School Reports 2011: Lida

Lida entered its tenth year of existence faced with the not entirely unusual conundrum of how to maintain its large existing client roster while also trying to grow its business. This can prove to be a painful challenge, so it is to the agency's credit that it managed to pull it off.

Recent Lida work: Mini
Recent Lida work: Mini

Score: 7

Agency fact file: Lida
Type of agency Direct marketing
Company ownership M&C Saatchi
Key personnel Lisa Thomas chairman
  Mel Cruickshank chief executive
  Pip Hulbert client services director
  Matthew Heath chief strategy officer
  Nicky Bullard creative director
Declared income £7.3m
Total accounts at year end 33
Accounts won 8 (biggest: Ikea)
Accounts lost 1 (Signet)
Number of staff 107 (+13%)

There was management change as Lisa Thomas was finally rewarded for her sterling service with an elevation to the newly created role of chief executive of M&C Saatchi Group, handing operational control - after a five-month interregnum - to her long-standing sidekick Mel Cruickshank. But the management transition did not go entirely smoothly: the creative director Shaun Moran resigned without a job to go to. Clients have largely remained loyal, although it is too early to judge whether Moran's replacement, Nicky Bullard, has made a mark.

Lida bedded down some big wins from previous years (the likes of Boots and The Carphone Warehouse) and retained its Mini account. It also picked up Ikea from Quant Presky Maves and Network Rail, while growing its links with the retailer DSGi with new work from Geek Squad. The only entry in the negative column of the ledger book was Signet, which took its account in-house.

Lida can be well-pleased with itself for overcoming the challenges of 2010. With its new management team settled, it must show that it can continue to do more of the same in 2011.

Score last year: 6

How Lida rates itself: 8

"We've had our best financial year ever at Lida. Our revenue has grown by 19 per cent, which has enabled us to break through the £1 million profit bracket for the first time. We've exceeded our profit target by 40 per cent, which can be attributed to growth from existing clients and our fantastic new-business wins. Key highs have been retaining Mini in January and winning Ikea in August."

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