Partner PR

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Mining-alcans-60px.jpg This article is part of the Mining and Metals project of Spinwatch
One of the activist images from Partner PR homepage

Partner PR is a high profile public relations agency headed by Jonathan Hawker, and sold to Financial Dynamics in 2005[1]. They have worked with large transnational companies, whose identities they keep secret. They specialise in what they call 'problem-solving PR.' According to their website this means:

We help you to counter the challenges your business faces, whether these arise from competitors, activists, politicians, the media or employees. [2]

Problems they advertise providing PR for include Media problems, Litigation problems, Activists Problems, Political Problems, Employment Problems and Marketplace Problems[3]. Their website uses a number of pictures of protests which it claims to be able to 'manage and contain'[4].

Partner PR is made up of ex journalists from national and international radio, TV and newspapers, as well as communications directors from FTSE 500 companies[5]. They offer services such as 'Corporate Reputation Management' and 'Political Communications', a form of lobbying.

Their website states:

To us, everything is a story - either a story to be told or a story to be changed, even sometimes a story to be killed[6].

Partner PR 'Problem Solving PR' Screengrab from Partner PR's website[7]

Corporate Reputation Management

Corporate Reputation Management is one of the services offered by Partner PR. According to their website:

We work with organisations to ensure they safeguard their good name. Whether it is simply by ensuring their name is frequently mentioned in key publications, or developing a programme of good works in a company's locality, Partner PR can partner you as the guardian of your corporate reputation.
We work with a FTSE100 company to combat attacks from unions, politicians and journalists. We work with a major international consumer goods organisation to ensure its thinking on corporate social responsibility is cutting edge. Our programmes are unique, cost-effective and get the desired results.[8]

Their website contains pictures of demonstrations, as if to illustrate the threat posed by activists and their ability to effectively silence negative media.

Activist problem

Partner PR's website dedicates a whole section to its experience in dealing with activists. It states:

Activist groups can be ruthless in their targeting of business in order to achieve their own ideological and commercial objectives[9].
We act as an early warning system on activist attacks. We have an effective monitoring system both online and in the real world. We manage the response and containment of activist campaigns for several organisations, maintaining excellent links with the police and other organisations[10].
We can counter attack campaigns whether they involve demonstrations and protests, publications, political campaigning or media briefing. We have been effective in closing down attacks and ensuring activists move on[11].
  • For an industry body, we developed an appropriate response to unfounded allegations of child smuggling and slave labour.
  • For a retail goods company, we developed a strategy to deal with an internet campaign by activists claiming one of their products for children uses toxic chemicals.
  • For a food company, we have dealt with a campaign against them by animal rights groups.
  • For a global consumer goods company, we have countered a high-profile campaign by several activist groups[12].

Their claims to have been effective in 'closing down attacks', 'response and containment of activist campaigns' and their 'excellent links with the police' are worrying powers for a public relations company representing large business.

Crisis Management

Crisis Management is another specialist service offered by the company. It involves covering up and spinning public scandals. Their website gives some, typically anonomised, examples:

When a big-five accounting firm was unjustly accused of doing "an Enron," we ensured the truth was heard and fully understood.
When a food manufacturer faced media interest in claims its products were contaminated, we killed the story.
When a company fell victim to a major blackmailing attempt, we helped it stay out of the media.
When a consumer company faced the publication in a national newspaper of claims against it by animal rights activists, we helped it to convey the truth of the situation to its key stakeholders.[13]

Political communications

Partner PR's website states:

At Partner PR we can dissuade a politician from attacking your organisation. We know how to ensure politicians understand your position. We can ensure your voice is heard where it matters - whether by officials or elected members[14].
Although we are not lobbyists, we understand fully the peculiarities of Westminster and Brussels. We know how to reach politicians and how to ensure they understand your position and views.
With a former lobby correspondent and EU accredited journalist amongst our number, we are well versed in tackling political stories and issues.
We know the right questions to ask and how to get them asked. We can present information to officials and monitor Parliamentary activity in your business area.
Our programmes are simple and effective, and far less costly than using a mainstream lobbying organisation.[15]

Who we are

Partner PR's website describes the wide ranging and potentially influential expertise of its employees:

We were national television and radio reporters. We have worked as national broadsheet and tabloid journalists. We've made news in trade publications and online. And we have worked in the heart of Westminster. Add to that our expertise in the frontline of a FTSE 100 communications department and experience of the world's largest public relations agencies, and we offer a unique blend of expertise[16].



According to their website:

Partner PR was founded in January 2003 by Jonathan Hawker, a former political reporter and journalist for ITN, Channel 4, Five News and the BBC. Twice Young Journalist of the Year, Jonathan was formerly head of issues, crisis and litigation communications for one of the world's largest PR agencies[17].



Though Partner PR do not publicly publish the names of any of their clients, their website alludes to their work with:

  • A major metals manufacturer (for whom they 'managed the announcement of a major factory closure')[18]
  • Global food companies accused of animal rights abuses.
  • A big-5 accounting firm
  • A global consumer goods company (who had been targetted by several activist campaigns)[19]
  • A FTSE 100 company
  • A transport company[20]
  • Fast food companies (for whom it has managed response to 'obesity issues' and developed a pan-European fast response crisis management system)
  • A 'healthcare company' (for whom it 'handled Pan-European communications following product-related deaths')[21]

A 2005 PR Week article revealed that clients included Tate & Lyle and Capita[22]



Partner Public Relations Limited
7A Manchester Square
London W1A 1AU
  • Tel: 020 7317 0180
  • Fax: 020 7317 0188
  • Email:



  1. PR Week, October 27, 2006 FD poaches WS's Findell for issues management job. Accessed 14/07/10
  2. Partner PR What we do Accessed 09/07/10
  3. Partner PR Problem Solving PR Accessed 09/07/10
  4. Partner PR Problem Solving PR, Activist Problem Accessed 09/07/10
  5. Partner PR Who we are Accessed 09/07/10
  6. Partner PR Who we are Accessed 09/07/10
  7. Partner PR Problem Solving PR Accessed 09/07/10
  8. Partner PR What we do Accessed 09/07/10
  9. Partner PR Problem Solving PR, Activist Problem Accessed 09/07/10
  10. Partner PR Problem Solving PR, Activist Problem Accessed 09/07/10
  11. Partner PR Problem Solving PR, Activist Problem Accessed 09/07/10
  12. Partner PR Problem Solving PR, Activist Problem Accessed 09/07/10
  13. Partner PR What we do Accessed 09/07/10
  14. Partner PR, Problem Solving PR Political Problem Accessed 09/07/10
  15. Partner PR What we do Accessed 09/07/10
  16. Partner PR Who we are Accessed 09/07/10
  17. Partner PR Who we are, True Partnership Accessed 09/07/10
  18. Partner PR Problem Solving PR, Employment Problem Accessed 09/07/10
  19. Partner PR Problem Solving PR, Activist Problem Accessed 09/07/10
  20. Partner PR Problem Solving PR, Media Problem Accessed 09/07/10
  21. Partner PR Problem Solving PR, Marketplace Problem Accessed 09/07/10
  22. PR Week, June 24, 2005 FD SNAPS UP PARTNER PR TO BOLSTER CRISIS SERVICES Accessed 14/07/10