The Agency Purpose Roadshow

Join us in Bristol (12 Sept 2023) / Manchester (13 Sept 2023) / Leeds (14 Sept 2023)

• Get inspired! Engage with like-minded agencies uncovering ways to positively impact the industry.
• Join original and interesting conversations on running a purposeful business, for you, your team, your clients – and the planet too.
• Learn how to nurture a happy, healthy business and culture through autonomy, trust and purpose… Friday beers and lunchtime yoga just won’t cut it.

If you are interested in agency purpose, join us in Bristol, Manchester and Leeds for the Good Agencies Roadshow.

Archimedes said: “Give me a lever and a place to stand, and I will move the world”.

When you run an agency, that lever is your business.

You’ll join thoughtful conversations covering employee wellbeing, nurturing creativity, sustainability goals, diversity and inclusion, agency purpose, pro-bono work, the B Corp process and more. Hear inspiring case studies that you can learn from and apply in your own agency.

Who you’ll hear from in Bristol 🎤

Why Should You Be Prioritising Purpose?

“It doesn’t have to be you become a B Corp, or you do fuck all. You can sit in the middle. That’s where the majority of people sit,” says James Skirrow, head of customer success at Futureproof.

Sometimes it’s hard to prioritise purpose, especially in the current climate. Budgets get stretched, projects get cut – all the while competitors are vying for your clients’ attention.

But according to ESG expert James Skirrow,  more and more clients are looking to their agency suppliers to lead the way in terms of sustainability. So if you haven’t started on that journey yet, you better lace your boots up – or you might end up getting left behind.

👉 At the Good Agencies Roadshow, James will be going into detail about the commercial incentives of prioritising purpose and ESG, and will be sharing some tips on how you can get started on this path without breaking the bank.

Read the full story here.

“How We’re Using Nature to Build a Regenerative Business”

“We’re on a journey to be a ‘regenerative’ business, which is essentially leaving the world in a better place than we found it,” says Danielle Thompson, head of operations at Greenheart.

“Rather than focusing on reducing your energy emissions, it’s about how to build a business that is a positive contributor to the world.”

Greenheart argues that to really make an impact, you have to take it one step further: “The seasons don’t exist by luck. They exist because some things need to die in order for others to regrow. In our business, we use nature as inspiration.”

👉 Danielle will be telling us more about regenerative business from an operations POV, and will share some of the things her consultancy does to leave a positive impact on the planet – not just through the work they deliver, but how they deliver it too.

Read the full story here.

Bridging the Tech Gap, One Apprentice At a Time

“We’re all talking about this digital tech skills gap, we’re all feeling the pain of that. But unless you start doing something about it, you’re not really going to solve the problem,” says Andrew Finn, managing director of Evo Talent.

The tech skills gap is nothing new, with agencies across the UK struggling to find talented people with the digital skills required nowadays. 

Now, Evo is working on creating a dedicated ‘Evo Academy’, where young people can get real experience working as a ‘shadow agency’ alongside the current team. 

👉 Andrew will be joining us to share more on how Evo is genuinely connecting with local young people and what that’s doing for the future of the agency, and how this different approach to recruitment could be a game-changer.

Read the full story here.

The Impact of Working with ‘Good’ Clients

This year, Adam Millbank‘s agency, JonesMillbank, achieved B Corp status – and the certification process only reinforced that they’d long been working with the ‘right’ kinds of clients.

“We realised that actually over 90% of our clients are in the bracket of purpose-based practice,” says Adam.

And it’s just as much about the clients as it is about the team working on those projects.

“It’s more than just being paid at the end of each month. It’s about having opportunities to learn, being challenged and enjoying what we do every day.”

👉 Adam will be joining us to talk about being a purpose-led agency, and why it’s important to work with clients on projects that will have a genuinely ‘good’ impact on the world.

Read the full story here.

Who you’ll hear from in Manchester 🎤

 A Year On From B Corp

“It doesn’t count that you’ve become a B Corp – that’s just the starting point.  It’s now about what you do when you become a B Corp,” says Alex Holliman, founder of Climbing Trees.

B Corp is swiftly becoming a rite of passage. Big clients won’t touch you with a barge pole unless you’ve got it – or an agreed-upon alternative. 

But many agencies are sceptical that it means as much as people say it does. 

For Alex, it’s what you do with it that matters. 

“We’ve used the certification process to build everything in the business. We could do the bare minimum, but I’d rather do much, much better.”

His agency achieved B Corp accreditation last year. Since then, he’s used the framework to completely transform how his business operates – purely for the better.

👉 Alex will take us through what B Corp means for his business – as well as the changes he’s made to keep his people happier and make a positive impact on the planet. 

Read the full story here.

How Can You Hire But Also Retain a Diverse Team?

“Being a nice employer isn’t enough. People talk about diversity and often just focus on hiring entry-level talent, getting more graduates and college leavers into the sector, which is important – but nothing is really done structurally to then retain these people,” says Claire Quansah, founder of Quansah Consulting.

Claire has 20 years of agency experience including operations and biz dev, and is an advocate for diversity and inclusion in the comms space in particular.

“You need to have a starting point,” she advises. “Being able to do an audit and analysis of what your workforce looks like, how you operate right now, and therefore identifying how and where you can improve, is important.”

“What does your recruitment process look like? Who do you typically go to when you need a freelancer? How are you expanding your supplier network? Do you challenge your clients on these things too?”

👉 Claire will be joining us to shine a light on how to structurally support a more diverse workforce within your agency, and also why things like mentoring and training programs can be powerful tools in this space too.

Read the full story here.

“Why We’re Trying to Make Our Agency Neuro-Inclusive”

It’s thought that around 15% of the UK population is neurodiverse, but when Ear to the Ground started looking into this, they realised that not a single person on their team had disclosed if they were neurodivergent.

“We were aware that with those statistics, the likelihood was a couple of people in the business probably were neurodivergent,” says Leanne Kilheeney, the agency’s head of engagement.

“As a business, we realised we weren’t intentionally doing enough to help these people thrive because we hadn’t invested time into removing the barriers and stigma around talking about it, and thinking about how to help before.”

“Now, we’re really passionate about creating an environment where people feel comfortable to speak about this, that they have a feeling of belonging at work, and that we can physically help them too by changing our environment and ways of working.”

👉 Leanne will be joining us to talk about why opening up the conversation on neurodiversity in the workplace is a huge step to being an inclusive agency, and how the small changes they’ve made have already gone a long way.

Read the full story here.

How Can You Create a Culture of Responsiveness?

One secret to having a happy, healthy agency is a great relationship with your clients. And getting back to clients quickly is a key part of that.

But how do you create a culture of responsiveness without draining your team? Cas Majid, CEO of Wow Group, will lead a conversation on this important topic.

“Our SLA is to respond 95% of the time within five minutes, and 99% within 20 minutes. That’s the benchmark that we’ve set. It’s one of the things I monitor every single day,”

Cas laments the trend of agencies ‘ghosting’ clients, insisting, “You need to go back and say ‘I’m dealing with it, and I’ll communicate with you again at this time’ – not ignore them until you have the answer.”

👉 Cas will join us for this session, which promises insightful revelations about building and nurturing client relationships in an agency setting, demonstrating that the key lies in consistent, transparent communication.

Read the full story here.

How Can You Use Purposeful Partnerships to Maximise Your Impact?

In a world that’s crying out for sustainable solutions, doing the bare minimum is no longer enough. But how can you maximise your impact without breaking the bank?

For Creative Concern, purposeful partnerships are the key. 

“We pitched for a project funded by the EU with two other European agencies,” says co-founder Steve Connor. “We didn’t win, but we enjoyed working together so much that we had a meeting a couple of months later and thought, ‘Oh, should we start a network?’”

“It just slowly grew and we learned a lot from each other – and now we work we actually work on projects collaboratively together. It’s been quite powerful.”

👉 At the Good Agencies Roadshow in Manchester, Steve will be delving into how the purpose space has changed over the last twenty years, the ways in which his agency has contributed to the movement – as well as some of the things agencies should avoid in order to keep their communications as ethical as possible and stay clear of greenwashing complaints.

Who you’ll hear from in Leeds 🎤

How Transparency Can Win You Talent That Lasts

Employee satisfaction is the key to maintaining a balanced ecosystem in your agency. A happy team also does wonders for productivity – something Zoë Ogden knows all too well. 

That’s why her agency, Impression, has won ‘Best Place to Work’ two years in a row.

“The main thing we won for is probably our commitment to full transparency at all times,” says Zoë, the agency’s people director.

A key part of this is the agency’s transparent salary bands, which are well documented and structured to help their people see a clear path to progression and development.

“Because they’re so structured and evidence-based, when it comes to promotions, there are no other external factors at play other than that person’s merit and what that person has actually achieved – regardless of background, race, sexuality, or gender.”

👉 Zoë will be diving into more of the transparent measures that make Impression a great place to work, as well as the impact the four-and-a-half day week has had on their people and productivity.

Read the full story here.

“Why Purpose Shouldn’t Come at the Cost of Profit”

“Fundamentally we’re a full-service digital agency, but that balance of purpose and profit lives in our DNA,” says Alex Willcocks, founder of Engage Interactive.

Engage Interactive was the very first business in Leeds to achieve B Corp status in May 2020, and is actually one of only 20 or so businesses in the entirety of Yorkshire with the certification.

However, despite their B Corp status and the work they do, when it comes to being a ‘good’ agency, Alex believes that all things purpose can only truly work hand-in-hand with profitability.

“We don’t shy away from profit at all,” says Alex. “We’re not purpose-led, but rather a profit-first business. You still need profit to be able to do all that other good stuff.”

“My view is if you want to grow and make more money, and you can work with clients who want to spend money with you, because they believe in what you stand for, then you can get bigger and make a profit. And then you can amplify your positive impact.”

👉 Alex will be joining us to explain more about his agency’s path to B Corp status, and why purpose shouldn’t come at the cost of profit.

Read the full story here.

Get inspired and share your journey with others

The Good Agencies Roadshow is an afternoon to get inspired, connect with future partners and join thoughtful discussions.

  • You’ll move around the venue to interact and mix with different groups.
  • We poll you prior to the event to determine what it is you really want to talk about.
  • We make sure all the talks are original and interesting. We facilitate questions and reflections throughout.

We’re running this event in partnership with Streamtime.

Since 2002, Streamtime has helped thousands of creative businesses run healthier, happier agencies.

Its software manages projects and workflows that reduce time spent on resourcing, time-tracking and reporting- allowing more time for creativity. Its ethos focuses on making the workplace happier by internally tracking the health of staff and providing a tool that reduces agency headaches.

Streamtime will be onsite aiding in the discussions around new measures of workplace success and how to predict performance, reduce stress and better coach your team.

Research in 2018 found that more than half of us in the creative industry experienced symptoms of mental ill-health – with only half feeling they wouldn’t be treated differently if they disclosed symptoms or a diagnosis at work.

“These results shocked our industry into action,” says Andy Wright, who, when not running Streamtime is working hard on improving conditions in the industry that lead to much better mental health outcomes.

“Since 2018 we’ve conducted bi-annual surveys with almost 2k people and found that, while progress is slow, there are some improvements. But there are many challenges still ahead in leader and manager training, realising that your mental health strategy isn’t just a checklist of yoga Thursdays and an additional mental health day once a month.”

👉 At the Good Agencies Roadshow, Andy will be sharing more of this research alongside learnings on how the way we run our agencies is the single biggest factor that we can affect to improve wellbeing. He’ll also share stories of what not to do based on his experiences.

Read the full story here.

Good Agencies Roadshow – FAQs 💬

Q: What actually happens on the day?

We start the event at 1.30pm, so try to arrive by 1.15pm.

The afternoon’s format is pretty simple: you will spend some time hearing from guests with interesting stories that you can learn from, and you will also spend some time in small groups discussing your journey with like-minded agency leaders.

The event is hosted by an Agency Hackers facilitator who makes sure that everybody with something interesting to say gets heard. (We poll attendees before the event, so we know who to ‘pick on’ on the day.)

We will serve tea, coffee and sweet things to keep you going, but please eat a sandwich before you arrive. The schedule doesn’t leave us time to serve lunch, unfortunately.

Q: Who will I hear from? Who are the speakers?

The people you’ll hear from all have interesting stories about their agency purpose journey.

We also decide who to spotlight based on the information we capture in the weeks before. (Look out for our emails!)

We will publish the line-up a few weeks before, but mostly we hope that you will trust us to select interesting folk from our audience. We find that the people who choose to attend our events are overwhelmingly on fascinating journeys that will resonate with you.

Also, the ‘talks’ aren’t really linear presentations. They’re more like structured case studies, with lots of questions and reflections from the audience.

You could potentially call them ‘fireside chats’, but these are not rambling cosy conversations. They are planned and structured. We put a lot of work into researching our guests, out of respect for your time.

Q: Who can attend?

This event is for anybody in your agency who cares about running a better and more purposeful agency.

That might be the founder or owner, it might be a client services director, or it might be somebody else.

Join us in Bristol, Leeds and Manchester for the Good Agencies Roadshow