For this month’s edition of our Secret Sauce Series, where we talk with leading businesses from The Work Crowd community, we interviewed futurefactor. We sat down ‘virtually’ with Partner Sarah Taylor to discuss navigating through the pandemic, how success for them started from the ground roots of the founder and why working with freelancers has giving them the breathing space to grow.
Can you tell us more about the work futurefactor does and the clients you work with?
At futurefactor we have a diverse range of clients, when looking from a sector perspective. The common ground is their business phase and where they are in their journey. In short, we work with companies at an inflection point, help them navigate this through articulate narrative development and robust communication strategies.
What challenges have you faced as an agency during the pandemic and do you think Covid-19 has had an impact on your business and working patterns?
At the start of the pandemic, along with the rest of the industry, we had a bumpy ride. The first half of 2020 saw a lot of uncertainty and clients were hedging their financial bets. Additionally, it was a time of great uncertainty for industry employees. We worked hard to communicate our safeguarding approach to our team. Thankfully we navigated those early months without the need for furlough or redundancies. As a small agency spread across three countries, the measures we’ve put in place have shifted depending on local rules and guidance. While our Amsterdam team returned to the office several months ago, our London and LA team are still working from home. Moving forwards, we have settled on an approach that affords flexibility, giving the team agency over their own individual situations.
You recently worked with Airbnb to hone their narrative and direct positive debate around diversity, with D&I being a priority and challenge in today’s workplaces, what role does a company’s comms strategy have in promoting D&I practices?
Communication supports the initiatives from an awareness perspective. However we’re always bringing our clients back to proof points. As an industry we have to demonstrate outcomes and impact, rather than flag waving a laundry list of initiatives that look good on paper but deliver no measurable change.
You have worked with some innovative clients such as Happn and Airbnb, what is your secret to attracting and landing successful clients?
I’d say we’re lucky in that we haven’t had to work hard beyond our organic network. People come to us because they’ve heard of the success we’ve delivered for other clients, or through recommendations. Often, it’s a case of previous clients moving to pastures new and taking us with them. I make it sound easy, but our success is largely due to our founder, Kerrie Finch, building a considerable reputation and network through her on-stage activities and involvement in initiatives such as She Says, Orange Lions and beyond.
As economic recovery begins, what opportunities and challenges are PR professionals now facing?
The challenge sits in growth. Right now there’s a boom so it’s easy to think you should make hay while the sun shines. It’s important though to ensure you’re sticking to your long-term business strategy and not sacrificing that for short-term gains. Our industry is also facing considerable recruitment challenges. As economic recovery gains momentum, hiring is becoming a competitive business. The Work Crowd has proved invaluable here and given us breathing space as we build our team.
The number of PR professionals turning to freelance during the lockdown has dramatically risen. How has your business engaged an interim workforce over the pandemic? And how have freelancers helped support your agency?
As I just mentioned, we used freelancers to give us the breathing space to grow our team without feeling the pressure to rush hiring decisions. As a small team, it’s important to take time to find the right candidates so we develop our company culture and expertise simultaneously.
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.
Got a project in mind but not sure where to start? Contact: Lauren@theworkcrowd.com