The Future for LCA
Jonny Popper, Managing Director
As LCA enters its third decade in business, Managing Director and co-founder Jonny Popper considers the company’s future and shares a few personal reflections.
Jonny Popper, Managing Director
Robert kicked off our 20th Anniversary celebrations by looking back at 1999, when we established LCA. In the time since, he has seen me get married, have two kids and start to go grey-haired.
Fortunately, our enthusiasm for what we do is undimmed and we are both hugely proud of the business we have built – and of which I have been MD since 2010.
There is no doubt that we were right to set up LCA as a regionally specialist agency. Three Mayors of London later and the role is indisputably key to the capital’s success, with the power to affect significant change and is not constrained by the political straitjacket that was feared back in 2000. Local Government too has gone through something of a renaissance, partly driven by devolution and partly by the necessity of coping with ever diminishing budgets.
It has been brilliant fun helping to prepare the entries for each year of our 20-year Timeline and look back on our work and achievements. Life in PR is of course also full of the less exciting variety of memories – staffing a public exhibition at Brent Cross Shopping Centre to ask shoppers if they would like to pay for parking (a predictable response) was a particular… highlight!
I have particularly loved helping our clients turn their ideas and visions into reality. I remember well the first time we were presented with the revised designs for the new Spurs stadium and the scale of associated development; we took a deep intake of breath, momentarily dreading the task ahead – but look at it now. Our role in marshalling the case, presenting proposals professionally, as well as genuinely consulting and engaging with local communities and politicians alike was key for Spurs and so many of our successful projects over the past 20 years.
Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
These successes have helped make our client list today a real Who’s Who of organisations delivering change across London and the South East. We are trusted time and again to work on projects representing £ millions or billions of investment and to represent businesses for whom reputation is the most valuable – and fragile – asset.
And so, what next – as we start our 21st year as a mature business? Team wise we have grown by almost 30% in the last three years and are now nudging 50 people. Our business focus is one of continued diversification, a strategy which helped us deliver a record year in 2018/19. We continue to take development proposals, large and small, through the planning process, are retained as corporate advisers for major developers like Landsec and HB Reavis and support start-ups and prop-tech companies like Vu.City. We also act for internationally-acclaimed architectural firms, helping them drive growth and strengthen their market positioning, led by specialist consultant Sarah Rutt who has now joined us full-time. And looking across London’s boundaries, into the wider hinterland of the South East, we are taking on more and more projects in the Home Counties and beyond, in an effort spearheaded by Director Gabriel Abulafia.
Indicative image of the proposed temporary House of Commons Chamber as viewed from the public gallery.
The public sector also continues to feature strongly on our client list, with NHS bodies, local authorities and Housing Associations regularly commissioning LCA to communicate their projects. And we have moved confidently into consumer and placemaking PR, acting on some of London biggest campaigns – attracting visitors, workers and residents to some of London’s newest places and spaces.
And finally, we have built a superb in-house design function across print and digital, servicing both our own work for clients (exhibition panels, publications, websites etc) and building their own client roster.
Plus, we have a great deal to look forward to for our current clients. In the coming year alone, we hope to gain planning permissions for British Land’s Canada Water scheme, HB Reavis’ Elizabeth House and Parliament’s Northern Estate Programme, to enable the restoration and renewal of the Palace of Westminster. Designs will also be finalised for the Museum of London, the new stadium for Brentford FC and London Irish will be opening, Brockton Capital’s Post Building will be completed, and Hawley Wharf market will re-open in Camden Town after a seven-year redevelopment.
So, despite Brexit and the possibility of another general election later in 2019, we start this year as confident as any we have started in our history.
Thank you to all the clients and associates who have supported us and of course our team – past and present – who have made LCA what it is today.