Jennifer Sanchis caught up with BLUE Communications, a PR agency specialised in marine and energy industries, to discuss about their ‘Outstanding Specialist Public Relations Consultancy’ award and celebrate their 10th anniversary.
You have recently been awarded as the ‘2018 Outstanding Specialist Public Relations Consultancy’ by the CIPR in London. What does this represent to you?
Receiving this award really is a landmark achievement for us. We’ve always believed that the combination of an in-depth understanding of the marine and energy sectors married with true brand and communications expertise was a transformative combination for our clients. But to have this approach and our success with it championed on such a prestigious national stage reaffirms for us that we’ve built something really special at BLUE.
We were particularly proud to receive recognition from industry-leading PR professionals, with the judges feeding back that “BLUE Communications is a purpose-led organisation that, true to their word, is helping clients transform the shipping and marine industry for the better”. This shows us that we’re living our vision and values and have built a brand that truly represents who we are as a business.
In ten years, BLUE Communications has grown to become the largest global consultancy in the marine and energy sectors with a position in the PR Week UK Top 150. How have you made this possible?
BLUE started as a meeting of minds between an experienced energy and maritime journalist and a corporate branding and communications expert when they were both left wondering the same thing after a project – why isn’t there a business in this space doing effective, strategic corporate PR. The marcomms mix they could see was a smorgasbord of ex-journalist written press releases, sponsored coffee breaks at conferences, and crisis response.
BLUE started to do something different. We have since created a market for brand and strategy-led communications that supports the client’s business objectives, building reputations from the brand up, and moving far beyond basic marketing tick-boxes. We’ve grown the business organically from two people and two clients to over 20 staff and 40 clients spanning 14 different countries around the world. We’ve genuinely helped clients understand what they stand for, their vision for their business, their competitive differentiation, and the impact that they want to have on the market and created communications strategies that influence the most important people to their businesses.
We stay focussed on our specialist markets where we have the expertise and in-depth knowledge to best serve our clients; because we have a macro view of the market, we have the capabilities and contacts to extend our network to clients, providing business counsel and often creating commercial opportunities that goes way beyond the traditional remit of a traditional PR consultancy.
How is the marine and energy industry unique to you?
The marine and energy industries are truly global with unique structures and cultural nuances, with both sectors currently in a period of seismic transformation. The marine industry is experiencing the longest low in the history of its circular economics while also tackling unprecedented regulatory change driving decarbonisation, sustainability, digitalisation and workers’ rights. The global energy transition, triggered by the Paris Agreement, is similarly shaking the foundations of the energy industry, introducing new players and paving the way for disruption and innovators.
In both sectors, having a detailed understanding of the myriad stakeholders and their differing mindsets and challenges, as well as the impact of regulations and policy and the industry issues they address, is central to developing strategic communications and brand building strategies that genuinely drive business growth. Effectively wielding and employing this knowledge will pave the way for businesses to seize the opportunities of changing markets.
Particularly prevalent when working with new market entrants, we’ve found that an intuitive understanding of marine and energy and ‘speaking the language’ of its stakeholders allows us to guide clients to deliver messaging and creative communications programmes that resonate, marrying true disruption with insider intelligence.
Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?
It’s often said that we’re a ‘niche’ agency. We certainly have clear specialisms, but our niches happen to be two multi-trillion-dollar global markets! As such, we believe we’ve only scratched the surface of what we could achieve in the next 10 years.
We’ve recently expanded our offering to include design services, an increasingly vital tactic for the communications toolkit in our highly-visual digital age and an integral part bringing brands to life. As the communications literacy of our specialist markets matures we aim to be setting the benchmark for the next generation of brand-led, strategic communications – authentic to each client, grounded in in-depth insight and empowered by creativity.
Fundamentally, we want to help our clients transform the future of marine and energy. And we’re not going to rest until we do.