Brendon Craigie, co-founder and managing partner at Tyto PR, reveals why the agency has a flexible working model, the most challenging and rewarding aspects of founding a business and what the next big tech innovation will be.
What were the challenges moving from running a large agency like Hotwire to then going back to founding an agency with a small team?
The biggest challenge is also the biggest opportunity – namely, you start with a blank sheet of paper.
Based on lots of conversations with past clients, we could create a very clear strategic vision for our agency, so we knew the direction we wanted to head in. However, this doesn’t take away from the fact that we then needed to make this a reality in every little aspect of the business.
In a large agency, it’s 95% business as usual with minimal innovation. When founding a new agency, from day one, it’s 100% innovation. The upside of this is that there is a chance to build something completely fresh that’s never been seen before.
Why does Tyto PR specialise in tech, science and innovation?
Technology, science and innovation are driving both economic growth and the wider social agenda concerned with improving our quality of life. In the past, these themes were the preserve of experts, but today they are mainstream debates permeating society and all levels of business.
The worlds of technology, science and innovation are also colliding, and, in doing so, are uniting to find solutions to the world’s greatest problems.
What are the most challenging and most rewarding aspects of starting a business?
Laying out a vision and making it a reality is probably the most rewarding. You get to handpick the people you work with (both employees and clients), and you get to make decisions in the very best interests of your clients rather than short term financial goals.
The more difficult aspect of this is the need to be clear and selective over the types of briefs and clients you want to work with. We have to be very disciplined about this and have turned down 75% of the briefs we’ve been invited to pitch for. In fact, so far 90% of all our clients have come via referral without a pitch at all.
Tyto PR has a flexible working philosophy at its core. Why did you decide to go in that direction and what does it mean practically for the agency?
In practical terms it just means that when we’re not meeting as an agency or with clients; employees can work wherever they like. We’ve taken great care to ensure our IT caters for and accommodates this, which makes this way of working as seamless as the traditional office without all the wasted time and energy on commuting.
Consequently, when everyone is remote, no-one actually feels remote. I should, however, also caveat this with the fact that most of us – through one form or another – still see each other in person once or twice a week.
But, why do we do this?
- We were inspired by lots of high growth technology companies already doing it
- It felt like a socially innovative approach creating huge quality of life benefits for employees
- It meant we could provide our clients with the very best talent from around the world, regardless of where these individuals are based
The end result – our clients have unlimited access to a team of comms black belts.
Do you believe more businesses will move away from having a bricks and mortar office?
I think the idea of the office in the old-fashioned sense of the word is the greatest source of friction in the talent market.
By removing the need to hire individuals solely on the basis of their ability to commute to a single location on a daily basis, this opens up a much wider and more diverse talent pool. It also greatly reduces the need for ambitious individuals being forced to work inside the M25 corridor.
How has the changing perception of the tech industry altered the way PRs go about working with companies in the sector?
Tech companies have gone from operating in the shadows away from preying eyes to becoming the most exposed and scrutinised businesses in the world. In short, the entire tech industry is under attack like never before.
Some of these companies already know it but are struggling to get to grips with it, other companies aren’t quite up to speed with the changing relationship between the industry and the expectations of society at large.
How do you look to measure the work you do?
Client loyalty. Everything we do is about giving our clients everything they want and everything they don’t even know they need.
Finally, what do you believe will be the biggest global innovation within the next five years?
The mass adoption of electric cars.