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Specialist Research Unit (SRU) was a market research based consultancy formed by Dennis Stevenson and Peter Wallis in 1974. [1]

The BBC lists Peter Mandelson as having been a consultant to SRU between 1990 and 1992. [2] In 1990 a Sunday Times report on Mandelson's move to SRU described the company as "problem-solver for companies including ICI, Unilever, Marks & Spencer, BAT, Clarks Shoes, Allied Dunbar, Thorn EMI, WH Smith and Ladbroke."

In a profile on Stevenson in the Evening Standard Chris Blackhurst wrote that "while other consultancies stuck with traditional formats, SRU dared to be different. It built an enviable client list of the biggest companies and was called in to advise on the largest projects, but always remaining in the shadows, often answering only to the chairman personally." [3]

"It was as if the head of a company wanted an alternative view but was too scared to seek one publicly. SRU didn't go in for numbers and textbook theories; they specialised in thinking, researching customers' perceptions and detailing how the company fitted with a wider society. Chairmen loved them for it," he wrote. "They were adept at tying together different strands, from business, the City, charities, the public sector and government." [4]

In September 2000 the PR company Brunswick bought SRU for an undisclosed sum. According to PR Week Wallis said that "for Brunswick, the deal provides an instant in-house research capability. For SRU, we are now part of a bigger international organisation with offices worldwide." [5]

External links

  • Alice Rawsthorn, "Specialist purveyors of tomorrow's ideas", Financial Times (London), June 18, 1990, page 14.
  • Andrew Grice, "Labour's red-rose guru to help true-blue firms", Sunday Times, August 19, 1990.
  • "People: Stevenson takes on Takeovers", Financial Times (London), July 24, 1992, page 16.
  • Chris Blackhurst, "Stevenson the fixer in the M&S battle",, 9 June 2004. (This was originally published in the Evening Standard).
  • "Brunswick buys up York's SRU research shop", PR Week, September 8, 2000. (Sub req'd).
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