Publishers of unLTD, HRM PR | Creative, has been on a journey of its own during the past 18 months after a change of ownership and, of course, guiding its clients through the communication issues a pandemic brings

However, with an expanded team that makes them a full service agency for the first time in the firm’s long history, and several new client wins during 2020, they are all set for the new year.

“Like everyone, business pretty much ground to a halt during the first lockdown but it also gave us a chance to reflect on what had been a very busy period from when myself and head of client management Allie Dransfield took over,” said chief executive Richard Fidler.

“We really focused on the sectors that we’re vastly experienced in and began to target the ways we could help businesses communicate better as their offices started to reopen.”

The tactic was a success as HRM picked up three estate agents in Brighton and Hove, Cleckheaton and south Manchester as well as a clothing firm in south Wales, who had pivoted their business to become specialist PPE suppliers.

Richard said: “Our reputation has always been very strong in the Sheffield City Region, and we’re proud of that, but working with firms across the country gives us a great platform to expand in 2021.

“We want to be trusted advisors for all things creative in the professional services, property, retail and healthcare sectors. It is so important to communicate honestly and with integrity.

“I think the past year has shown the value of communication. It is often not the plan or strategy that is at fault but the way the message is understood. Get that wrong and people lose trust and patience.”

HRM added five new faces to the firm throughout 2020 to reflect its growing client base. But, says head of client management Allie Dransfield, it isn’t just the number of people but the strength of the team that has increased.

“During recruitment we have very much gone with experience to add to our line-up. We have always encouraged graduates to start their careers with us – I speak as someone who did just that! – but we have taken the opportunity to bring in some really talented colleagues across our departments,” she said.

“The challenges we have had throughout 2020 are some that no one would have wished for but we’ve got through it and we have all learned so much not only about ourselves but the people we work with and for.”

This year will also see founder of HRM Martin Ross step away from the business as he retires from his consultancy role he has held since July 2019.

Richard said: “Martin has been synonymous with HRM for more than 20 years and has played an important role as a consultant for a number of our clients.

“We didn’t want to make a song and dance about the takeover 18 months ago as the most important thing is the service we give to clients. Martin was very keen that he wanted a smooth transition and that is what has happened.

“Both myself and Allie have learned so much from Martin and that has stood us in good stead. But we also have our own ideas and we very much want to make our own mark on how we do things.

“We’re now owned by the parent company of estate agents Redbrik, who themselves are leading the way in their sector particularly in the way they market themselves – which we play a key role in.

“Being part of a larger group also gives us additional confidence that we have a strong support structure on the non-PR and creative side.”

All things being equal, 2021 should be another strong year for HRM, says Allie: “We have very positive relationships with all our key clients, and we have just signed an exciting contract with the NHS in South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw.

“As a company we reflect and tell the story of our clients. A strong economy locally is vital to our success and that is why we engage – through our joint ownership of unLTD, for instance – with business leaders throughout our region.

“Who knows what this year will bring but what we do know is that we have a great client base and an unbelievably strong team who Rich and I are proud to work alongside. Let’s hope for a great year for everyone!”

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