Interview | 15 Jun 2022

Jonathan Chandler, Founder at Tilton Consultancy

Posted in Business, Learning, Interview, Client,

This month we spoke with The Work Crowd client member Jonathan Chandler, Founder at Tilton Consultancy, who have recently called on freelance talent from The Work Crowd to help bridge gaps in the capacity of the core team.

Jonathan shares his thoughts on the evolution of ESG marketing, the recent backlash against the term and the concept of ‘enlightened self-interest’. We also discuss the growing demand for PR professionals in and Jonathan tells us what’s next for Tilton.

Can you tell us a little bit about Tilton Consultancy and what you do?

I founded Tilton a year ago, to support international organisations develop and execute reputation, risk and ESG strategies. 

The business has grown rapidly, and globally. We currently work exclusively with global HQ teams - in the US, Germany, Finland, Switzerland, Netherlands, Spain and Australia. We also deliver execution “’on the ground”, primarily in Europe and US, either direct or through a network of partners.  

Unsurprisingly then, we are primarily a virtual team by consequence, rather than by design, with team members dotted around the globe on different time zones, working with clients who are equally multi-located.

You recently hired freelancers through TheWork Crowd, what triggered your need for freelance support?

The firm is built the simple truth that no agency has a monopoly on expertise. So, while we build a core team around strategy, ESG, risk and international comms, we look for experts that can augment that through deep vertical knowledge in a sector or discipline. As we are growing rapidly, we have also called in talent simply to bridge gaps in the capacity of the core team.

What have you been able to achieve with freelancers through the platform to date?

We’ve been able to turn around quality technical content at short notice, deliver high quality earned media and build out an integrated to address a tough international trade policy issue for a client. 

Tilton focuses on putting ESG at the centre of strategy – what is ESG marketing?

I think “ESG marketing” should be considered with caution. ESG was primarily devised as a means of measurement and reporting, and therefore has its limitations as “strategy” in it its own right. We have usefully moved from pure philanthropy, through CSR, CR, triple bottom lines, sustainability, net zero, carbon neutral… ESG is a step on that journey, a useful lens, not an end game. The next evolution is towards impact-based reporting/accounting, where an organisation’s true impact and therefore value (to society) is measured in social and environmental terms.

Why is it important for organisations to adopt?

Well first, I would warn that there is an irrational big backlash against “ESG” and what the Telegraph calls the “woke Net Zero brigade” among certain investors, politicians and media. (I subscribe to the Telegraph for professional reasons!) Given we are heading for a climate catastrophe, it would be a shame if anacronyms got in the way. 

Personally, I think “ESI” – “enlightened self-interest” – is a more enduring concept because it invites the business community to consider its responsibility, rationally. Can I, how can I, slow or mitigate the climate by my actions? Market and lobby like there’s no tomorrow. (As there won’t be otherwise.)

Equally, will I have a license to operate if I carry on as usual? Sure, for a while. But how long will there be affordable resources to draw from, employees to attract, consumers to buy, regulatory permission to operate? Take a close look, the cards are falling fast. But there is no point in lecturing people with their heads in the sand. There are plenty of enlightened established and emerging organisations to keep us busy.

What skills do you think will be in demand from PR and digital freelancers in 2022? 

Having said all the above about ESG, there’s a shortage of solid PR folks that can do media and craft a story, I think the most useful thing I did in my career was train and then work in newspaper journalism in my early years. 

And finally, what’s next for Tilton Consultancy? How will you stay competitive in 2022.

We are having exciting conversations with global organisations that are keen find an alternative to the big “agency of record” model, because for some, maybe many, it doesn’t deliver the value or expertise they need.

Having worked inhouse for many years, and for big networks, this is not a surprise, it’s why I founded Tilton. We work hard to understand and provide what they want – and that typically is senior dedicated counsel, flexibility, “right first time” content, 24-7, absolutely no passengers.

We augment that with the kind of “vertical” subject matter experts that simply don’t fit into the standard agency model. For example, we dial can in world-class operators in specialist areas like sustainable packaging, nutrition or clean energy, who’ve “been there and done it” in the kind of client organisations we seek to serve.


If you’re a business looking for interim support, The Work Crowd can instantly connect you to the right professional freelancer to best support you and your business.