Beattie merges with Belfast PR group to drive 'aggressive' growth

Beattie, one of the UK’s largest integrated communications agencies, is to join forces with a Belfast public relations firm and create up to 20 jobs as part of an “aggressive” growth drive.

From left: Joanne Spence, David McCavery and Laurna Woods. Picture: Roddy Scott

The Scots-founded communications heavyweight has announced a deal with Northern Irish agency Serious which will create a new company called Beattie Ireland.

Billed as a merger between the two firms, the agreement will see Serious rebrand to become Beattie Ireland.

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The newly created firm expects to create six roles over the next six months in Belfast and Dublin, where it will launch an office to complement the existing Serious base in Northern Ireland, followed by a further 14 jobs in the next three years.

Beattie said it was targeting aggressive growth as it attempts to mirror the rapid expansion it has experienced since launching in Canada two years ago, where it now grown to operate six offices.

The agency, established 34 years ago, operates across the consumer, business-to-business (B2B) and crisis management sectors, while Serious works across the UK and Ireland as a B2B and reputation management agency.

Serious founder David McCavery, who will become managing director of Beattie Ireland, said: “Our aim is to establish ourselves as Ireland’s premier integrated communications agency offering PR, digital, social, content and creative as joined-up marketing services.

“We have big plans for development. We aim to create six new posts in Dublin and Belfast within six months of launch and then a further 14 roles over the next three years to bring our total number of Irish-based employees to 26.”

The newly merged company is set to launch at the beginning of October, but strong links are already being forged between the 50-strong Beattie team in Glasgow and their Irish counterparts, with the introduction of collaborative working policies and employee desk swaps.

Beattie Scotland director Joanne Spence said: “We have already plugged David’s people into our digital and PR studio in Glasgow, providing them with access to our specialist retail, travel, property, food and healthcare teams.

“It’s a partnership made in heaven and, under David’s leadership, we’re looking forward to building the Beattie brand in Ireland.”

Headquartered in London, Beattie employs 130 people and claims to have the largest office footprint of any creative agency in the UK, with major hubs in Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and Glasgow as well as its international network.

The firm counts brands like Specsavers, Vue Cinemas and Tesco among its clients.

Beattie chief executive Laurna Woods added: “This is our second joint venture. Our first was setting up Beattie Tartan in Canada where, in only two years, we have gone from one office in Victoria to six, including Calgary and Toronto.

“We have similarly ambitious plans for Beattie Ireland.”

The agency recently launched a transatlantic innovation team designed to work alongside brands on testing, developing and implementing creative campaigns for advertising, social, digital marketing and PR.