Categories
Opinion

What PR firm do you recommend with mobile experience?

I’d very much welcome your suggestions for public relations firms (and/or individuals) working in the mobile space.

The reason I ask is that I’m trying to put a reasonably comprehensive list together.

Every week I get emails from people asking for suggestions for companies to meet. I have got my favourites (some of whom I list below), but I’d like to actually publish a list.

I get the impression from a lot of the enquiries that they’re pretty urgent. So when I respond days later by email, I often worry that I’m not fast enough — hence my intent to create a list.

Googling “Mobile PR” or “mobile public relations” or “wireless public relations” will yield you a few results I’m sure. But there are a ton more agencies out there. Many of the best aren’t actually dedicated to mobile, but instead are “tech focused” with a mobile practice or specialism.

Here, then, is my first attempt at a list. These are the agencies that are front of mind at the moment. It’s not comprehensive nor is it in alphabetical order yet but it is now in alphabetical order.

Where I’ve written an opinion, it’s just mine and based usually on my experience interacting with the company from the other end (i.e. the blogger end). (Please make up your own mind!)

– – – – –

33 Digital
As far as I’m aware, they’re the digital focused section of Hotwire. Capable, proven, competent people. They routinely represent some big players.

3-Monkeys
Good resources, very professional. I’m just beginning to get to know them. They represent some behemoths. Think Microsoft Windows, Truphone.

Babel PR
A London-based tech agency that specialises in the mobile niche. They’ve over 20 clients working in the mobile space, including the likes of Ruckus Wireless, Tektronix Communications, Podifi and MusicQubed (the company behind O2 Tracks). Babel was founded in 2006 by two Hotwire alumni, Ian Hood and Narelle Morrison.

Brands2Life
My contact at Brands2Life is the super-enthusiastic Fiona Goldsworthy. The company works across a wide range of industries including technology. Fiona is deeply immersed in the agency’s telecoms, mobile and tech practice. I find her well informed, organised, highly competent and ready to support me, whatever the request. Crucially she’s not just reactive — she’s proactive. For example, it was Fiona who managed the NFC contactless payments challenge that I participated in recently (on behalf of her multi-billion dollar telecoms client, Gemalto).

Dynamo PR
I know Paul Cockerton of old… from the first generation mobile revolution. Back when Symbian was king. Paul was part of the core team at AQA, one of the first question/answer text services in the UK. Those were the days. Paul co-founded Dynamo PR a few years ago with colleague Peter Bowles. Collectively the team has a wealth of mobile related experience. Get this: The has collectively launched BlackBerry, iPhone and Windows Mobile in the UK. And I heard they just picked up a small digital agency award recently too. As well as mobile and digital projects, they’ve also recently launched a rather smart service customised for Kickstarter projects — smart!

Fieldhouse Associates
Recently established, one of their key experts is Neil Robertson. He’s well known around the London tech scene as a highly capable PR professional… but also someone who lives and breathes mobile technology. Don’t underestimate how important it is to be represented by someone who actually cares about the stuff (and who’s already tried your five competitors, not because you were coming in for a pitch, but because he was curious).

Flannel
Recommended to this list by an elder statesman of the mobile world whose opinion I value. No Flannel specialise in public relations for online businesses and they’ve really helped this stateman’s mobile company out. The agency is led by former New Media Age journalist Claire Armitt who is described by the statesman as, “Hungry, a great turn of word, very creative and [perhaps most importantly] she’s got us plenty of coverage.”

Giant PR
Recommended to this list by one of London’s leading mobile figures, Giant PR do quite a bit of work in the mobile/telecoms world — most notably with the likes of mobile industry body, MEF and top-of-the-line mobile/digital agency, LBi. They’re based in Brighton, 50 minutes from London.

Hotwire Public Relations
If you’ve hired Hotwire you’re making a statement that a) you’ve got a lot of cash and b) you’re serious about what you’re doing. Excellent capabilities and as a blogger I really appreciate the resources they can offer their clients. I’ve been on quite a few press trips with them and they are simply brilliant at managing them.

Joshua PR
Patrick Smith, the super genius connected telecoms chap runs this boutique player. Expect attentive and personal service, along with honest perspective — the kind can add zeros to your valuation if you pay attention. The Joshua PR team will go to the ends of the earth for you.

Liberty Communications
I know them best for representing Qualcomm and WeDo Technologies. They are super professional and responsive. I’ve been on a few press trips that they’ve arranged and their attention to detail and tenacity to help you get things done is always impressive.

MightyPR
Is this Silicon Valley’s brightest and best boutique tech/mobile agency? I think so. Candace Locklear and Rebecca Fuller are some of the most talented and well connected PR maidens on the West Coast. They both hail from huge independent valley agency, Spark (more on them below) and broke out to offer a smaller, focused service. At least once a month the Mobile Industry Review office echoes to the sound of me yelling, “GET ME CANDACE LOCKLEAR”, in response to a pitch from a struggling startup CEO who patently needs to a) get into the Valley and b) get his messaging fixed pronto.

Next15
Likewise I’m still getting to know them. Nokia’s agency in the UK. Very professional.

Sonus PR
Run by the always calm and collected Martin Smith, you can usually find him with one foot in Europe and the other foot in the Valley. Particularly useful if you’re in the market for telecoms PR in the San Francisco area, with a UK/European heritage and capability.

XL Communications
Acknowledged as a thoroughly nice chap, Chris Bignell is also well regarded as one of the best PR practitioners in mobile technology. He’s steadily built a capable and team with a proven track record. XL are the brain surgeons behind the SmartUK awards (amongst others, they advise the likes of UKTI) which sees them helping many of the country’s newest mobile technology companies take their first foray into the challenging world of public relations.

– – – – –

I’ll add a few more shortly. Any suggestions?

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

14 replies on “What PR firm do you recommend with mobile experience?”

Do you really want a PR firm that’s ‘dedicated’ to mobile? This suggests to me that they’ll only work for and in mobile channels, which feels like an ill-advised division of labour.

I agree that there’s a difference between claiming to be ‘tech-focused’ and really getting mobile. And you want a firm that’s deeply knowledgable about the mobile space and forward-thinking, but you’d need to be a fairly large client to justify hiring one PR team to handle mobile, and another for other channels?

Maybe I’ve misunderstood how you’re delineating these firms?

Coincidentally, I discovered this blog while doing research for a client of ours, who is in the mobile space.

Darren, I think you raise smart and rather challenging issue. I’m rather interested to discover what other people think — but here’s my viewpoint: Doesn’t it depend on what you’re looking for? For example if your company is working in the mobile industry space, it would, I suspect, make a lot of sense to engage an agency known for their mobile credentials. If your company is a supermarket chain that also has a mobile app, then yeah, I can see why you might want a consumer agency that might be able to draw upon a bit of tech skills.
Perhaps the biggest problem is that I have written a post mentioning “mobile experience” and listed some firms that I know from receiving pitches/releases. So the delineation is the problem. Hotwire certainly aren’t a mobile agency. I think it would be fair to define them broadly as a tech agency. I put them on the list because they currently (and historically) have represented a lot of telecoms and mobile related firms that I’ve been interested.
Do you have a suggestion for a better set of criteria? I’m all ears. I just made it up earlier to try and satisfy the enquiries I get now and again!

Good point Darren.

I don’t think there is an industry around that hasn’t ben changed or at least altered by mobile. At FieldHouse we find that knowledge (and a genuine interest and obsession) about mobile is an advantage, but not vital for some of our clients. Some of our clients are mobile companies and while they launch mobile apps for brands, which are naturally of interest to the mobile community, other key areas for them are talking to marketers and C-level execs. So it’s about getting a good balance of the right content for the right people so that the work we do, has the best possible impact on the company’s objectives and goals.

The mix of expertise we have between mobile/startups and business seems to be resonating, but it’s up to us to continue to prove that the work we do is adding to our client’s bottom line.

If I wanted to evaluate an agency’s mobile savvy, I’d ask questions like:

* What are some principles of developing mobile-first content?
* What’s the difference between responsive and adaptive approaches to web design?

* Tell me about mobile-centric ad campaigns that you’ve run?

* Our target audience is X. What kinds of devices are they using today?

* Why isn’t your website mobile-friendly? (Guilty as charged on that one, I’m afraid).

In short, you want to not only know that an agency has the right experience, but also that they’re au courant and speak the language of the mobile space.

That said, every PR agency in the world ought to understand this stuff in 2013. Regardless of what I was marketing, I’d want to get encouraging answers on these questions from my agency, or I’d consider moving on.

Casey & Sayre from LA is a firm I’ve been dealing with and even done a bit of work for. They rep one of the big boy telcos and have some smaller mobile clients as well. Plus Meredith, the woman who I deal with directly is the best at PR I’ve ever met.

Ewan– you are so kind to include Mighty in this list. Much appreciated! It has resulted in some great in-bound inquiries from other UK PR boutiques looking to partner up and potential clients. Many dinners/drinks owed you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.