We were thrilled to be shortlisted last week as one of The Holmes Report’s EMEA Technology Agencies of the Year.

The Holmes Report is recognised as one of the leading sources of news and analysis on the global communications industry, and competition in its awards is always fierce, especially because it’s open to agencies from across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, not just the UK.

These awards are decided differently too. Arun Sudhaman from The Holmes Report does a very thorough interview of all of the candidate agencies before even announcing the shortlist. That way he gets to hear the agency’s back story and can probe into its work, culture and financial success. So it’s fair to say that just making it onto the shortlist is a real achievement.

His write-up of Harvard, and the tremendous few years we’ve had, made us glow with pride . . .

Harvard (Chime)

When Louie St Claire took charge of Harvard in 2011, there were genuine questions over the firm’s long-term viability. Once considered one of the strongest tech PR players in the market, Harvard had shrunk considerably to just 14 people and £1.6m in revenue after losing a number of key clients, including Vodafone and Adobe.

That the firm is now in contention for technology consultancy of the year is testimony to the resurgence that has taken place under a leadership team that includes St Claire, along with Ellie Bennett, Pete Marcus, David Rossiter and Jo Jamieson . Harvard reached almost £3m in revenues in 2014, after growing by 16% on 2013. The firm now employs 36 people and is a credible contender for the major tech accounts, helping it net new business from Huawei, Samsung and TalkTalk, adding to a roster that includes key clients Fujitsu and Sennheiser.   

But it is not just Harvard’s growth that impresses. The firm’s work demonstrates its evolution beyond traditional media relations, evidenced by the DataHeaven vs DataGeddon campaign for Fujitsu, which helped bring in £40m worth of sales leads and won a SABRE Award last year. Other compelling assignments included Huawei’s UK communications strategy; Collaboration Nation for Fujitsu; and, launching video messaging app Wordeo.

Harvard likes to claim that it knows the technology market inside out, and its specialist knowledge of the sector, is clearly reaping dividends, whether for B2B or B2C brands. The firm’s methodology also appears well-grounded, involving a considerable use of planning (often via access to Chime’s ‘Triple G’ research) to help clients navigate and connect with the various ways in which technology is disrupting the modern communications landscape. — AS

We were up against some very strong competition and in the end the award went to our friends at Brands2Life – congratulations to them. Our focus will be on having an even better 2015 to try and take the crown next year!

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