That Little Agency is already growing up...

 

Starting-up a new business is no easy task. In fact, we take our hat off to anyone who wants to throw theirs into the start-up ring. Celebrating their first anniversary, not only is That Little Agency walking… they’re taking big, confident strides. What’s more, growth is definitely on their agenda and plans for their second birthday are already afoot. We caught up with Head of Agency, Mark Beavan, to see how everything is going.

Congratulations on reaching your one-year birthday. How did you celebrate?

It seemed like a good opportunity to have a little party, so we invited everyone who had helped us in some shape or form over the past 12 months to join us on a booze cruise around Bristol. We were really lucky with the weather and there was no football on, so we could really focus on what was important - enjoying ourselves. It was a great way to say thank you and a great way to mark our first birthday. Messing about on the river.

Since setting up That Little Agency, what’s been your greatest challenge?

The biggest challenge was getting our name out there. There are some great agencies in our industry who are top of many employers’ lists when inviting people to tender or pitch. We needed to get ourselves on that list. It was never going to be easy. But we focused on our search, social and digital presence, as well as attending recruitment events, networking meetings and supporting industry awards as a way of raising our profile. As well as directly targeting the businesses that we thought needed our help. And it’s starting to pay off as we’re now receiving enquiries from businesses that we haven’t approached asking for our help.

How has That Little Agency changed since you set it up?

When I first set it up I had a vision that we would be a full-service agency – just a bit smaller. We decided on our services and then took it to market saying, “work with us, we’re great.” But the more I talked to Recruitment, Resourcing and Talent Acquisition Managers, the more I realised that we were approaching it all wrong.  I set up an advisory panel of in-house recruiters and asked them what help they actually needed from an agency. It became clear that they mainly needed support delivering key tactical projects. Fortunately, this was a real strength of ours. So, we realigned our business to meet those needs, focusing purely on employer value proposition (EVP) definition, employer brand development, careers website design, development and delivery, and the strategic use of recruitment marketing. It is an approach that has allowed us to clearly define our offering and play to our strengths. 

Tell us about your EBMA Award win.

Hastings Direct were the first business to really take a punt with us. And they genuinely did take a punt. There were lots of agencies who wanted to work with them. But they had faith in us and as a result we’ll love them forever. They made us feel a true part of their team as we helped them define their EVP, develop their employer brand, build their careers website, feed into their social media strategy, shape their internal communications and shape their recruitment management information. This truly collaborative approach meant that we could deliver work that everyone was really proud of. That faith, drive and pride is what helped them pick up the ‘best digital communication of the employer brand’ award at the Employer Brand Management Awards. They were delighted. And for an agency that focuses of employer brand, careers websites and social media strategy it was one that we really wanted to win too.

What are you most proud of?

We’ve become trusted partners for many of our clients. If they have any questions around branding or attraction we are their go-to people. We’re even the go-to people for some who aren’t yet clients. And, as well as the award wins, we’re also proud of the near misses. Particularly, the highly commended recognition we got in the FIRM and Recruiter Awards. After all, it’s better to have nom’d and lost than never to have nom’d at all.

What sort of clients are you working with?

We love ambitious clients with challenging briefs. Whether it's helping Hastings Direct build their employer brand, developing the recruitment identity for the Connect Group, making films for Principality Building Society, delivering bold and brave websites for Unum and Phoenix Group, helping Lombard Direct attract developers or Wesleyan attract Financial Consultants, we’re as comfortable offering pragmatic, sensible advice as we are innovative, exciting solutions. But we’re always ready for the next challenge.

What’s your elevator pitch?

We’re an award-winning employer branding and marketing agency. We have a very simple purpose … to bring together great people and great employers. We know that every employer has a great story to tell. We’re here to help them discover what that story is, how they should tell it to their target audiences and where they should be sharing it.

We think that we’re the employer branding and marketing agency for those companies who don’t feel that they need an agency. Companies who just need some advice, help or support with a specific piece of work. Yes, we’re little. And we’re unapologetically a start-up. But we’re also keen, ambitious and good at what we do. And we’ve established a team of like-minded professionals whose passion in life is to help businesses use their brand, creativity and technology to attract, engage and retain the very best people.

You recently partnered with Crunch Simply Digital to host a breakfast briefing aimed at helping inhouse recruiters generate talent demand.  Do you have plans for any further events?

A key part of our marketing strategy this year was to get in front of as many in-house recruitment professionals as possible. Find out what support and help they need and then shape our business around that. Our partnerships with Recruitment Events Co. in particular, but also In-house Recruitment Network, the FIRM and Crunch Simply Digital have played a really important part in that. We have built some really strong relationships with members of each of those networks, people who come to us for advice or just to act as a sounding board. They are networks that we are very proud to be part of. So we’ll continue to play as much of a role in them as possible. Supporting them all in building a strong presence outside of the capital.

Any plans to expand the team?

We’re moving into a new office in August, so we have a few desks to fill. Our associate enabled delivery model has served us really well over the past twelve months, allowing us to scale up our team in line with the needs of a project. Or simply select the best talent for a job. But to be sure that we can deliver to the high standards that we set ourselves and that we promise to clients, we will need to bring in more permanent talent. Particularly around project and relationship management. So, this time next year we’ll be a slightly bigger little agency.