OneChocolate's Jill Coomber and Sue Grant

60 Seconds with OneChocolate’s Jill Coomber and Sue Grant

Jill Coomber (left) and Sue Grant (right), co-founders and directors of OneChocolate, discuss their PRCA National Awards nomination, founding the agency and their favourite chocolate brands.

Congratulations on your Consultancy Head(s) of the Year Award nomination at the PRCA National Awards. What does the nomination mean to you both?

Both: Thank you. We’re a bit guilty of ‘just getting on with it’ so it’s nice to be recognised.

Why did you both decide to found OneChocolate? And what’s the story behind the name?

Both: We decided we had an idea for creating a different type of agency and doing PR ‘better’ than the agency we were in. Our idea was to focus campaigns around measurement and results – no one else was doing it at that time. That’s a good while ago. Since then our advantage is that we’re always comfortable evolving and adapting to change.

OneChocolate – everyone loves chocolate. If you’re an indie you need a great, memorable name!

How have you been able to grow the agency into one which has four international offices?

Sue: By hand-picking the directors who head up our local offices, making sure we have the same values and principles for doing business, and then working with them very closely to share our culture and expertise.

Jill: Our clients often want international campaigns, so the need is there. The secret is finding good people and the patience to build a great local business too.

What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in your time at OneChocolate? And how has the agency adapted to meet this challenge?

Sue: The growth in digital. It’s been a game-changer for the industry and we’ve worked hard to embrace the opportunities it brings. We’ve adapted by using our OneAcademy people development programme to train everyone in the agency to develop the right skills, as well as recruiting people with the new digital skills that we needed.

Jill: We re-invent ourselves every five years or so. We’re passionate about our clients and the industry, and we’re entrepreneurs – the rest flows from there.

Name your favourite OneChocolate campaign. What sets it apart from the rest?

Jill: Easy, this year it’s Playmobil/London Fire Brigade (LFB) – the campaign has had a great run at this year’s awards: winning the Masters of Marketing’s ‘Best Use of Content’ amongst a good armful of others.

Sue: I agree, Playmobil/LFB, it’s a super -smart campaign that communicated an important story, as well as honouring our hero firefighters, in a very memorable way.

OneChocolate uses “tight, agile teams” to manage its accounts. How does that way of working help your clients?

Jill: You have collection of different brains and skills all working together as one; great teamwork is at the core of our concept.

Sue: Every campaign needs a different mix of skills, by working in tight teams it means we are always putting the right people with the right skills on the most appropriate part of the campaign.

You say that if you can’t measure it you don’t do it. Why do you believe measurement is so important? And how do you set about measuring your campaigns?

Jill: How can you justify ‘success’ if you don’t measure properly? Data – we have access to so much these days. You need to set quality quantifiable targets upfront and then go for it.

Sue: Clients need to know campaigns are making a difference to their business, building their brand and generating leads. Measurement enables us to assess the impact of our campaigns on their business. Measuring our campaigns – trade secret, can’t give that away!

Finally, if you could only eat ONE brand of chocolate for the rest of your life – which would you choose and why?

Jill: Easy – Philip Neal. It’s not cheap – world class quality comes at a price – but you only need one at a time. Turns out great chocolate can be easy on the waistline and pocket!

Sue: Montezuma’s. Great tasting chocolate (with a variety of flavours – from Dark Salted Caramel to Chilli and Lime), ethically-sourced and environmentally-friendly – so I won’t feel too guilty for how many I’ve had.

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