Last year was one of smooth transition for MacMillan Communications as Chris Sullivan took the helm as President of the firm, after having worked there for 13 years. “This was part of a well thought out succession plan that myself and the firm’s founder, Mike MacMillan, had been talking about for around five years," Sullivan says.
He explains further: “One of our greatest achievements in 2018 is the smoothness with which we managed the transition. Some organisations can have a bumpy period when there are significant changes at the top. It was very important to us that the clients and our team be kept apprised to avoid any hiccups. I’m pleased to say that eight months after the transition became official, we are still here, growing and delivering outstanding results for our clients.”
MacMillan Communications is a boutique PR agency which focuses specifically on the financial services space, with a significant emphasis on alternative investments. “We know these industries well, we know the media well and have a long track record of understanding the best ways to communicate on behalf of our clients and helping them get their stories out in the channels where they want to be heard,” Sullivan (pictured) says.
A key differentiator is that MacMillan is a flat organisation. Sullivan himself gets involved in all the client work and the firm’s account team is made up of experienced PR pros and former journalists. He says having senior people working on client accounts and making sure everyone understands the client goals and objectives is an approach which delivers superior outcomes.
Historically, MacMillan Communications clients have included asset managers, wealth managers, research providers, investment banks and a number of other sub-verticals within finance, but Sullivan is now observing new corners of the market opening up to his firm’s services. “We’re excited to see parts of the service provider space in alternatives growing. Fintech is one area that is really seeing some interesting developments and we’re having some interesting conversations with those types of firms,” he says.
“There’s a thriving infrastructure built up around the asset managers where we’re seeing new approaches, driven by compelling technology. In terms of telling those stories, there’s a natural crossover in the media where we’ve been so active for so long,” he adds.
Sullivan also notes larger organisations are showing greater interest in working with more boutique PR firms like MacMillan. He says the catalyst for this is two-fold. One is the intense specialisation of the media and the other is cost. “The media has gotten so diverse, yet at the time so specialised, that a firm with a strong focus on finance like ours can have deeper relationships with those reporters than a generalist PR agency. Firms are also cost conscious, which can play out in favour of a smaller, more nimble organisation,” Sullivan says.
However, although the firm is looking for growth, this will be done within reason. According to Sullivan: “In our DNA, we are a boutique firm and I don’t want to change that. I want to make sure all of our clients feel like their needs are being met and that any potential clients we may connect with will be a good fit with us culturally.”
On winning the award, Sullivan says: “We won a similar Hedgeweek award back in 2011 and as it is based on voting responses, it speaks volumes about a firm of our size, considering the competition is truly global. We’re very proud to have won again, and excited about what’s to come in 2019.”
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