In 1989, after more than 10 years in journalism Martin Powell set up a public relations agency in Bristol. As a journalist he had covered a huge variety of subjects being a political correspondent, local government reporter, bowls writer, beer columnist and court reporter.
As Chief Reporter on the Bristol Evening Post he interviewed Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister, reported from Ascension Island during the Falklands War, quizzed Gary Glitter on his sexual habits, interviewed Brinks Mat Bullion robbers in prison and reported from the House of Lords and the Old Bailey.
He had also interviewed hundreds of business leaders and interacted with Public Relations agencies throughout the world. The new agency was pledged to be a true bridge between what journalists wanted as stories and what clients wanted to get across to the public.
Since that time the media has developed enormously with major changes in newspapers, hundreds of new television channels, new magazines and the arrival of web-based news, social media and bloggers.
In 1998 the business moved out of Bristol to a barn in Winford, North Somerset and later that year moved to the current offices in Long Ashton as rapid expansion meant the barn was no longer big enough.
In April 1999 there was a successful merger with Clifton-based Publicity Unlimited. Martin Powell Communications then carried out some major national work, including the first ever Chiropractic Awareness Week, which gained coverage in every national and regional newspaper and in broadcast media nationwide.
In 2002 the agency opened a satellite office in London staffed by experienced journalist, broadcaster and PR professional, Judith Skorupski.
In 2008 the former Martin Powell Communications PR agency was renamed Empica to reflect the way the business had grown and how it had been adapted to handle the media in the 21st century.
Empica combines the traditional values of the business in providing quality stories to the media while representing the best interests of its clients. The name comes from the old print terms “Em” and “pica”…an “em” is a measurement of typeface width, while a “pica” is a typographical measurement of height, equivalent to 12pt on today’s computers. We chose it because we aim to produce measurable results.
Empica is the former Martin Powell Communications grown up - but not forgetting our roots. Later in 2008 the agency was called in by the Grand Pier, Weston-super-Mare to help the owners deal with national media following its destruction by fire, supporting the business through the rebuilding process.
Empica has grown with a core of former journalists, some experienced public relations professionals and a team of social media and online specialists. We are proud of our West Country roots and our knowledge of the region.
In 2000 one of Britain's most sought after young artists, Natasha Kerr, created an eight-foot long collage encapsulating the philosophy behind Empica.
It symbolises belief in clear, straightforward communications, and our preference for bold but simple solutions, rather than expensive complex ideas. Clear, direct communication is the name of the game. It features these words - which sum up the way Empica deals with you:
When we were babies we all
Knew how to get our message across simply
Had fun and used our imagination
Played fair and had trust in others
Made logical progress step-by-step
Learned quickly from our experiences and mistakes
We never forget that we were once babies