We shut the Stand office and started to work remotely nearly four weeks ago. Twenty people scattered across the country, rather than in an open plan office in WC1. It’s this change in environment I’ve found the toughest. For an extrovert, who gets their energy from others, I’ve found the need to call, video or text, rather than wander and talk, quite exhausting. Not just at work, but with family and friends. I miss the interaction, the noise, the physical presence of others. I’ve had to entertain myself, rather than get my buzz from people and activities around me. But I’ve learnt that I don’t need to be ‘busy’ all the time. That drive to ‘use every moment’ and ‘live life to the full’ comes from me, and I am not sure what it achieves. I definitely don’t want to self-isolate on a permanent basis, but it is OK to do nothing sometimes.
On seeing the Bell Pottinger and Oakbay Capital story unravel, I imagine the temptation of most PR agencies is to argue that’s not how other PR agencies work, and to ask that we are not judged by the behaviour of one of the world’s largest agencies.
On the day of the Olympic opening ceremony in Rio, and almost four years to the day since I put on my Gamesmaker uniform, I’ve been thinking back to the sense of excitement I felt being part of London 2012. The country was buzzing with national pride and a slight smugness that we’d managed to pull off something quite so spectacular – ahead of time. For an event that so few people were lucky enough to be directly involved in, it felt like the whole country was behind this brilliant British export.
Stand Agency has appointed Rakhee Rajani to further build the agency’s broadcast expertise and video content offer.
Laura Oliphant, Stand Agency’s MD was recently interviewed by Prospect Resourcing on life inside and outside of Stand towers.
Stand Agency’s MD, Laura Oliphant, was recently interviewed by Gorkana on cutting her teeth in charity PR, why research is so important to ensure good judgement calls and plans for unaided yoga headstands by this time next year.
According to Theo ‘Dragon’s Den’ Paphitis, 50% of small businesses fail in their first three years. With small businesses constituting 99.6% of all business in the UK private sector, the economic implication of them succeeding or failing is huge. In some cases, as he says, inadequate preparation is the reason, but cash flow is the lifeblood of small businesses and can be the deciding factor in their survival.
A few weeks ago pictures were shared of Andy Murray’s motivational notes he carries with him during a big match. Some of them apply to life in general, like be good to yourself and others are more tennis specific, like keep going for your serve. The idea of reminding yourself of what helps you perform at your best got me thinking about what inspires me to be the best I can be. So taken with this idea we have created a quote wall at Stand Agency Towers so we can get some quick inspiration on the way to the kitchen. In terms of what I would have on my motivational crib sheet here are a few ideas: Read more “Keep going for your serve”
The flourishing flowers across London, specifically on the Stand HQ roof top got me thinking about what makes a business bloom. Whilst I don’t have all the answers, I think it is an interesting topic to debate, and gives the perfect opportunity to talk about some of the ways that Stand Agency is blooming.
By Laura Oliphant
Along with thousands of other Games Makers I recently finished my spell volunteering for the London 2012 Olympics. Well before we received our public thanks at the closing ceremony and the personal thanks through emails from the likes of Lord Coe and the First Lady, pin badges and a special edition relay baton, I completed nine long shifts whilst still juggling the day (and home!) job.
You’ll be relieved to know I have no plans to use this blog to gather sympathy for my long hours or get more thanks for being a Games Maker. Instead I wanted to share my view on how I think London2012 recruited and throughout the Games energised 70,000 volunteers to be the positive face of the Olympics, and how we can apply some of this Games Maker magic in our day job as communicators. Whilst most of our clients won’t be asking people to get involved in the ‘Greatest Show on Earth’, engaging big groups of people is part of our everyday challenge.
I became a Games Maker to use my professional skills and experience to help ensure the world’s media got a professional and efficient service, hopefully resulting in positive headlines for London2012. However as I got into the role it became less about me and more about feeling part of a powerful movement. It gave me a new confidence – I talked to strangers and they talked to me. I felt proud to wear a (far from flattering) uniform and flash my accreditation (and pin badge collection) in public. I think I showed a different me and after hearing another volunteer sing Happy and You Know It over a tannoy at the Olympic Park to keep the crowd entertained, I think others did too. When I hung up my uniform for the last time, something was missing, I’d lost a bit of the purpose in my step and all too soon I started to look down when I passed people on the street rather than greeting them with a smile.
So back to the point of this blog… What can we learn from the Games Maker programme when developing campaigns focused on engaging big groups of people? The obvious thing is to try and make your target audience (whether volunteers or groups of professionals) feel part of united group, a collective. Give that collective a name or identifiable brand and develop ways of ensuring they recognise and identify with each other (thankfully I’m not recommending a purple and red uniform here). We know it is vital to communicate with audiences regularly, but vary the way you position and deliver that message. As a Games Maker I was thanked every day but how, when and by whom was always different. It got my attention and made me feel valued. Finally, remind your target audience of the difference they’re making. Whether it’s through a smile, a song or waving a pink hand like many did at the Olympics, or through the more traditional ways we can volunteer or provide our support to causes.
Now back to my post Olympic therapy – watching all 16 days of action I missed on catch-up whilst wearing my Games Maker uniform.