About

Hello. Welcome to Houston PR.  

We’re an award-winning PR agency based at Somerset House in London.

We transform the reputation of organisations – from global market leaders to start-ups with the kernel of an idea.  We catalyse conversations about the brands we represent by telling interesting and engaging stories about them and the markets in which they trade.  We encourage all of our customers to communicate like challenger brands, ready and willing to transform the markets in which they trade. 

Our methods include traditional public relations, storytelling, marketing communications, Government relations, creating new names for products and services, negotiating partnerships, public affairs, events, eye-catching initiatives, stunts and our own social tactics that don’t fit a mould or a menu.

We only do work that makes a measurable difference.  Some of this work may well have caught your eye or your ear.  Some of it may have persuaded you to spend or make different choices.  All of our work has a deliberate strategic intent.

We have, for example, launched Britain’s latest consumer champion, pleasepress1.com.

We’ve launched Britain’s first subterranean farm.

We conceived and launched the ‘Facebox’ reading campaign for Asda, Puffin Books and the Dahl Foundation, putting story extracts on the backs of millions of cereal boxes and helping Asda sell more own-brand cereal than Kellogg’s for the first time in their trading history.

We launched ‘Feed Your Family for a Fiver’ for Sainsbury’s, putting budget meals on the dinner tables of millions of homes.

We sent a billboard to the edge of space for the University of Sheffield to encourage potential students to trade up to a place at Sheffield during the clearing round.

We explained that consumption of PomeGreat juice deflates ‘muffin tops’, leading to a 500% increase in sales.

We relaunched Milton Keynes as Britain’s romantic capital, leading to a surge in enquiries from homeseekers and businesses.

We announced record sales of ‘Grankinis’ for Debenhams.

We reclaimed the Hot Cross Bun for St Albans in partnership with Sainsbury’s, leading to the raising of significant funds for charity.

We announced the probable discovery of alien life in the stratosphere (honestly), the consequences of which may be immeasurable!

Between us we’ve advised on more than one hundred mergers and acquisitions, creating narratives to add meaning and context to the numbers.

We’ve handled crises with skills honed running some of the world’s busiest press offices. We’ve navigated businesses through the challenges of OFT investigations and Competition Commission enquiries.

We’re communications specialists, not sector specialists.  Our first task is to listen, then understand, then translate complex information into simple messages that come alive.  

We work with businesses and organisations of all types and shapes and sizes – from toothpaste companies to investment banks, from supermarkets to universities.

All of our work makes national and often international headline news – and spreads like wildfire across social networks.  Our clients have featured everywhere, telling their own stories – from Newsnight to Desert Island Discs. We love what we do – and we think it shows in the results that we deliver for our clients.

For a discussion about how we can help your business, call Hamish Thompson on +44 (0) 7702 684290.

 

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Services

Everything is now public. Businesses don’t own their brands in the way that they used to.  Their customers do.

What influences our choices as consumers are ‘people like us’.  That’s why we read reviews.  That’s why we follow people on Twitter.  That’s why we tend to avoid ads.  That’s why Facebook is investing millions in ‘Graph Search’, exploring and indexing the choices of our friends so that we can make better, safer choices based on theirs.

We see our role as ‘brand shepherds’, helping our clients to engage with their customers and steering public conversations towards beneficial and profitable outcomes for both parties.

Billions each year are spent on SEO, yet what often drives choices is what we call ‘SUI’, or Shopping/Searching/Sharing Under the Influence.  All of our work is linked to influencing the choices of consumers, giving them the reassurance to transact – or the motivation to share or recommend to others.

The mix of techniques that we deploy differs vastly depending on the situation.  Our approach in each case is governed by three principles:

1. Creative, engaging and intelligent storytelling.

2. Careful planning, rigorous analysis, commercial nous.

3. Beat and outpace the largest agencies on quality of consultancy and outcomes.

Here is a summary of the services that we offer:

    • Tens of thousands of examples
    • Dedicated team of specialists
    • Imaginative proactive approach

    Product Placement

    • All part of the service
    • Loads of imaginative examples
    • Sum - more than the parts
    • Award winners

    Partnerships

    • One of our specialisms
    • Enquire within for case studies
    • Award-winning examples
    • Most have a commercial and CR dimension

    Campaigns

    • Our bread and butter
    • Gold-plated contact book
    • Headline-grabbing stories
    • Twisting phrases to catch the light

    Media Relations

    • We give things good names
    • Brand shepherding (more on this when we meet)
    • SUI consulting (more on this when we meet)
    • No shortage of opinions

    Brand/Identity

    • Twitter
    • Facebook
    • Instagram
    • In-house digital designing
    • Social performance monitoring
    • Social branding
    • Digital campaigns

    Social

    • Proprietary techniques
    • These change by the day

    Digital

    • Eye-catching initiatives
    • Full set-up
    • Risk assessment / management
    • Media and social strategy / tactics
    • Performance monitoring

    Stunts

    • MA / restructuring / financings
    • Financial calendar announcements
    • Broadcast strategy
    • Executive appointments
    • QA / Lines to take

    Corporate

    • Transformational campaigns
    • PR strategy
    • Social strategy
    • Eye-catching tactical initiatives
    • Advice on naming
    • Reannouncements
    • Press office support
    • Conversation catalysts

    Consumer

    • Safe hands
    • Competition Commission enquiries
    • OFT investigations
    • Endless examples
    • Strategic approach
    • Media training
    • Statements / QA / Lines to take

    Crisis/Issues

    • PR strategy
    • Speaker / networking opportunities
    • Speechwriting
    • Media relations
    • Proper thought leadership (ie, content that people will share)
    • Tactical campaigns

    B2B

Clients

Team

Houston PR is made up of seasoned specialists: consultancy lifers, former in-house heads of corporate affairs and media relations, digital natives, former broadcasters and correspondents, wordsmiths, lateral thinkers, synthesists, strategists, analysts and more.

We haven’t named a consultant here, in part to frustrate headhunters, but largely because we believe that meeting us and having a conversation gives a truer sense of who we are, how we work and how we think.

Awards

Outstanding Small PR Consultancy of the Year, 2008 – Chartered Institute of Public Relations Awards

Outstanding Small PR Consultancy of the Year, 2009 – Chartered Institute of Public Relations Awards (we have now outgrown the category)

Chartered Institute of Public Relations President’s Grand Prix – Consumer Campaign of the Year

Chartered Institute of Public Relations Award for Corporate and Financial Campaign

Chartered Institute of Public Relations Award for best use of new media for the launch of the TechGuys

Chartered Institute of Public Relations Gold Award for the launch of PleasePress1.com

Chartered Institute of Public Relations Gold Award for the launch of the Facebox campaign for Asda, Puffin Books and the Dahl Foundation

Chartered Institute of Public Relations Silver Award for the launch of PomeGreat

Testimonials

We built our reputation on our ability to harness word of mouth in the best interests of our clients. Remaining true to our belief that word of mouth is the most powerful promotional asset on the planet we thought it best to ask our clients to say a few words about us.

Use the arrows to scroll along.

  • “The team at Houston PR are a dying breed. Luckily for them they get how to deliver, big impact, news generation PR coverage, all linked back to key messages. Something that is seriously lacking with other agencies. Their creative approach helps to deliver the water cooler conversational moments I am keen to deliver for Debenhams.”

    Ed Watson - Director of Public Relations at Debenhams
  • “Because of Houston PR, the Boring Conference, which originally started out as a single tweet (half-intended as a joke), quickly snowballed into something which Les Dennis, Louise Mensch and Jamelia were discussing on The Wright Stuff. The Sunday Times, the Guardian, the Sun, the Independent and the Independent on Sunday have all covered it, and the continued success of this event (and the fact I have to organise it every year) is largely down to Hamish and his team. I don’t think I can ever forgive them.”

    James Ward - Organiser / Mastermind, The Boring Conference
  • “I worked with Hamish for many years and his intelligence, perspective, hard work, creative input and support were of great benefit to me and the Group. I would have no hesitation in recommending him to any future client.”

    Stephen Campbell - Managing Director at Harveys Furnishing
  • “I’ve known Hamish for many years through his work with retailers and always found him to be helpful, well-informed and understanding of what journalists need.”

    George MacDonald - Deputy Editor at Retail Week
  • “While CEO at Lagan, I built a great relationship with Hamish as our external PR expert, raising our profile in national media in the UK, as well as in other domains. I found that he relishes a good challenge, and has a depth of good humour and creativity, even when under pressure.”

    Des Speed - CEO at PathXL
  • “Veritape has engaged Houston PR for specific case-based PR activities on more than one occasion. Throughout our relationship, I have found Hamish (as the driving force behind Houston PR) to be a person of great integrity, knowledge and understanding. He has a very detailed understanding of the national media, including individual journalists.”

    Cameron Ross - Managing Director at Veritape
  • “Hamish is extremely articulate, superbly clear and succinct in his communication style, a very talented and creative copy writer, and also very intuitive and responsive in his business partnering style. Hamish is a bright and very strategic communications executive who can also execute – the perfect combination.”

    Ben Bengougam - Vice President Human Resources EMEA at Hilton Worldwide
  • “Hamish has a consistent and rare ability to take complex information and translate it into something that comes alive.”

    Victor Basta - Managing Director at Magister Advisors
  • “Hard work, great advice and great connections. We get national and international coverage. None of this would happen without Houston PR’s input.”

    David Byk - CEO/ Group Managing Director at Swan Mill Holdings and Swan Mill Group of Companies
  • “His contribution to both tactical communication programmes, as well as the more strategic side of things in support of M&A activity was invaluable. Hamish has an acute sense of what the message needs to be to deliver the desired outcome.”

    Richard Millman - CEO at Total Fitness