Cicero nominated for ‘Consultancy of the Year’ at leading industry awards

Cicero Group has been nominated for ‘Consultancy of the Year’ at the annual Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA) Public Affairs Awards 2019.   

The awards, which are the only dedicated accolades for the UK public affairs industry, honour the best agencies from across the previous 12 months, with the awards ceremony taking place on 5 December at a black-tie event in central London. Cicero is defending the Consultancy of the Year honour, which was awarded in November 2018.

If you would like to find out more about how Cicero can support your organisation, please do get in touch.

Associate – Political Monitoring

Job details: 

Cicero Group is an integrated communications agency specialising in corporate PR, government relations, digital communications and market research aimed at business, consumer and policy audiences.

We are looking for an Associate to support our Public Policy Monitoring and Intelligence Service Cicero Pulse. The new staff members will be permanently based in London and the role will include opportunities to travel to Brussels.

Main tasks will include the provision of detailed monitoring of UK and EU parliamentary activities (e.g. plenary, committee hearings, public hearings), conferences and think tank to our clients across various sectors.

The ideal candidate will have:

  • Working experience in the UK or European Parliament/MPs office/MEPs office/government department/European Commission DG or similar is essential;
  • Understanding of both the UK and EU political landscape required;
  • Background in financial services advantageous;
  • Keen interest in political affairs;
  • Excellent English writing and editing skills;
  • Attention to detail and accuracy;
  • Exceptional time management and the ability to work under pressure;
  • Foreign language skills are advantageous, but not essential.

Closing Date: 15 November 2019

Interview/Start Dates

Please note that only those selected for interviews will be contacted and the interview process might start before the closing date.

Application Details

To apply, please send a one-page CV with the headline “Associate – Political Monitoring” to Judith Becker.

Irish Budget 2020 – A Cicero Group overview

Budget 2020 was presented in the context of a no-deal Brexit as per the Irish government’s assumption. This would mean a slower pace of economic growth in Ireland going forward.

Paschal Donohoe’s ‘Brexit Budget’ was never going to be ‘a something for everyone in the audience’ budget. That much had been clear for weeks as he and other government figures repeatedly dampened expectations, warning of the need for fiscal caution as we brace for a potential Hard Brexit. The headline figures confirmed this, with no increase in pensions or changes in PAYE brackets, among other gaping absences which would normally be uncharacteristic from an Irish government in fiscal surplus. Nonetheless, these measures will not be enough to keep the state out of the red if Boris Johnson does find…

Click here to read Cicero Group’s overview of the Irish Budget 2020.

Labour: A Government in waiting? Getting to know the Shadow Cabinet

Ahead of Labour Party Conference this weekend, please find a link below to Cicero Group’s overview of the Shadow Cabinet – Labour: A Government in waiting? – shedding light on the key, but sometimes unknown, individuals who could be at the helm of a future Labour Government. We hope that you find this document a valuable resource in a period of significant political uncertainty.

Click here or scroll down to the page to access Cicero Group’s overview of the Labour Shadow Cabinet.

If you have any questions regarding the document or would like to discuss the potential policy impact of a Labour Government further, please get in touch by contacting Simon Fitzpatrick on simon.fitzpatrick@cicero-group.com.

Spending Review 2019 – A Cicero Group overview

In more run-of-the-mill political times, a new Chancellor’s first big outing in Parliament would be the landmark moment of the week in Westminster. But in the extraordinary times we are currently living through, it’s debateable whether it was even the landmark moment of the day.

Readying for an election

And yet the Spending Round announced by Sajid Javid today was highly politically significant. After a decade of restraint in pubic spending in the aftermath of the financial crisis, the message from Javid was clear: this is “the end of austerity”.

“We must not forget”, Javid said, “that Brexit is not the only thing that matters to the British people.” If anyone had a lingering doubt about the inevitability of a General Election, this remark should have dispelled it. This is a Government that is putting itself on an election footing and is acutely aware that an election campaign can never be fought on a single issue. Brexit delivery will be a potent issue for sure, but Boris Johnson and his team know they must have a sellable message on public services and the economy as well.

The Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell accused Javid of engaging in “grubby electioneering” and “opinion poll politics”. He is unquestionably right that the looming election was at the forefront of the Chancellor’s mind, but he will also know that this is going to present a challenge to Labour’s strategy. With Johnson, Javid et al loosening the purse strings, the potency of Labour’s attack on ‘out of touch Tories’ may be diminished.

In line with the issues on which the Johnson Government has focused during its first weeks in office, the issues of policing, the NHS and education all featured prominently in Javid’s statement. There was also a big boost for defence spending, and that feels like another election battle line being drawn, as Prime Minister Johnson no doubt prepares to contrast his commitment to the armed forces with that of an opposition leader who the Conservatives consider to be ‘soft’ on national security.

Brexit looms large 

It seems no Government economic statement is complete now without the announcement of more funding for Brexit readiness. This Spending Round ticked that box with a further £2 billion for Brexit preparations next year for border force staff at ports and business readiness.

The Chancellor’s statement has been overshadowed this week by Parliament’s latest efforts to take a no-deal exit off the table. But still the Government sticks to its strategy to try to show Brussels how serious the UK is about leaving without a deal if no alternative deal can be struck by 31 October. This latest spending allocation for Brexit preparedness is another building block of that strategy, but the message in the EU is likely to have been lost amidst the drama of the last 24 hours.

Only the beginning

It is important to remember that this was, unusually, only a one-year Spending Round as opposed to the usual multi-year settlement. That means the Chancellor – whether Sajid Javid or someone else – will be back again in a year’s time, by which point the Treasury will hope for a calmer political climate and the opportunity to set out a longer term roadmap for public spending.

Before then, there is also a Budget to deliver later this year, where more detailed announcements will be expected on the Government’s fiscal plans, as well as a new fiscal framework to “meet the economic priorities of today – not of a decade ago”.

There’s no question that we are only at the beginning of a new era in the political and economic history of the UK. But with the Brexit question still unresolved and an election seemingly imminent, it is far from certain what that future might look like, or even who will lead us through it.    

Click here to read Cicero’s overview of the 2019 UK Spending Review

Cicero named Consultancy of the Year at prestigious industry awards

The Cicero Group team is delighted to announce that we have been awarded ‘Consultancy of the Year’ at the 2018 UK Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) Public Affairs awards.

The win caps an exceptional year, following the successful acquisition of Westbourne Communications in June 2018 which created the UK’s largest independent public affairs agency. We have seen superb growth across each of our corporate communications, public affairs, digital and market research services, maintaining exceptional levels of client service, and have ambitious growth plans ahead for 2019.

The award is dedicated to our staff and our superb clients, without whom this success would not be possible.

If you would like to find out more about how Cicero can support your organisation, please do get in touch.

Cicero wins PRCA Ethical Champions award

Cicero is thrilled to have won the Large Agency category at the PRCA’s Ethical Champions awards.

Judges assessed Cicero’s performance in four categories: Staff welfare, ethical account management, recruitment & retention and ethical business practice.

Cicero was commended for our robust and ethical business practices, with clear processes in place to ensure ethical standards are maintained throughout the organisation. Among these, agreements with new clients are discussed at board level to ensure ethical standards are met and to monitor potential client conflicts, new staff members are issued with policy handbooks and HR induction sessions to ensure they meet professional charters and codes of conduct, and are provided with clear guidance on ethics and anti-bribery policies. Senior members of our Operations Committee (OpCo) are responsible for monitoring while client teams are empowered to raise ethical issues with management.

Recent initiatives that Cicero has undertaken include providing employees with 24/7 access to counsellors, financial advice, legal assistance and personal advice, private medical insurance for all employees, and setting a £500 per annum budget for each employee to use on flexible benefits in addition to a £500 budget per person on personal training.

In 2017 Cicero launched ‘Cicero Manas’, a mental health and wellbeing awareness programme, which has included a senior staff member sharing their experiences of overcoming depression, welcoming 400m Olympic hurdler Jack Green to share his story battling with mental health, and a third of Cicero’s total employees signing up for training in mental health first aid.

Cicero has also launched a number of initiatives in memory of our former colleague Nicola York, who passed away from bowel cancer in 2016. In addition to working pro bono for Beating Bowel Cancer, the Cicero team collectively cycled from London to Brussels and back during the summer to raise money for the charity. Each year an employee is named the best ‘corporate citizen’, rewarding employees who promote staff welfare and a caring environment, with a charitable donation made in their name.

Commenting, Parisa Namazi, Head of Talent at Cicero, said: “Ethical practice is a core value at Cicero. It is fundamental to the way we treat our people and the way we conduct business. Our talented people are our greatest asset so a commitment to staff welfare, respect, diversity and inclusion, continuous development and support is a no brainer for us. We have robust ethical business policies and processes with effective channels of communication, training and accountability in place. Ethical business practice is not only the right thing to do, but makes business sense. We are immensely proud to be recognised by PRCA as ethical champions for the industry.”

PIMFA – Designing for merging worlds

Digital

 

Brief

In July 2017, the Wealth Management Association (WMA) and the Association for Professional Financial Advisers (APFA) merged to become the Personal Investment Management & Financial Advice Association (PIMFA).

Cicero was commissioned to develop a bold and fresh visual identity that embodies the values of the new organisation.

 

Strategy and execution

In conjunction with the communications, marketing and events teams at PIMFA, Cicero identified three key tenants on which to build the new brand:

  1. A single identity representing the new organisation’s values that appeals to the audiences of both former trade bodies.
  2. An understanding of the organisation’s traditional customers and the fast-changing financial landscape.
  3. The brand should communicate how the organisation helps people on a personal level.

Our logo design reflects PIMFA’s corporate sensibility combined with the building blocks to grow new, secure networks.

Results

We designed unique brand guidelines and templates for all major PIMFA channels, including print, web, social and email. In June 2017, the new brand was launched to acclaim from the client team.

Get in touch for more information on how Cicero can support your rebrand.

BlackRock Investor Pulse – A global thought leadership programme.

Market Research

 

Brief

BlackRock wanted to deepen customer awareness of the brand in retail investment markets and create tools for building engagement with strategic distribution partners and institutional clients.

 

Strategy and execution

Cicero developed the world’s largest retail investment survey for BlackRock based on 31,000 adults in 20 countries.

Delivery included all concepts, strategy, research, write-ups, design and communications strategy across all territories, led from the UK. We produced content for marketing channels including direct marketing brochures in all 20 countries, presentations for intermediary channels, and content for web and social media.

 

Results

Cicero secured major PR coverage including exclusive media partnerships with CBS in the US, and strong coverage on the BBC and Sky News in the UK.

The findings were used in public affairs campaigns, with Cicero drafting BlackRock’s response to the UK Government’s Financial Advice Market Review.

RSA – The changing nature of risk facing small businesses in the UK.

Digital

 

Brief

Cicero was enlisted by leading commercial insurer RSA to produce a digital campaign aimed at raising awareness of the risks SMEs face, targeting both internal stakeholders and SMEs directly.

The campaign was focused on a report that outlined the many risk factors facing SMEs and how these are perceived by business owners.

 

Strategy and execution

A bold and innovative outlook was taken to highlight the original research produced by the Cicero team. This was achieved by developing a zealous theme inspired by the title of the campaign concept, Future Impacts, which was conveyed using futuristic imagery and bespoke illustrations.

The execution of the report took one month from inception to creation and was developed entirely in-house, with Cicero’s design and research teams responsible for developing the concept and theme of the report, all research, analysis and report visualisation.

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Results

The report was extremely well-received by RSA and key target audiences – notably staff, media, brokers and SMEs in the UK. We are currently preparing for the next report in the series.

The report also received a certificate of excellence at the SABRE Awards for best use of photography and illustration.

Get in Touch

Kris Makuch

Director of Digital

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