School Reports 2014: Total Media


Score: 6  Last year: n/a

Total Media may not be the trendiest agency in town but, after reporting a record year for new-business wins and recording annual revenue growth of 15 per cent, do fripperies such as fashion really matter?

This growth follows several years of internal overhaul, which Total Media describes as "painful, disruptive and even scary" but ultimately more profitable. To stay in the game, the agency has invested in data and research, built an international team and worked to integrate its departments to adapt to the changing media world. It credits the evolution for its revenue growth and the fact that digital is now nearly a third of its overall spend.

In terms of new business, Total Media won 13 accounts – though most, such as the Irish Mushroom Board, were modest in size. Other wins included The O2 and English National Opera, reflecting its historic strength with entertainment clients.

Total Media also concentrated on nurturing relationships with its existing clients, securing more business from 20 of them, including the Woodland Trust and Slimming World.

However, Total Media lost as many accounts as it won, though none of the 13 to go out the door impacted significantly on the agency’s growth.

Among the softer metrics, a heavy focus on staff led to Total Media being one of only ten agencies to receive the new platinum accreditation from the IPA for its continuous professional development programme.

At the end of a pedestrian year, it should be the aim of the agency to leverage its development to bring in bigger clients and fuel continued growth. And maybe it could look at becoming just that little bit trendier.

How Total Media rates itself: 7

Total Media's year in a Tweet: 2013 was pivotal for Total Media: investment in new teams and services was rewarded with 15%+ income growth and new wins with ENO

Total Media
Type of agency Media planning and buying
Company ownership Independent
Key personnel Mike Sell chairman
Guy Sellers chief executive
Thomas Laranjo managing director
Lucas Brown chief strategy officer
Daniel D’Mello finance director
Nielsen billings 2013 £40m
Nielsen billings 2012 £35m
Declared income £7.5m
Total accounts at year end 66
Accounts won 13 (biggest: English National Opera)
Accounts lost 13 (biggest: Omega Pharma)
Traditional 68%
Digital 31%
Other 1%
Number of staff 100 (+4%)

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.