School Reports 2014: Carat

British Airways
British Airways

Score: 8  Last year: 6

In 2013, Carat became part of the Dentsu Aegis Network and hit its stride as a slick, modern-day multimedia operation: fit for purpose and leading from the front.

Building on a strong 2012, the agency devoted the year to championing a new vision for both itself and the industry based on convergence. The step change, sparked by the arrival of Tracy De Groose in 2010, is now coming into its own.

The new direction and collaborative approach played with clients old and new. Carat picked up 26 new accounts worth £70 million in 2013, including British Airways, Premier Foods and Thomas Cook, while successfully retaining the £30 million Santander business.

Carat’s work for its 220 clients has been top drawer too, helping the agency pick up 54 awards, including Media Campaign of the Year at the Campaign Media Awards and two Cannes Lions for Bodyform.

The fact that SCA, Bodyform’s parent, was the only client to leave Carat last year, despite receiving 22 national and international awards for its media activity, arguably says more about the client than the agency.

Carat continues to nurture talent, with the new head of HR, Sarah Leslie, breathing new life into its people development programme. There were 54 promotions, 33 graduate roles and 12 scholarships worth more than £4,000 for training in data visualisation, physical computing, digital film-making, copywriting and even Spanish.

Now fully at home in its Regent’s Place office, it is no great surprise that Carat featured in The Sunday Times’ 100 Best Companies. The agency begins 2014 with strong momentum.

How Carat rates itself: 8

Carat's year in a Tweet: Great work, 54 awards, notable wins, collaborative culture, embraced convergence, redefined media, drove business value.#lovetheschoolreport

Type of agency Media
Company ownership Dentsu Aegis Network
Key personnel Tracy De Groose chief executive
Matthew Hook managing director
Rachel McDonald managing director, Manchester
Dan Hagen chief strategy officer
Stuart Newman head of new business and marketing
Nielsen billings 2013 £846m
Nielsen billings 2012 £884m
Declared income n/s
Total accounts at year end 220
Accounts won 26 (biggest: British Airways)
Accounts lost 1 (SCA)
Traditional 76%
Digital 4%
Other 20%
Number of staff 593 (+10%)

Score key: 9 Outstanding  8 Excellent  7 Good  6 Satisfactory  5 Adequate  4 Below average  3 Poor  2 A year to forget  1 Survival in question

Footnote: *indicates where agencies claim the corporate governance constraints of the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation.