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WPR was established in 1992 by Julia Willoughby. Just one woman and phone, we have grown to become a Top 100 UK PR Agency (no.84 in the 2016 PR Week League Tables) and the 9th largest PR agency outside London.

Over the last nine years we have seen growth of over 125%, quite an achievement when you consider that we were far from a start-up in 2007 and spent the years 2008-2012 in a deep recession. We now have a fee income of £2.86million and a turnover of nearly £4m. In fact, the financial year ending March 2016 was our fourth successive year of double-digit growth.

That year saw three other milestones for the company. We topped 50 employees for the first time, relocated from a 4,000 square foot building to a 10,000 square foot new home, and completed a management buyout with our Managing Director, Jane Ainsworth, becoming majority shareholder. Our founder and CEO, Julia, retains a significant shareholding along with deputy managing director, Jo McCarthy, and B2B Director, Tom Leatherbarrow. The share restructure wasn’t about change for the agency. It was about maintaining our identity, securing our future as a strong, independent PR and digital agency, and protecting our values.

These values surround our core ethos of looking after our colleagues as best we can, so they look after our clients as best they can. Day-in, day-out, five key principles govern everything we do:

1. To value and recognise our colleagues

  • All of our staff have access to:
    • A company-paid health cash-plan
    • Enhanced employer pension contributions
    • Flexible working hours
    • 20 days holiday per year, plus birthday, plus three days at Christmas, plus an extra day’s holiday for each year worked, plus a bonus-hour every month for a long lunch, lie-in or early weekend
  • We also hold:
    • Quarterly team meetings with complete transparency on performance
    • Weekly, informal, company-funded ‘wine and wotsits’ (if there is a better way to end the week we challenge you to find it!)
    • Quarterly ‘Thirsty Thursday’ nights out, all on the company
    • Themed birthday celebrations (we spent our 19th at Nobu on 19 Old Park Lane and went to the races for lucky 21)

2. To attract and retain the best people

  • We reinvest close t0 10% of profits into staff training each year including monthly learning-lunches and outsourced programmes
  • For the last four years, thanks to an exceptional financial performance, all staff have also enjoyed a profit-share scheme
  • As a result of all of the above, in a recent staff survey, 100% of employees agreed that:
    • They were proud to work for the agency
    • The agency has a strong reputation
    • The agency strives to deliver the best for clients

3. To exceed client expectations

  • Over 90% of our clients agree that we deliver against objectives, understand their business and provide value for money
  • As a testament to this, most of our new business comes from recommendations and referrals and in the FY 2015/2016 organic growth from existing clients topped £500,000
  • For the last five years, we have been shortlisted for, or won, RAR’s PR category (0ver 30 staff)

4. To lead the field

  • We have scooped 57 awards in the last seven years, making us one of the most award-winning agencies in the UK (we won 11 awards in 2015 alone)
  • In the last two years we have:
    • Had our work used as an example of best-practice by Twitter in one of their global Twitter Academy Webinars; we were named a Twitter Elite Agency shortly after
    • Seen Google say of one our video projects: ‘The creatives have been brilliant, the engagement rates have beaten all of our benchmarks and the work has driven some amazing results’
    • Secured Google-Partner status, earned Bing and Yahoo accreditations, and become a Facebook account-managed agency

5. To make more than money

  • In a time of graduate unemployment, we took on 11 graduates and remain committed to graduate-led recruitment. To facilitate this:
    • Our CEO chairs the PR Professionals Panel at Birmingham City University (BCU)
    • Our board regularly guest lectures (FOC) to student of BCU, Birmingham University and Aston Business School
    • We sponsor BHive – a competition across 10 Universities designed to nurture creative talent
    • We pay our interns properly – over and above the living wage
    • We have a busy and rewarding work experience programme, enabling up to 12 A-Level students and undergraduates a year to sample life in a PR agency before making critical career choices
  • We also have a lively and committed charity team who fundraise for a different cause each year, with the company significantly adding to the pot