Industry trailblazers and calculated risk takers from the off, Popcorn began when founder Louise Lloyd – pregnant with her second child – decided to trust her intuition and do things her way, opening the agency with no investment, no partners, no clients, no premises and no staff.
Louise says, “I had a vision for an agency with a fantastic culture that delivered truly brilliant work that didn’t rely on ‘smoke and mirrors’ and spin. I had a ‘build it and they will come’ approach for the first 3 years which involved making long term decisions for the greater good, which took bravery when it came to not living by the P&L.”
From a small team of four in a 300sqft office; the past seven years have seen Popcorn graduate from a client book of just one – Walkers Shortbread, which the agency still retains today – to a roster of household names.
Louise says, “With Popcorn we laid solid foundations, rather than rushing to be something else. Being independently owned allowed us to do this. We took on staff with specialisms we didn’t quite need yet, in order to enter new categories. We aimed high, delivering epic projects by pushing every penny into builds and assets ‘for the case study’. We have largely sat at around 70% capacity by choice, because headspace allows magic to happen.”
Moving into the current 4000sqft office space in 2013, when Popcorn was a small team of four, is just one example of how the agency is always ‘thinking big’.
Over 30 proud wins and shortlistings for industry awards later – including winning the ultimate accolades of CIPR Outstanding Small Public Relations Consultancy AND Special Award for Outstanding Public Relations Consultancy of the Year – Popcorn continues to put care and emphasis on recruiting the very best people and staying true to its values when pitching for business.
Louise says, “Reflective of our powered by people approach, we have a team of people who genuinely like each other, which is recognised by many people who meet Popcorn. Plus, we have genuine relationships with our clients and enjoy working with them all. I am very proud of the clients that have organically grown with us and really trusted in us to conceive and deliver brilliant work, continuing to extend our remit within their business. Panasonic Tash Modern and the Edible ‘Bel’ Board are real favourites.”
So, with the agency committed to attracting and retaining the brightest talent, who better to share the highlights of the past seven years than some of the people behind the red and white stripes of Popcorn PR?
“My highlight is without a shadow of a doubt winning the CIPR overall Outstanding Public Relations Consultancy of the Year. To win Outstanding Small Public Relations Consultancy wasn’t even a dream come true, as it would never have entered my head when previous winners were industry goliaths with global networks, official graduate schemes and fee incomes off the scale. To win an accolade of this proportion just three years into our journey, having been recognised by such a high calibre panel of judges in a category that can’t even be entered, was mind blowing. We have truly believed from the start that we do things differently, both in the delivery of the creative campaigns we conceive and the human behaviours we value in all interactions – internally and externally – but for these points to be noted, and for judges to say we are a new breed of agency breathing life back into the PR industry, was so rewarding. We felt we were going in the right direction and this gave us affirmation.”
Louise Lloyd, Founder
“My personal highlight was going to pitch for Thorpe Park on my second day at Popcorn…and we ended up winning the account! What a way to start! We have an incredibly smart team here, and I have a feeling that 2019 is going to be an amazing year and I’m very excited to be a part of that.”
Laura Morris, Associate Director
“From creating an edible Bel-board for Mini Babybel, to touring the country with the legendary Chris Kamara to uncover the nation’s ‘Hairy Tales’ and opening the ‘Tash Modern’ (the world’s first facial hair gallery) with Panasonic, my highlight is getting to work with such a passionate, creative and inspiring team every single day to create breakthrough PR campaigns for such iconic brands whilst having a lot of fun along the way!”
Kate Harris, Director
“It’s too hard to choose one highlight from my time at Popcorn; it sounds cliché but there really have been so many. However, a big day for me was when we moved into our current offices; four of us opening the doors to a huge (well, it certainly felt huge for four people) red and white candy-striped office, unaware but excited for what it had in store. Whizzing around on office chairs, looking around the empty space while chatting about our Popcorn dreams and plan – little did we know that the journey ahead was going to be even better than we anticipated. Now, looking around that ‘huge’ office, it’s packed with an amazing team that welcomes incredible clients through the door and produces fantastic campaigns. Watching Popcorn grow into what it is today is certainly a special highlight that I feel lucky to have been a part of. Here’s to many more phenomenal years…”
Sophie Durrant, Account Director
“One of my favourite highlights was the partnership we established with Alzheimer’s Research UK in association with The Perfume Shop. With research highlighting that scent is the most provoking sense when it comes to memories, we embarked on a three-year project to help raise money for the fantastic charity through a multi-pronged PR, experiential and social ‘Memories Matter’ campaign. Kickstarting with the UK’s first ever multi-sensory experience, for which we were given the direct blessing of author Nicholas Sparks to screen his story of The Notebook, the campaign also drove donations through a fun social mechanic fronted by famous faces. The campaign strategically drove awareness of the devastating illness that is Alzheimer’s and was at the core of all The Perfume Shop’s activity (from store to head office!) to raise much needed funds for groundbreaking research. It was an absolute pleasure to work on a campaign that resonated with so many, and the results speak for themselves. Another campaign the whole Popcorn team are truly proud of.’
Hannah Brudenell, Account Director
“My highlight from my time at Popcorn so far was being thrown into the world of PR in my first week, helping out at The Laughing Cow Snack Like You experiential at Spitalfields Market. The pop-up was a huge success and it looked amazing. Coming into the project late and seeing all the team’s hard work and preparation pay off gave me an idea of how amazing the Popcorn team are and what I had in store for me.”
Alexa Joel, Account Assistant
“Whilst I honestly and genuinely do feel proud each and every day at Popcorn, I think winning ‘Outstanding Small Public Relations Consultancy’, as well as ‘Special Award for Outstanding Public Relations Consultancy’ *brag alert*, at the CIPR Excellence Awards still has to be one of my most stand-out and pride-popping moments of Popcorn’s seven-year journey to date. As a category that couldn’t even be entered and to have therefore made such an impactful impression on the judges and as a new agency on the block at the time, it really made me stand back and realise just how much we had achieved in such a small amount of time. In the words of the judges, we certainly have been ‘one to watch’!”
Sara Howard, Managing Director
“At Popcorn there’s never a dull day. Finding out we had got through to the final stage of pitching for THORPE PARK during our Christmas conference at Disneyland Paris was a total highlight for me, everyone was so excited and the fact we ended up winning the account really topped it off! I’ve never experienced such a supportive and positive workplace as I have working at Popcorn, it’s one big creative family and no idea is ever a bad one.”
Megan Hughes, Account Assistant
“My personal highlight was working on the Panasonic Experience Fresh influencer weekend away, which was held at Port Lympne Reserve in Kent. A lot of hard work went into planning and executing the event, which saw top parenting influencers and key journalists join Panasonic at Port Lympne for a Halloween inspired immersive cooking demonstration, private safari, three course private meal in Port Lympne Hotel followed by toasted marshmallows. Guests stayed overnight in glamping tents kitted out with personalised touches and bespoke goody bags, at Bear Lodge, which overlooked the bear enclosures and rolling Kent hills. Each family also received the Panasonic kitchen appliance of their choice. The trip was extremely rewarding and helped build relationships with key influencers while delivering Panasonic’s key messaging and generating fantastic blog and social coverage.”
Lily Morris, Account Manager
“Popcorn really is one of a kind. Having worked in a PR role at the business for over three years, taken a short break to explore an inhouse content role and then returned to manage content at the agency, it’s been really inspiring to see Popcorn constantly moving with the times, evolving toward a unique structure and approach that caters to all aspects of client needs. From winning two agency awards in one night at the CIPR Excellence Awards and working on the award-winning Old Speckled Hen #HuntForAHen campaign, to celebrating numerous new client wins and campaign successes; I’m proud to be part of a team that not only embodies industry excellence but also champions a supportive work environment and encourages personal development, with each and every individual truly being each other’s biggest cheerleaders. Here’s to the next seven years!”
Katherine Chambers, Content Manager
“I’ve only been at Popcorn four months but have already seen how hard the agency works and plays! From the excitement of making it through to the pitch round for Thorpe Park after being recognised for all our hard work and eventually winning the account, to seeing how hard the team work for clients, ensuring we always meet or exceed KPIs for projects even at a time when the news is saturated with similar content; Popcorn prove time and time again that teamwork really makes the dreamwork.”
Sophie Collier, Senior Account Manager
“Coming from client side, I have known Popcorn as an agency for a while and have been lucky enough to see how hard they work from a client perspective. Being a Popcorn client when they brought the Perfume Bar to life was incredible and now being part of Popcorn as a Popstar – I love it even more! There are so many highlights, but what really stands out is seeing how hard everyone works together as a real team.”
Joey Guedes, Senior Account Executive
“One of my personal Popcorn highlights was sitting on an expert panel at a Panasonic event in October, exploring topics around influencer marketing, the role for brands on social media, content creation and planning. Sitting alongside peers and influencers, the event coincided with us kicking off a huge influencer project for our client Panasonic, designed to drive awareness and engagement of their small kitchen appliances by tapping into the credibility of some highly influential foodies. It was a great opportunity to tie this into a discussion about how the influencer landscape has been shifting, talking to an audience about how we measure the results and more importantly demonstrate the ROI of these types of campaigns. Obviously, the golden opportunity for a notorious chatter box too!”
Victoria Coppin, Digital & Social Director
“Working at Popcorn means you have an extended family, something which was strongly shown to me when I came back to work after losing my dad. It was a very hard time, but at Popcorn everyone is there for each other in good and bad times. I have so many great funny memories of Popcorn nights out and have loved working on Popcorn socials; seeing all the planning come together, watching everyone’s surprised faces and seeing them enjoy themselves is what it’s all about!”
Lesley Wakefield, Office Manager
“Being part of Popcorn PR means fun and laughter aplenty in the office. Hard work gets done, but great fun is had too!”
Gemma Major, Finance Manager
“One of my best memories at Popcorn was being part of the team that worked so tirelessly to deliver one of the most creative, meaningful and successful campaigns that I’ve ever worked on, with our Moonpig and Mind experiential. The day started bright and early with an appearance from campaign ambassador Denise Welch on Sky Sunrise, where statistics commissioned by Moonpig were also featured with a brand credit. Coverage continued to land throughout the day, with the installation even receiving a mini feature on ITV’s This Morning. Another favourite was definitely my first Popcorn social at Penn Fest where MUCH Prosecco was drunk to a back drop of Fun Loving Criminals!”
Francesca Rich, Director