Jones Knowles Ritchie

Design-led creative company

Sector
Services
Region
London
Date of investment
June 2019
GCP team members
Website

Background

JKR is one of the world’s most renowned branding and design agencies. Founded in 1990, it is now over 300 strong with offices in London, New York and Shanghai.

JKR designs brands for scale, disruption and good. Since its inception, it has partnered with global leaders including AB InBev, Kraft Heinz, and Mars Inc through to category disruptors including Hippeas, Ugly and The Gut Stuff. It delivers the very highest quality of creative work and strategic thinking to its clients around the world and is a highly valued partner with deeply embedded C-suite relationships.

JKR is consistently recognised at leading industry awards, including Most Awarded Design Group at D&AD and Studio of the Year at Dieline, and it was also awarded a highly prestigious Gold Cannes Lion in 2021 for its global rebrand of Burger King.

GCP partnered with Guy Lambert (Global CEO), Tosh Hall (Chief Creative Officer) and their team, to allow JKR’s founders to leave the business and for the business to remain proudly independent. GCP has taken a minority stake in JKR; the majority of the equity and control of the Board remains with JKR’s team. With GCP’s support the leadership team have the freedom to continue growing the business whilst maintaining its special culture and focus on creative quality.

Our investment partnership

The increased importance of brand at the board level is shifting the focus, and budgets, towards strategic design agencies to drive real benefits for clients, particularly to agencies with the ability to create distinct visual communications.

JKR is led by an outstanding Global CEO and Chief Creative Officer, with exceptional teams at each office, and has a unique approach and empowering culture. It has a strong track record of growth with both existing and new clients, expanding geographically and developing new capabilities and is well set to continue to thrive.

Strategic support through our Growth Toolkit

Since our investment we have closely supported the team in achieving numerous strategic growth initiatives, in line with our Growth Toolkit and Network:

Driving Growth

  • Refinement of JKR’s long term strategic plan and articulation of its distinct proposition and position in the market
  • Review of the opportunity in China and definition of a plan to go after it
  • Ongoing investment in world class talent through the business
  • Introducing Board level contacts within potential new clients

People & Organisation

  • Investment in Creative Talent – including most recently three Group Creative Directors in New York
  • Recruitment of JKR’s first Global Chief Talent Officer, an enlarged recruitment team, an MD in New York and CEO China
  • Strengthening JKR’s approach to D&I
  • Appointment of Michael Baulk as Chair
  • Development of wider team remuneration and equity incentives

Funding for growth

  • Our flexible funding approach allows for a low level of debt and so the best possible platform for growth

Doing the right thing - our role in sustainable investing

JKR is committed to building an agency that reflects the world we live in. One where people are free to be themselves. One that embraces Diversity through Inclusion. And an agency with which both its team and clients feel immensely proud to work. Stolen with pride from Oscar Wilde, the thinking that “in a world where everyone else is taken, be yourself” has been at the heart of everything JKR has done for 30 years.

Over the last 2 years, JKR has embedded a framework to develop and support exceptional talent, deliver cutting edge creative work and secure prestigious clients. This comprises Diversity (People), Inclusion (Environment), Equity (Practices) and Belonging (Culture).

Work within this framework has included:

  • Firm wide DE&I training (3,400 hours in 12 months), coaching, events and speakers.
  • Refocusing talent sources to promote diversity (e.g. universities, recruiters).
  • Implementation of systems to better facilitate employee feedback and to identify and if required, address salary equity trends.
  • Continued work with local and global charities, via the JKR Foundation (https://www.jkrglobal.com/foundation), including a recent brand identity redesign for Stonewall, a leading voice for the LGBTQ+ community for over 30 years.
  • Long term support for ADCOLOR, who’ve been championing diversity and inclusion in creative industries in the US for the last 15+ years (a member of JKR’s global leadership team sits on their Board of Directors).
  • Establishing local and global JKR D&I councils to ensure continued momentum.

Employees’ mental and physical health also remains a top priority, with JKR offering private healthcare, external coaching partners and meeting-free Friday afternoons. JKR also looks to provide regular doses of creative inspiration with internal events, talks and socials curated by the team.

More Current Investments

Growth Capital Partners
38 Jermyn Street
London
SW1Y 6DN

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