by Mike King
Wow, I can’t believe that this year marks the 20th anniversary of Johnson King. One minute I was in a small, two roomed office behind an Indian restaurant in Blackheath with lots of hair and a dodgy quiff and the next I’m sitting here wondering where it all went (the time as well as the hair).
When Sarah and I started the agency back in 1992 the tech industry was very different from today, nothing like as mainstream or accessible as it is now, and PR campaigns were much more straightforward with the focus usually on technical details and product features rather than topical issues, developing stories and building brands.
There was no public internet to speak of back then, all media outlets were print based and, amusing as it may now seem, weekly tech news was seen as fast moving and current. Technology was seen as a niche area to the extent that the mainstream newspapers just weren’t interested in covering technology stories. I can remember phoning a journalist on The Times to pitch a big tech story and being told, “Technology’s not our bag old boy.”
Roll the clock forward and not only has the tech industry exploded and changed dramatically but so too, of course, has the media, the way we work and what we deliver to our clients. The well known Heraclitus quote “the only constant is change” sums up the past 20 years perfectly for me and it is the way that we’ve evolved and grown as an agency over the years that gives me the most satisfaction.
We’ve been through boom times (during the tech boom of the late 90s there were so many well funded tech firms looking for PR support that clients were almost pitching to us to persuade us to take them on) as well as several recessions (the worst being the tech crash in the early 2000s that saw our revenues halve over a three year period) and we’ve reinvented ourselves numerous times to ensure we deliver dynamic and innovative campaigns and, in doing so, we’ve picked up many industry awards over the years.
The one thing that hasn’t changed is our dedication to providing the best service we possibly can to our clients. We’ve never been the biggest tech PR firm but we’ve always strived to provide the highest quality service and employ the best people. Our dedication to recruitment, training and staff development is well known and, in turn, we’ve been rewarded with amazing levels of hard work, commitment and enthusiasm from our staff. A big thank you goes to our incredibly talented team for their genuine brilliance.
Of course, we wouldn’t have an agency without our clients and we’ve had the opportunity to work with a huge variety of tech firms including some of the biggest, fastest growing and most innovative. In this our 20th year, I’d also like to thank all our clients past and present for their support.
As for the future, we’ve got big plans and, given the rate of change in both technology and the media, I’m sure the years ahead are going to be even more of a whirlwind with plenty of surprises to keep us all on our toes. It’s going to be fun.