Clutch, Washington, D.C., research and consulting firm, helps clients to find the right PR and other professional service firms. It lists 15 “effective” PR firms.

Mike BearesMike Beares

Mike Beares, who founded the company in 2012 and who heads a 21-member staff, was previously at Unisys where he led a team of managers in the consulting and integration unit.

The firm, based on research among clients of PR firms who were asked to evaluate them, has published a list of 15 firms that have brought results for the clients.

They are, in alphabetical order: 

--Bateman Group
--Big Fish
--Blanc and Otus
--EMSI PR
--Firecracker PR
--JRJ Marketing
--Jones Social & PR
--Marketing Maven
--Media Source
--Newman PR
--Pinkston Group
--Shelton Interactive
--Sonata Venture Solutions
--Taylor & Co.
--TrizCom PR

Four of the firms are in the O’Dwyer ranking: Bateman Group, Big Fish, Blanc and Otus, and Marketing Maven.

Timothy ClarkTimothy Clarke

Natalie CraigmileNatalie Craigmile

Other top executives of Clutch include Timothy Clarke, research manager, and Natalie Craigmile, marketing manager.

Beares says Clutch was created to solve a “two-sided problem—how do buyers of professional services and software find the best companies to meet a specific need, and how do leading service and software firms stand out from the sea of mediocre competitors?”

Buyers with a large budget can hire an expensive research firm to help in the search. Clutch helps companies to find “leading specialists at more nimble, focused companies” when there is a limited budget.

The firm has researched and reviewed more than 500 companies covering more than 50 markets.

PR Clients Interviewed

Clutch analysts spoke to current and past clients of the PR firms “to learn about their approach to crisis management, strategy development, and media exposure.”

Clutch says the quantitative aspect of the research process is the “Clutch  Leaders Matrix methodology,” which it describes as “a long-standing algorithm that maps each firm’s focus on PR against their proven ability to deliver quality results to clients.”

Says Jenna Seter, business analyst at Clutch: “A solid PR strategy is a crucial element to any company’s success in their industry. Strong PR agencies like the ones in our report, have a really great opportunity to capitalize on the growing need for strategy development on all different media platforms.”

Full-length profiles and client interviews are published the Clutch website.

Clutch says its research on the PR industry is ongoing and the ratings platform encourages interested companies to apply to be included in future coverage.

Methodology Described

Identifying service providers that meet your business and procurement objects can be a challenging task. With the Leaders Matrix, we simplify that activity.

The Leaders Matrix is a 2x2 matrix where service providers are mapped based on their areas of focus and their proven ability to deliver. Leaders Matrices are developed for key service markets where unique skills are required. A full list can be found here.

Ability to Deliver

The "Ability to Deliver" dimension is composed of three evaluation criteria, each with several underlying metrics. Each provider is scored from 1 to 10 on each metric with the values rolled-up to the three evaluation criteria then an overall score for Ability to Deliver. 

1. References and reviews - The most highly weighted component is feedback from clients. We contact current and former clients and get their input on a range of qualitative and quantitative topics. Client feedback is weighted by project size and complexity. Quantitative scoring includes the following elements:

  • Quality - Quality of services and deliverables
  • Cost - Overall value and conformance to cost estimates
  • Schedule - Ability to meet deadlines and meet agreed project schedules
  • Willingness to refer - Willingness to refer a colleague to the company

2. Clients and experience - The second criteria evaluates the client portfolio and types of projects completed for those clients. Key questions include the following:

  • Clients - What are the characteristics of the company's clients? Has the firm delivered to discerning global brands or a less sophisticated client set?
  • Experience - How deep is the company's experience as communicated through case studies? Do the case studies illustrate an ability to deliver complex projects and create value?
  • Proof points of focus - How well does the firm's experience align with their stated services strategy and areas of focus?

3. Market Presence - We consider the following questions in developing the market presence score:

  • Marketing presence - Is the company information presented in a clear and professional manner that inspires confidence? Does their corporate website also provide consistent, high quality information with clear examples of past work?
  • Reputation - Has the firm developed a strong reputation and authority in their chosen sector? Is this reputation reflected in third party media sources?
  • Accolades - Has the firm won industry recognition or awards?
  • Social media - Does the company have a social media presence that reinforces their brand position and domain authority?

Focus

Each Leaders Matrix integrates one to three areas of focus, depending on the characteristics of the market being evaluated. For example, in the area of Mobile Application Development, the Leader's matrix has two focus areas. Both User Interface (UI) design and the technical aspects of Mobile Application Development are important for complex app projects. In the case of iPad app development, an additional dimension is included to account for the focus on iOS and the form factor of a tablet computer.

Providers submit quantitative data on their areas of focus and the data is reviewed and curated by a Clutch analyst.