation is your permanent ‘school report’. It’s the window into which the world can see what others say about you. That misguided tweet, that ill thought through campaign or that one mistake your CEO made may continue to harm your reputation forever.

    “Identifying those online risks and protecting your corporate brand against future harm is a key part of Online Reputation Management (ORM).

    “ORM can help ensure you secure that investment, support the growth of an employer or leadership brand, take your business into new markets or launch new products and services.”

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    LEADERSHIP AND BRAND WILL BE INSEPARABLE

    “The lines between leadership and the corporations they serve have become intertwined. CEOs aren’t just seen as paragons of corporate values anymore, they’re an extension of the business brand itself. There is nowhere to hide for business leaders, authentic leadership is everything and accountability is demanded.

    “This can work to help or hinder a business. When leadership outwardly displays the same core value as brand, it endears their audience further to them. But, on the contrary, a step in the wrong direction – in the past or in the present – can cause very public discord and discontent.

    Company leadership is an extension of a corporate brand and your leader’s communication channels – Twitter, LinkedIn, blog, speaking opportunities – should be given the same consideration as any other corporate communication channel.”

     

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An evolving industry

The last 10 years have been one of great change within the industry.

During this time, trends and practices have come and gone, but those which proved to offer true value remained. For those that did, we sought to respond by learning, tooling up and expanding the AMBITIOUS offering in line with industry progression.

With PR, progression is the name of the game. It doesn’t matter if you’re the client or agency, stand still for too long and you can run the risk of behind left behind.

Looking ahead to the next decade and beyond, we can expect another 10 years of excitement and intrigue. How will the media landscape continue to change, what new owned outlets await on the horizon, or will the Metaverse make good on its promises to change everything we currently know?

For answers to these questions, and so many more, only time will tell.

But one thing we know for certain is that the AMBITIOUS team will be here, adapting as we grow and continuing to serve our clients to the highest possible standard.

10 KEY RATINGS FROM CLIENTS

The Recommended Agency Register (RAR) is The Drum’s service to help brands choose agencies based on social proofing. Each year, The Drum aggregates its agency ratings to identify which are the highest rated by their own clients and recognises those agencies via The Drum Recommends Awards. These awards are one of a kind in the industry as winning can only be achieved through the high regard of clients. The RAR is a powerful force for accountability. Here’s our top 10 results from this year’s register.

AMBITIOUS RAR Ratings