Ben Smith, Founder, PRmoment.com
This week, in the latest of our life stories podcasts, I’m interviewing Louie St Claire, CEO of Harvard and board director at Chime Specialist Group
Harvard is part of the Chime Group, has a turnover of £7.5 million and grew by 18% last year.
It has 80 employees.
Chime originally bought Harvard in 2000 when it employed 200 people.
What I love about Louie and Harvard’s story is that when Louie joined the company in 2011 it was down to a revenue £1.2m and had 11 employees left.
So it’s been a proper journey – at the start it was all about survival, then a turnaround, then growth and recently Louie as the lead for a number of acquisitions for the firm.
Harvard clients include Facebook Workplaces, Cisco, Vodafone, Lenovo and Square.
Here’s some of the highlights of what Louie and I discussed:
[00:01:23] When Louie joined Harvard in 2011 it was down to 11 employees at one point, from a high of 200 employees 10 years earlier.
[00:01:23] Why, when Louie joined Harvard, it was simply about business survival.
[00:01:45] Why Louie reckons he was "the last chance saloon" for Harvard when he joined.
[00:04:22] Why Louie, Ellie Thompson and Pete Marcus bought into the vision of Harvard’s when they joined in 2011.
[00:06:14] Louie talks us through the stages of Harvard since he joined, from survival, to turnaround, to growth and finally acquisitions.
[00:13:37] What it takes, specifically, for an agency to build momentum.
[00:14:28] Why Harvard's Cisco win in 2013 was such an important win.
[00:20:27] Louie talks us through Harvard's acquisition strategy.
[00:20:41] Why Harvard bought US agency Method for £10.
[00:27:33] How has Harvard outperformed the market when it comes to winning new business?
[00:32:56] How your approach to managing a PR business needs to change as the business increases in size.
[00:35:28] Why growth is the only way agencies can give people opportunities.
[00:38:33] 20 years of change fuelled by the reshaping of the world order post-World War 2.
[00:41:32] Why Louie believes PR is getting its short-term versus long-term measurement priorities wrong.
If you enjoyed this article, you can subscribe for free to our twice weekly event and subscriber alerts.
Currently, every new subscriber will receive three of our favourite reports about the public relations sector.