Public Relations London

Why are the majority of Public Relations companies in London? How does Emmett & Smith fit into the London PR landscape?

Industry Scale

There is little definitive data available regarding the number of Public Relations Companies in London.  However, YouGov calculated that the UK PR industry contributes £9.62 billion to the UK economy, and has 62,000 employees. 

Prevailing opinion is that the majority of UK PR companies are in London.  This is probably due to the fact that with a population of over 8 million people, London is home to Europe's largest and wealthiest consumer base. By 2025, London will be the fourth richest city in the world. London is also the gateway to the European Union's 27 member states, the world's biggest single market, with a population of 500 million.  PR companies in London recognise this and benefit from their location.

London is a world-leader in the creative economy with concentrated clusters of creativity supported by some of the world's best talent. London is also the powerhouse of the UK's domestic creative sector, with one in three of the country's creative jobs based here.  Nearly 400,000 people are estimated to work in London's creative industries.

About the CIPR in London

The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) is the professional body for public relations practitioners in the UK.  PR Companies in London are represented by The CIPR Greater London Group which has over 2,700 PR professional members and is the largest single regional or sector group within the Institute.

The Greater London Group celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2013. Since 1983, this group of London PR Companies, has organised some great networking and social events, ranging from meet-the-media gatherings, to debates with some of the leaders in PR. More recently the London CIPR Group have brought together some of the leaders in digital, social and mobile to discuss how these technologies are changing our profession.

Emmett & Smith PR in London

Emmett & Smith has always been based in London.  It was set up in 1995 and operated out of a tiny room at the very top of Holman House, in Maple Street, situated at the north end of Charlotte Street in the heart of Fitzrovia, London WC1. 

The PR Firm expanded and in due course larger premises were sought and found in the same vibrant area, but this time at the south end of Charlotte Street. The Percy Street location suited the blossoming PR business perfectly being located close to Goodge Street and Tottenham Court Road Tube stations for easy access as well as being close to shopping in Oxford Street. Located above an off licence and below a brothel presented unique challenges and opportunities - as well as plenty of material for saucy humour.  After five years a rent increase of 30% was proposed which we simply could not accommodate so we became homeless and spent an interesting peripatetic six months in limbo looking for an alternative London base.

Fisher Street in Holborn, London, WC1 became the next address for the growing London PR agency.  Conveniently situated near the Holborn underground station but located next door to an electricity generator that hummed disturbingly all day and with little natural light this was probably our least favourite location.  The lease was not renewed and we moved on to our second favourite London address close to MI6 on the Thames at Vauxhall Cross.

The move to Market Towers on Nine Elms Lane took place in the summer. Seven floors up, overlooking the Thames we could see as far west as Battersea Power Station, the Oval Cricket Ground to the south of us, BT tower to the North and as far east as Docklands taking in the City and everything in between.  That was until St George's started work on the Vauxhall Cross development and pretty much all our view became obscured! Our next move was forced upon us because the landlord decided to empty the entire building for redevelopment. This precipitated relocation to an area of London we would never have previously considered, Chelsea, and an office acquisition which was not part of our plan at all - but events conspired in our favour.

Looking for office space to rent in London for a small business that is suitable for a PR agency is an enormous challenge.  Available space tends to be horribly scruffy or inordinately expensive and we have always taken the view that the office must be somewhere that you want to go in the morning. Looking for rental accommodation took us west to Imperial Wharf in London SW6.  This is a stunning St George's development on the Thames, next to Chelsea Harbour.  It has its own railway station, Imperial Wharf, right on the doorstep and  Clapham Junction is just minutes away as well as being just one stop from London's underground network. The location could not be more perfect. 

Events conspired in our favour and we ended up finding and buying an office suite from the Administrator.  We got a breathtaking deal so the mortgage is no more expensive than renting - the difference is that one day we will have some equity.  Modern, light, spacious and very well located with the added advantage of plenty of space nearby for any necessary expansion - we fully expect to be here for the duration.

London Curiousities

  1. “Big Ben” is the name of the bell not the tower.  The tower is called St Stephen’s.

  2. Buckingham Palace was built on the site of a notorious brothel.

  3. Just eight lives were lost in the catastrophic Great Fire of London in 1666 which raged for days across vast areas of London.

  4. About 25% of all people today living in London were born in another country.

  5. A culturally diverse and multi-ethnic city, London is home to people speaking over 300 languages.

  6. There are over 19,000 listed structures in the British capital.

  7. Gaslight was introduced in London in 1807; prior to this, torchlight was used.

  8. Her Majesty the Queen is not allowed to go into the House of Commons because she is not a commoner.

  9. About sixteen percent of the UK’s restaurants are located in London, and there are more Michelin-rated restaurants in London than in any city except for Paris.

  10. London’s underground system, commonly called “the tube”, was the first to be built anywhere, and it is one of the largest. Now, however, it is one of the most unreliable – and most expensive to maintain.