Reposted from http://ift.tt/1ACwccj
on September 11, 2014 at 09:35AM
Back in 2008, Richard Dawes and Stuart Bell were doing rather nicely in their respective careers. Dawes was head of press at Polydor, riding high on the success of the likes of Take That, Queens Of The Stone Age and James Morrison. Bell was a popular and fast-rising director at The Outside Organisation - to this day, one of the UK media’s most influential PR institutions. (He was also, it’s only proper of us to note, a double Music Week Award winner.)
But in 2009, everything changed. Just three months after the birth of Dawes’ first child and three months shy of Bell’s wedding, they both quit their reliable jobs to establish DawBell - their very own communications agency. There was no guarantee of clients, income or reputation, although they certainly had youth on their side - Dawes
was 34, Bell just 30. It was a hugely ambitious gamble for the pair, who say today that although they were all-too-aware of the risk involved, they could never have forgiven themselves for not rolling their entrepreneurial dice.
All’s well that ends well: this month, DawBell celebrates its five-year anniversary. The company stands as a widely respected PR agency in music, entertainment and beyond, famed for its energy, youthful outlook and can-do approach.
“We arrive at our fifth year with a team of 25, continuing to successfully grow and be a full-service agency that now works with the biggest brands and artists in music,” says Dawes. “I don’t think a lot of people know how big we are. We like to think that’s because we operate with a boutique mentality.”
The pair both acknowledge that the biggest turning point in their history was winning the account for the BRIT Awards in 2010, up against the most established PR competition in the entertainment industry. “That really felt like the moment we became a grown-up agency,” says Bell. “It’s helped define us to a certain degree. When you do something that big and iconic it helps you relate to brands and events that aspire to be at that level.”
Although DawBell’s musical roster boasts some of the biggest names on the planet - including Elton John, Black Sabbath, Take That and Paul McCartney - the company has continued to endeavour to bring new talent to the mainstream. Their biggest coup this year surely has to be Capitol-signed Aussie pop/punk band 5 Seconds Of Summer - the biggest new international group of 2014. Elsewhere, UK soul star Laura Mvula’s career continues to progress, backed by heavy broadsheet support. And DawBell is backing a range of UK talent bubbling under for 2015.
“As well as working with the biggest names in music we’ve proved we can break new acts too,” says Dawes. “In the last year we’ve concentrated on trying to attract exciting new acts and have been fortunate to work with Laura Mvula and 5SOS who have both done incredibly well already and are just at the start of their ascendancy. Breaking acts is one of the most exciting parts of doing what we do. The acts we’re excited to be working with right now include: Laura Doggett, Troves, Eliza & The Bear, Flyte and Dolomite Minor.”
Working with established talent, though, brings its own unique rewards. Bell has strategised with Sir Paul McCartney since his days at The Outside Organisation. DawBell helped steer the successful launch of the Beatle’s latest album, New, last year - including a headline-grabbing spot of afternoon busking in Covent Garden.
“To be part of Paul McCartney’s continuing amazing career is incredible,” says Bell. “He continues to break records and release chart-topping albums - he’s in uncharted territory, completely unique.”
The duo’s other highlights from the past year include Elton John editing an edition of Clash Magazine, 5 Seconds Of Summer dominating the covers of the rock press and Sam Smith’s live TV performance as part of a world-first ad for Google Play - all projects which DawBell tailored for a plethora of global online and print media.
“We have a very creative, young team that have worked across a diverse set of clients over the last five years,” says Dawes. “All our clients get to draw on so many skill sets from within the team. We’ve diversified our client list into events, brands and personalities outside music, which helps bring a lot of opportunities for the artists we represent.”
Dawes and Bell are keen to emphasise their team’s growing expertise in the digital and social media realms, which are mutually increasing in importance for artists looking to spread their ‘message’ every day. “We’ve only just started going out and telling people about the successes we’ve
had running digital and social media campaigns - we feel that we’ll be doing a lot more in that arena over the next few years,” says Bell.
Adds Dawes: “As for the future of DawBell, popular culture is changing at breakneck speed and we know we have to constantly innovate and adapt our offering but still offer a premium service.
“We always want to be that agency that goes the extra mile, the one that comes up with the unexpected, exceptional ideas and continue to grow while at the same time never losing the boutique mentality we have. The same goes for the family feel the company has and the flat hierarchy we’ve tried so hard to maintain, we know we can’t function or enjoy what we do without that. We are aspiring to be kings of influence.
“The definition of PR is changing by the day but influence will always be an essential part of making things happen for any band, brand or person.
“We want to make sure we continue to sharpen our skills, experiences and relationships that will help us continue to influence and create measurable impact for all our clients wherever the shifts in popular culture take us.”