Pilot Light

Inferno is a PR consultancy. This is not. This is Inferno’s blog.

Well, that’s that done then

with 5 comments

The sign of the dawn of a new era...That is what I tweeted this morning. A reduction in characters can really crystallise statements and facts it would appear (and that tweet was succinct even by Twitters standards!). So basically at close of business yesterday we announced that Inferno will merge with our sister agency Bite under the Bite name.

Which effectively means that, come May 1st 2009 (our sixth birthday coincidentally), Inferno as a PR brand will cease to exist. It will be no more. It has ceased to be. It has expired and gone to meet ‘is maker… etc etc

Although of course, it hasn’t (ceased to be, that is). Inferno was a name. It was a very good name for a PR agency I like to think (Suzy Sammons came up with it in a pub, as all good names should be created!), but it is just a name. The people, clients and the culture that gathered under that name – ah, well that’s a different story. And it is also a story that will not end with the disappearance of a name I like to think.
Indeed, from my point of view the merger was actually all about preserving what we have all worked so hard over the last six years to build – an incredibly strong and happy group of amazingly talented PR people doing exceptional work for some of the biggest, most exciting (and demanding!) clients in the business.

With this move, we provide our people with new and exciting opportunities, career paths and routes for development that, being perfectly honest, we might have struggled to give them over the next year at least due to these ‘interesting’ times. And tied to that we can now provide our clients with a number of additional, value-add services and access to real specialists and more senior experienced consultancy.

Basically, we all think it’s great news. We will be sad to see the Inferno name disappear, but business is all about change and opportunity and we are creating plenty of that!

Oh, here is the official press release if you are interested…

BITE AND INFERNO TO MERGE
Agencies combine strengths to deliver new communications model to the market

London, 21 April 2009 – Bite Communications Limited (“Bite”) and Inferno Communications Limited (“Inferno”), both wholly-owned companies of Next Fifteen Communications Group PLC, today announced that they intend to merge on 1 May 2009. By bringing together two highly successful agencies under the Bite brand, the merger will accelerate the company’s growth trajectory and further enhance its position in the UK market.

“The merger was conceived as a decisive response to these rapidly changing times. Agencies must be dynamic, agile and prepared to make big decisions. With communications at the heart of every brand’s development, there is a huge opportunity for PR agencies to become centres of strategic consultancy excellence,” commented Clive Armitage, CEO of Bite. “Add to this the developments in social media and the resultant requirement for human and interactive dialogue and it becomes clear that the right PR agency – with the right skills in narrative and storytelling, combined with the multi-channel expertise to take these conversations to market – will be incredibly well positioned now and in the future.”

Bringing together Bite and Inferno will deliver a new engagement model designed to meet the diverse challenges of this ever-shifting landscape. This model will be predicated on distinct areas of specialism that will include content, broadcast, analyst relations, corporate positioning and speaker bureau, underwritten by Bite’s renowned digital expertise that is woven into the fabric of each and every one of its campaigns.
In addition, the merger will bring an injection of senior resource and expertise that will dramatically expand Bite’s capabilities and reach. For Inferno, joining Bite will provide its clients with access to deeper executive resource alongside Bite’s client service teams, as well as access to Bite’s seven offices around the world.
Grant Currie, Inferno’s founder and managing director, will assume a position on the global board of Bite reporting directly to the CEO. He will be responsible for the continued development of Inferno’s tier one clients, as well as providing strategic services to Bite’s global client base. Paul Mackender will take on the role of deputy managing director, Bite EMEA, and will focus on developing the EMEA business supporting Kath Pooley, Bite’s managing director for EMEA.

Kath Pooley, managing director, Bite said: “With this merger Bite has shifted up a gear, exploring powerful new possibilities that will deliver an unbeatable competitive edge in our market. The combined strengths of the two agencies brings to the marketplace an incredibly compelling proposition that will provide existing and new clients the perfect mix of people and skill-sets to address all their communications needs and challenges in this new, complex, world. The new agency that emerges from this process will embrace this evolving landscape, particularly around our shared vision of delivering innovative, audience-centric, channel-neutral communications. In addition, the merger will provide a springboard for Bite’s aggressive growth plans in EMEA and further enhance the career opportunities for Bite and Inferno staff domestically and internationally.”
Grant Currie, managing director, Inferno added: “Inferno is really excited about the merger and joining with Bite. An emphasis on a strong and dynamic culture lies at the heart of both agencies, borne of having been part of the same Next Fifteen family since our formation and having maintained close working links. Over and above this, the new agency brings together all the strengths and depth of skills that clients expect in the modern communications consultancy and positions us incredibly well as a real force in the new world of content and conversations.”

Several clients of both agencies have already expressed excitement in what a combined company would be able to deliver for them. Alison Perkins, head of PR, Microsoft UK commented: “We view the Inferno and Bite merger as a strategic step forward that will help us meet our own ambitious communications objectives. For us, the advantages are clear: we get to keep the strong, core Inferno team that has provided us with stellar service for the last six years, while gaining access to the rich expertise of Bite and its senior consultants. The communications landscape has changed dramatically over the last year and this merger shows smart thinking that will benefit not just Inferno and Bite but their entire client roster. And I look forward to Microsoft being one of the first beneficiaries.”

It is anticipated that the majority of Inferno’s clients will transfer into Bite as part of the merger. At the close of the merger, the expected combined client roster of the two agencies will include AMD, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, Sony, Sun Microsystems and Symantec.

Grant

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Written by pilotlight

21/04/2009 at 10:03 am

Posted in Business, Media, PR, Tech

Tagged with , , ,

5 Responses

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  1. Hey Grant,

    As you say change, change, change…but can’t help but feel sorry to see Inferno go – you guys did some great work for me when I was at Microsoft. When I *finally* get some PR budget I’ll be giving you a call :-)

    But never say never, maybe “Phoenix” (feel free to TM that on me – no brand consultancy fee required) will rise from the Inferno ashes when this darn recession clears .

    John

    John

    21/04/2009 at 11:15 am

  2. Interesting move, but not a surprising one in the current economic climate. We’ve seen Loewy do the same thing with the creation of Speed, folding several of its agencies into one super-agency.

    It figures there is now a greater need for economies of scale, with smaller teams working within a single agency, rather than separating those teams off into standalone businesses with higher overheads, in order to keep competing clients happy.

    Given the combined tier-1 client list for the two agencies, I can’t help but think it’s going to be like sticking half a dozen feral cats in a sack, trying to keep them all happy about being represented under the same roof.

    Chris Green

    21/04/2009 at 11:45 am

    • Interesting and valid points Chris (although not sure our clients would want to be called ‘feral cats in a sack’!). It may surprise a few people, but we are finding that many brands in today’s ultra competitive world are willing to make a few sacrifices, so long as the right processes are in place, to get or keep the best :)

      pilotlight

      21/04/2009 at 12:10 pm

  3. Good luck. Having worked with both agencies since their foundation (gosh that makes me feel ancient), I have to say you are among the good guys.

    And Grant, you still owe me that pint!

    Stephen

    Stephen Pritchard

    23/04/2009 at 4:30 pm

    • Much appreciated Stephen. It has been great working with you – but don’t worry – you will get the same Inferno type service, just under a different guise :-) We look forward to working with you soon and we will chase up Grant for your pint.

      pilotlight

      23/04/2009 at 4:46 pm


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