Opinion: When saying “no” to new business is the right response

Brands define themselves by what they do and what they don’t do. But, if you’re a PR agency in your first 12 months how can you really say “no” to new business? With Kin&Co celebrating its one year anniversary today, its founder and Suzy Spirit Award winner Rosie Warin, tells us how sometimes saying “no” helped build the agency.


rosie-warin-kinandco

Rosie Warin

When I started Kin&Co a year ago today, it was tempting to take on any piece of client work that came our way.

Being selective can feel very risky, but in the long run it pays off. Taking this position has attracted some incredibly high profile clients, like O2, Danone, WWF, TripAdvisor, KeepCup and Crisis – and won us several awards.

It helps that I was very clear Kin&Co was created with a purpose beyond profit at its core. From the start we’ve said the company will exist to empower people to create a happier, healthier world. And we’ll only work on projects that will help achieve that.

It means hard decisions though – and sometimes ignoring well-intentioned advice.

Our work on the EU referendum is a good example. In a bid to prevent an outcome that went against all our values, we co-founded and ran We Are Europe, the pro-EU youth campaign.

In eight short weeks, it became the third biggest campaign of the referendum, reached 79 million people internationally and contributed to youth turnout rising from a predicted 32% to an unprecedented 68%. We were advised against getting involved – too partisan, we’d lose money – but we stuck to our guns, and we’re all pretty proud of that.

Honouring your values doesn’t just attract clients – the PR industry is awash with disillusioned professionals who want to do more than feed the bottom line.

We’ve found that our confidence to only work with the right clients, in line with our strong ethos and culture, has attracted some of the industry’s top talent. It’s a virtuous circle. The team are working on campaigns that inspire them, we deliver award-winning work, clients feel the love. Simple.

I’m very conscious of practising what we preach, which is why we achieved B Corporation status at the start of 2017. It’s a reflection of our commitment to embed social purpose across the business, and now we’re working with Danone to help their business units become certified too.

We’re incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved in our first year. The task now will be to ensure that we stay true to our values as we enter our next stage of growth, and keep feeling empowered to say no.

kinandco

The Kin&Co team

  • Rosie Warin founded Kin&Co in February 2016. Before that, she was CEO of Global Tolerance, a consulting agency that works with changemakers dedicated to making the world a happier and more equal place. She was also the winner of the inaugural Suzy Spirit Award in 2014, which recognises exceptional ‘character, integrity and determination’.
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