Category Archives: News




Leadership team growth for Gong following major new business wins

London, 18 January 2018: Gong Communications, a multi-award winning B2B PR and marketing agency, has hired a dedicated Financial Director following a string of new business wins over the past six months. Joanne Cotterell joins the agency bringing with her a wealth of international PR industry and FD experience. She joins the leadership team alongside Founder and MD, Narda Shirley, Board Director, Amanda Lyons and Associate Director and Head of East Africa Operations, Nikki Francis-Jones.

Recent client wins at the agency have included South Africa’s Old Mutual Alternative Investments and African Infrastructure Investment Managers; The World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (an IFC Public Private Partnership project), a UK-based digital healthcare startup DoctorLink; and Olam Cocoa, the world’s leading cocoa supplier.

A major element of Joanne’s brief is to create a consolidated view of the business across the London and Nairobi operations, providing support for both teams to facilitate seamless client servicing.

“Gong is an agency with an inspiring raft of international clients and a strong sense of purpose. My experience of working with high growth companies across multiple locations is going to stand me in good stead to support the leadership team to build the business.” Joanne commented on her appointment.

Gong MD, Narda Shirley, added: “Bringing in an experienced FD at Joanne’s level with all of her commerciality and industry insight is going to be a huge boost for the team as we gear up for an ambitious period of growth. We are excited to have found someone who brings the numbers to life in the business in a positive way for the whole team.”

 With the ambition of achieving the highest standards of social and environmental sustainability, Gong became one of the first certified B Corporation PR agencies in the UK in 2017. B Corp is an international accreditation for organisations using business as a force for good.



Nairobi, Kenya. 6 July 2017

Beverly Amira, MD Gong Kenya

On 6 July Gong Kenya, Moody’s Investor Services and the Business Council for Africa (BCA) collaborated to stage a breakfast event on the subject of ‘Reputation Capital’ in Nairobi. The two speakers, Gong’s Group MD, Narda Shirley and Moody’s Head of Relationships in Africa, Sylvia Chahonyo, were introduced by Michael Monari, the BCA’s East Africa representative, who set out the membership body’s mission to help businesses make valuable new connections in Europe and in Africa among its community of 4000 members. The fifty-strong audience this morning included communications professionals and business leaders from industries as diverse as banking, insurance, technology, travel, real estate, private equity, government and energy. The breakfast discussion centred on the business value of reputation – how to crystallise, measure, manage, and protect it. Gong provided its 10 top tips for best practice in building and defending corporate reputations, giving a special shout out to B Labs East Africa and the certified B Corp community, which Gong has recently joined (B Corp certification is to business what fair trade is to coffee). Third party expert views and customer reviews, awards and accreditations were cited as key in building reputation ‘in peace time’ in the context of developing robust crisis communications strategies before trouble hits your business. Moody’s focused on the role of credit ratings agencies in risk management, explaining to the audience how this role is localised for the African continent. And the event wrapped with insightful questions from the audience on the role of internal communications in building workplace cultures that can withstand crises. Audience feedback was immediately positive to the point that Gong Kenya has already committed to host two more events in the series, one on ‘Cultural Capital’ and the other on ‘Social Capital’.


Download the Reputation Capital Presentation, Nairobi. 6 July 2017 here.


B2B comms agencies can be at the heart of the global movement using business as a force for good


Gong has become the UK’s newest B Corporation and part of a growing core of MarComs companies committed to ‘doing business better’. Following a rigorous assessment of Gong’s governance structures, employee culture and benefits, and our impact on community, the environment and our clients, the agency has successfully joined the ‘Year 2 cohort’ of B Corps in the UK.

B Corp is to business what Fair Trade is to bananas. The global movement is growing fast – with certified B Corporations around the world currently generating combined revenue of $36 billion. Companies like Patagonia in the US and Divine Chocolate and Ecover in the UK have achieved certification and entered a legally binding commitment to act in the interests of all stakeholders – not just shareholders.

Narda Shirley, managing director, Gong Communications said:

“Our core business is building reputations and relationships for clients who are doing extraordinary things for people, profit and planet. We are well versed in delivering effective PR with positive impact, but the B Corp process has formalised many of the things we took for granted as an agency in how we do business.”

Katie Hill, Executive Director, B Lab UK, said:

“B2B communications efforts are essential to the growth of the B Corp movement, raising the profile of the certification among the international business community as well as helping businesses to communicate their purpose to the wider world. It is great to have an award-winning corporate communications agency like Gong fully behind our mission both as part of the movement as well as supporting our own efforts to engage with more purpose-driven companies.”

Gong works with business to business clients of all shapes and sizes across the globe, with particular expertise in professional and financial services, agri-business, health, technology and energy sectors, as well as regional expertise in emerging markets and sub-Saharan Africa.  The agency’s international briefs include sustainability communications, corporate purpose and positioning, employee engagement and diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Narda concludes: “What’s more, we will harness the knowledge, experience and networks we gain from being part of the B Corp community to deliver even greater value for the exceptional clients and transformative businesses we work with.”

Welcoming fresh faces in to the fold


Award-winning agency prepares for further growth in 2017

Gong Communications has hired two corporate communications specialists, Libby Wyman and James Deacon, as senior account managers to support the firm’s rapid growth. The pair join at an exciting time for the agency, bolstered by six award wins for its diversity and inclusion work with long-standing client, Lloyd’s of London.

Libby joins from Forster Communications, her focus at Gong will be on delivering global corporate and sustainability communications for international clients and developing the agency’s sustainability and social purpose work. Libby commented: “I’m delighted to be part of such a strong and motivated team at Gong; an agency that clearly punches above its weight to deliver award-winning communications for clients as diverse as challenger brands and multinationals.”

After a successful stint at FleishmanHillard Fishburn, James’ focus at Gong will be primarily on the Lloyd’s of London account, centered around the hugely successful Dive In: The Festival for Diversity and Inclusion in Insurance. He’ll also be working with associate director Nikki Francis-Jones on UK focused marketing for the agency. “I’m thrilled to be joining such an inspiring team here at Gong. Delivering a strategy session with a solar energy social enterprise in Madagascar in my third week here is certainly confirmation that I’m in the right place,” James said.

Gong MD, Narda Shirley, added: “Libby and James bring a great range of experience combined with boundless enthusiasm and passion. During 2016 we did a lot of thinking about who we are as an agency and that has helped us attract two standout people who are drawn to the idea of working on clients with a strong purpose.”

The agency took a conceptual brief in early 2015 to create a festival for the promotion of diversity and inclusion within the insurance market, and has scooped a number of cross-practice awards; PRCA (employee engagement), Marketing Week and The British Insurance Awards (diversity champion), Corp Comms Magazine (best live event), Insurance Day (diversity & talent management initiative of the year) and Insurance Marketing and PR (best insurance event). The work was also shortlisted by Sabre Awards EMEA, Guardian Sustainable Business, Personnel Today, ENEI and Insurance Times.

See here for coverage on Gorkana PR News

CorpComms: Dive In wins best live event – internal


When Inga Beale, chief executive of the Corporation of Lloyd’s, unveiled her Vision 2025 for the insurance business, it rested on eight pillars. Alongside Innovation and Capital sits Talent. For the Vision to be successful, by 2025 Lloyd’s will be ‘a place where talented, diverse and socially responsible employees feel proud to work’.

The Corporation’s steering group, Inclusion@Lloyd’s, is working to highlight the business case for diversity and inclusion. The Festival for Diversity and Inclusion in Insurance, branded Dive In by agency Gong, was designed to show how diversity stimulates innovation, promotes productivity and generates better financial returns.

Targeted at key influencers within Lloyd’s member organisations and employees in the insurance broking market, Gong created a pre-Festival buzz with a dedicated website, activities across internal, external and social media, and branded collateral, such as coffee carts which served 19,000 drinks.

The agency also engaged with communication leaders in member companies, providing tools, templates and content for intranets and email blasts. The events took place across four days within the insurance heart of the City of London, EC3. Each day explored a different theme: Women in Insurance; Cultural DNA: Diversity Now and Always; ‘Out’ in the market and Workability, with speakers ranging from celebrity stylist Gok Wan to former BP chief executive Lord Browne.

The festival comprised a mix of panel discussions, debates and workshops to networking, art exhibitions and dance performances. The front of the iconic Lloyd’s of London building was branded with Dive In. More than 2,000 people registered to attend, resulting in 1,762 visitors.

Importantly, 99 per cent of them said that diversity and inclusion was good for business while nine in ten felt they had a better understanding of the topic as a result of the Festival. And 87.5 per cent said they now knew what to do to improve diversity and inclusion within their organisations.

The Festival generated 40 videos, which are accessible via the Dive In website, which received more than 23,000 visitors during the event. The industry’s trade publication Insurance Times has also agreed to carry monthly blogs on diversity and inclusion.

‘This was a highly creative event which challenged the old ‘pale and male’ images of Lloyds,’ said the judges. ‘It is great that this is now being exported to overseas markets.’

PRWeek on Gong’s democratic approach to CSR


Gong Communications received a mention in PR Week as winner of the “Good chap of the week award”

“Christmas, Flack hears, is a time for giving, so congratulations to Gong Communications for setting up a programme to support Holy’s Home for Children, a small charity constructing an orphanage to support up to 30 vulnerable children in rural Ghana.

It might not sound anything exceptional for an agency to start this sort of thing – but Flack was impressed to hear not only that the charity was founded by senior account manager James Deacon, but that he secured the opportunity for his charity in a Dragon’s Den-style contest pitching to his new colleagues, on his very first day at the agency last month, against several other charities.

Bravo, James – and Bravo, Gong, which will make a monthly donation to the charity, in addition to other support throughout 2017.”
PR Week, 09/12/2016

Read the full article here

Gong rings out the changes with rebrand


New visual identity and vision for Gong marks milestone in company’s growth

London, 6th July 2016:  Since Gong was launched 12 years ago, the communications industry has undergone seismic changes. Then, there was no Twitter, no Instagram, no Snapchat. LinkedIn was only a year old with 756,000 users compared to upwards of 350 million now.  Digitalisation and globalisation have changed, beyond recognition, the way we communicate.  It’s not only this industry as a whole that has evolved; Gong has too.

Gong Creative and Gong Kenya were opened in 2012, a new team is on board,  and already this year Gong’s client work has won or been shortlisted for seven awards.  Narda Shirley, managing director of Gong Communications said: “It’s been a year of significant growth and success for Gong so we’ve looked inwards and done something we advise our clients to do; refreshed our brand. We’re attracting some talented young minds and we’ve taken the opportunity to reflect more closely on who we are and what we cherish in our work. We value purpose in the work we do for our clients. The time was right to rebrand to mirror this vision.”

Gong’s rebrand from concept to identity to new website has been designed and produced entirely in-house.

Gong & Lloyd’s of London win Marketing Week’s award


London, 13 May 2016: Praised as a ‘bold and brave’ event, the Dive In Festival for diversity and inclusion in insurance has won a prestigious industry award. Curated by Gong for our client Lloyd’s of London, Dive In won the Diversity Champion category at the Marketing Week awards beating off some stiff competition.  The judges also said: “Dive In ran a prominent event and really made their mark ensuring they are committed for the long term.”

The award was presented by Sir Lenny Henry at a glittering ceremony at the Roundhouse in London on May 12th.

“We are absolutely thrilled that Dive In has received this high profile recognition,” commented Narda Shirley, managing director at Gong Communications. “It was an honour to have been an integral part of a very exciting ‘first’ for the insurance industry with a wide-ranging brief spanning branding, video, events and workshops. Dive In 2016 is already looking even bigger and better!”

Following on from the hugely successful 2015 event, Gong has been re-appointed by Lloyd’s to curate Dive In on behalf of the Inclusion@Lloyd’s steering group. This year’s festival will be held between 27th-29th Sept 2016 and will include branded events across the globe as well as expanded participation outside the Lloyd’s Market.


The 13th Annual AVCA Conference


Dates: 25th – 27th April 2016

Location: Sheraton Addis – Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

The AVCA Conference is the flagship event for the African Private Equity and Venture Capital industry and provides an important platform for GPs, LPs and investors interested in the continent to discuss the most pertinent opportunities and issues of the year.

The 13th annual conference focused on making the business case for private equity in Africa by highlighting the wide array of investment opportunities, strategies employed and success stories. It also saw the launch of two AVCA research reports, the AVCA/EY Exit Study, providing valuable data about the exits landscape in Africa, coupled with key information on how fund managers create value and deliver commercial returns; and finally the AVCA Sustainability Study which examined how private capital is helping to drive ESG standards across the continent.

Gong was on site managing all communications requirements of the conference.