The BIG Partnership Expands Into England
Published by Simon Gwynn on Mon 13 Aug 12 @ 10:22
Glasgow Chamber's PR company The BIG Partnership, the UK's largest PR and digital media agency outside London, has opened its first office outside Scotland - in Liverpool.
The firm, which was founded in 2000 and already employs 95 staff in four Scottish offices including its Glasgow HQ, has a fee income of over £6m and a client list which also includes ScottishPower, Shell UK, Famous Grouse Whisky, Deloitte and KPMG.
BIG's co-founder Alex Barr said: "Opening in England has been a long-held strategic ambition and we expect the Liverpool office to be profitable within the first year.
"Operating from Scotland, we've worked very successfully for clients throughout the UK and internationally for many years, proving that you don't necessarily need to be in London to generate outstanding results.
"However, when Peel Ports, one of our longstanding clients, asked us to extend the work we do for them, centred on the Port of Liverpool and the Manchester Ship Canal but including ports on the Medway and the Lancashire Port of Heysham, it represented a significant new opportunity for us and provided the ideal platform for us to establish our first office in England."
The new office will be headed by former CEO of Liverpool Chamber of Commerce Jack Stopforth, one of the North West's best-known business figures. Stopforth, who was awarded an MBE in the recent Queen's Jubilee Honours List, will join the main board of BIG to strengthen its public affairs and government relations offer to existing clients and will manage the business in England.
Stopforth has held several high profile roles across the region, including past chairman of Cumbria Learning and Skills Council, board member of the University of Central Lancashire and a director of the North West International Trade Board, based in Warrington.
He currently holds non-executive director roles at Liverpool Community Health Trust, Merseyside Special Investment Fund and Liverpool John Moores University.
Stopforth is no stranger to PR and public affairs work, having successfully built up Stopforth Bright Anderson Limited in Liverpool and the West Midlands, selling to Precise Communications in 1997. He then became managing director of Cumbria Inward Investment Agency before moving to the top job in Liverpool Chamber in 2005.
Stopforth said: "I am very excited about returning to the agency world after years spent commissioning work as a client.
"I especially like the challenge of building on The BIG Partnership's superb credentials in Scotland and growing the business in England, starting in the North West.
"As well as Peel Ports, we're already in very positive discussions with a number of businesses and organisations in the region and expect to be in a position to announce several more client wins in the near future.
"I'm convinced that BIG's approach, based on sheer hard work and demonstrable expertise, will appeal to a clientele that increasingly demands evidence of effectiveness and value for money."