We are over the moon to have been recognised for the quality of our work through our recent appointment to the Government Communications Services Framework. Our place in the Specialist Consultancy category plays to our strengths as communications strategists specialising in complex or difficult to reach audiences and stakeholder environments. We believe we are one of a couple of dozen agencies posted to this Framework following a gruelling tender process and are looking forward to some of the mighty challenges that will no doubt come across our bows.
Following a competitive pitch, we were appointed in January to help THT to improve levels of Self-Care within their complex community. Specifically we are looking at why parents of pre-school children are using A&E as a destination of choice for children with minor illnesses and how new behaviours can be inspired by way of more powerful communications to drive people towards better, more accessible community services. We are looking forward to shaping some effective strategies for them and contributing our small bit to improving the NHS for those working within it and for the rest of us who can’t do without it.
We have extended our work with the Food Standards Agency beyond partnership marketing and campaigns. As collaboration becomes ever more essential to the delivery of the FSA’s large-scale change programmes, our expertise in engagement has proven useful in co-developing executive-level stakeholder activity, designing communications tools and even in identifying more fit-for-purpose IT solutions. The Department’s change work is highly complex, forward-thinking and ambitious, and we’re proud to be playing our part in supporting and delivering their plans.
Our stalwart clients in the Charity Sector also continue to amplify the business they do with us. We work for them both at the sharp end helping them to scope their markets for provision of services in the most complex of environments such as Health & Housing and Children’s Services. We are proud of the work we do on projects that address profoundly troubling issues such as Homelessness and Child Sexual Exploitation and in helping to shape a better future for citizens living their lives in the most extreme of circumstances.
Fascinated by the social landscape in India during her business trip last year, Steph decided to spend her well-earned holiday in January expanding her knowledge and understanding of this vast and fascinating country with a visit to Kerala. Each visit serves to reinforce to her how incredibly privileged we are in the West despite the political turbulence we have experienced over the last 10 months or so. A short extract from her travelblog puts things into perspective:
Creative Conscience are a not-for-profit organisation that nurture socially valuable, human-centred design to enable and inspire people to change their lives and the lives of those around them for the better. They have an established awards scheme for people in the Creative Industry who can enter problem-solving concepts for free – in graphic design, illustration, photography, film, product development to name just a few disciplines. Last year they received nearly 500 projects and the Awards were hosted by Unilever.
Since last year my studio has moved from a caravan in rural Cornwall to the wonderful Co-exist, a bustling creative hub which forms the epicentre of Bristol’s Stokes Croft. Being part of a space in which everyone works collectively towards building a better environment for each other and the local community has been great, and integral in helping me become part of the unbelievable creative community in Bristol!
In the last year I’ve worked for clients such as Penguin, Microsoft and the Samaritans (a project I’m particularly proud of – see the illustration shown) and have come a long way in my career as an illustrator. Alongside more high profile work, and with the help of Social and Local I have been able to work on various projects closer to home including illustration work for the Cable, a Bristol Media co-op which publish a free monthly paper, created and owned by the people in the city. I have also become involved with Legs 4 Africa, a local charity which transport prosthetic legs to Amputees in West Africa and continued to work as an editor for blogging platform Tumblr, promoting the illustration work of local artists.
Two years ago, the Indian Government passed legislation mandating Indian companies to set aside 2% of post-tax profits to deliver social advancement. The ruling applies to companies with profits of circa £50,000 or more. This is a significant shift given that a number of companies tell us that they are currently sharing 1% through CSR programmes.
The Indian Government has determined the key qualifying themes for funding as: Healthcare, Employment, Bio-Diversity and Gender Equality. There has been a three year lead in to allow companies to get their policies and approaches sorted. So companies will in theory be publishing their actions and focus within the next 12 months.
However, whilst window watching is useful, there’s no substitute for talking to those responsible about their progress and the challenges and how work in India is correlating with social purpose advancement in Europe. Thus in February this year, we travelled to India to meet with business leaders and learn more about how the new legislation is influencing their work and whether there were learnings for us, our clients and our own social focus.
In a competitive tender we have been appointed to help Shelter to engage more deeply with CCGs and Local Authority Commissioners. As the recognised National experts in understanding the causes and impact of homelessness we are delighted to be consolidating our early relationship with them and expanding our Charity client portfolio.
We are working again with one of our favourite Charities to support them across their marketing and customer engagement work and help them to achieve their commercial objectives. It’s a fantastic Charity doing ground breaking work in the field of addiction and having spent our lives working in an industry littered with casualties it feels particularly personal.
The question of sustainable marketing to support ‘profit with purpose’ was the subject of an IPA talk Social & Local attended. Hearing from and about enlightened leaders like M&S, Tesla and GE, I was struck by the consensus that business as usual is incompatible with sustainability. To quote one panel member “we need every business to change everything” to be sustainable in the future – and sustainability is a prerequisite to long-term commercial success. But it’s not easy. This too was undisputed. The drive towards a truly sustainable model is a long, hard slog initiated by iconoclastic leaders and implemented throughout the business, from R&D to waste management, from customer engagement to employee welfare. This is perhaps why, in relative terms, so few companies have yet to truly embark on this journey.
The best way we know to embed sustainable marketing practices is to inspire our industry’s future professionals. That’s why in April, we made the long trip to Falmouth University to give a lecture on social purpose – with a view to equipping graduates with the knowledge and confidence to meet their clients’ ambitions and challenge those who aren’t thinking about their social impact.
We are delighted to have been asked by Shelter to undertake some insight work for them in their 50th year adding another strong charity to our charity portfolio.
Steph’s lecture at Missenden Abbey inspires the next generation of NHS Comms leaders yet again as she did an action replay with the 2016 Spring Cohort at The Centre for Health & Communications Research following her resounding success in the Autumn. The cohort including senior teams from NHS England, Trusts and CCG’s were yet again enthusiastic and smart. We wish them well in the years to come as they tackle the big challenges that will face them.
We’re delighted to have been elected as members into the IPA, the umbrella body for advertising agencies.
IPA membership signifies a standard of excellence and offers services that will support the business as we continue to grow from strength to strength. Read more
As a result of an engaging and stimulating briefing call, we’ve been selected as agency partner for UK based charity Voluntary Services Overseas!
As the charity partner for the British Council’s ’Shakespeare Lives’ campaign, VSO will use the power of Shakespeare’s anniversary year to give real help to children in some of the world’s poorest communities through fundraising for their work in education as well as engaging prospective volunteers – the backbone of the charity’s great work.
Our remit will include developing a compelling proposition, creative direction as well as channel strategy for the VSO’s 2016 fundraising and awareness campaign.
Steph’s spent the last 24 hours with the 15 of the best and brightest future communications leaders in the NHS in her role as guest Lecturer on The Centre for Health Communications’ Professional Development Course. A refreshingly engaging and bright group – they have much to offer and contribute to addressing the challenges of Behavioural change for better health across their communities. Fingers crossed the opportunities will be afforded to them!
Dr Bill Nichols, Deputy Director of CHCR followed up to say “…you really energised them and I had superb feedback. At least eight unprompted… ‘what a great session’… three of which cited you as the ‘best guest speaker’ so far (that’s #1 out of 12!)”
Take a ballroom-full of international delegates from the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts plus a live video stream, a Twitter feed and the co-founders of Social & Local and you have your hands full! On day three of their ‘Movement of Ideas for Growth’ conference, Steph and Nats decided to get the attendees doing instead of listening. Leading an interactive session on developing a robust brand purpose we challenged attendees, both in the room and online, to consider what makes girl guiding and girl scouting such an incredible global force. It got noisy, at times competitive, always jolly and – like any good agency – we left them wanting to do more!
Steph was invited to talk to delegates about the Social & Local business model and then to facilitate a number of problem solving workshops to close this two day event.Read more
Appointed to develop insight into why those at high risk don’t go for lung health checks….Read more
We’re thrilled to see that the campaigns which really wow-ed at our industry awards – Cannes Lions 2015, were those born from the same purpose as us – driving social change through shared values.
It tells us that our normal – what we already do each and every day, through every piece of work – is a rapidly growing perspective for many powerful brands across the globe.
We love it when we’re ahead of the trend! That’s the joy of being a social business.