Launched six years ago, BenchPress, The Wow Company's agency benchmarking report, has grown to become the largest survey of independent agency owners in the UK.

This year, alongside all the usual questions on agency performance and market trends, we also asked participants which agencies, individuals and books inspired them. Below are the top two in each category. You can also look at the full results.

Top inspirational agencies


Founded by Mills and Sinx back in 2004, their mission is to build a studio where like-minded, passionate people can work under one roof, share unique ideas and bring them to life. There are now four UsTwo studios around the world, in London, New York, Malmö and Sydney. In addition, UsTwo Games has created some stunning mobile games, including the BAFTA award-winning hit, Monument Valley, while UsTwo Adventure, their startup fund and incubator, is nurturing some of the world’ s brightest talent.

Whether they’re doing innovative work for clients, bringing their own ideas to award-winning life, or launching disruptive new businesses, UsTwo has never done normal. They also have one of the best cultural manifestos we’ve seen.


Karmarama is a London-based creative agency, focused on producing highly creative and impactful communications for clients, including, the British Army, Just Eat, Iceland and Honda. Kamarama was founded in 2000 and has grown from four staff working around a ping-pong table in a tiny office to over 300 employees currently.

They strongly believe in good karma. It guides the way they work and behave, meaning that if they do the right thing for their people, clients and the wider world, good things will happen to them.

Over the last 18 years, they've won multiple awards, including the Sunday Times Best Companies To Work For multiple times. In November 2016 they were acquired by Accenture Interactive.

Top inspirational people

Wil Reynolds

Wil is the founder and director of strategy at Seer, a digital marketing agency with offices in Philadelphia and San Diego. Founded in 2002, it started life as a one-person search firm. Today, it's a talented team of over 100 people.

Will has worked across every vertical, from pharmaceuticals and hospital systems to e-commerce and SaaS. He’s one of the world’s leading experts on search and is often found speaking at conferences about the future of the industry, using big data, and how to bust silos between divisions. He also shares the tough side of running a growing agency on his YouTube channel.

Nichola Stott

Nichola is the MD and founder of Erudite, a technical marketing agency offering consulting services in SEO, CRO and data insights from web analytics. Following a position as head of UK search partners at Yahoo!, she founded Erudite (previously called theMediaFlow) in 2010 in Hampshire.

Nichola’s professional recognition includes being named in the BIMA Hot 100 Digital People, winning Best Use of Search at both the UK Search Awards and Wirehive100 Awards and co-authoring books including Econsultancy’s SEO Best Practice Guide and Hit me! How to Get Your Small Business to Punch its Weight Online.

Nichola is also a very sought-after SEO speaker. Her training services provide an infectious way to learn SEO.

Top inspirational books

Eating The Big Fish

The title of this book comes from an advert from Avis, the car rental firm, published at a time of planned growth. It
positioned Avis as a small fish being chased by a bigger one - a bigger car hire firm. They had to stay ahead or be

The book’s author, Adam Morgan, examines 40 challenger brands in this book, identifying their common traits. By
using the lessons revealed in the book, smaller agencies can develop strategies to consolidate and, if they want to,
compete with the leaders.

Creativity, Inc

Creativity, Inc. is a book for managers who want to lead their employees to new heights, a manual for anyone who
strives for originality, and the first-ever, all-access trip into the nerve center of Pixar Animation Studios - into the
story meetings, the post-mortems, and the ‘Braintrust’ sessions where art is born.

It is, at heart, a book about how to build and sustain a creative culture - but it is also, as Pixar co-founder and
president Ed Catmull writes, an expression of the ideas that I believe make the best in us possible.’

The full results