The power of partnerships

It’s always nice to get new clients, right? Winning pitches, growing your business, learning about something you’ve never worked on before. Us agencies thrive on it – particularly in B2B world, where that learning bit is so integral to every bit of coverage we create and content we make.

What makes it even nicer is when that new client is also an old client … sort of. We mean someone you’ve worked with before, who’s in your actual network as well as your extended, 5000+ wall of strangers and job titles LinkedIn network. Not just because it’s fun to meet up with old colleagues and talk about the old times, but because a shared working history can often make the future a bit easier to face.

A few months ago, that’s just what happened when we started working with the accountancy tech firm, IRIS. Their CMO, Nick Gregory, first started working with OG CEO Jon Lonsdale back in 1998. And has since worked with us in several guises, and for several firms.

‘I first started working with what would’ve been the first iteration of Octopus Group in 2000, when I was with a dotcom company called Media Surface,’ Nick said.

At the time, it was a PR focused partnership, back in the heady (and increasingly distant) days of long lunches (although, y’know, we wouldn’t mind going back to that). And yes, a lot’s changed since then. How comms are delivered, who to, and the relationship between PR firms and journalists have all undergone shifts – which OG has responded to by shifting the philosophy of our agency and the skills and services we offer.

What hasn’t changed is the power of a message, and getting to the heart of a business, a problem or a topic quickly, succinctly and clearly. And it’s these core principles around the need for a message and clarity that led to a reconnection when Nick started at IRIS, and had two initial objectives:

Find an agency that could generate meaningful media coverage. And land a brand name in the minds of its prospects. By which we meant the kind of ‘oh, I know them’ recognition that many tech brands strive for, but is generally pretty hard to come by.

It’s a tall ask, for sure. But if we get there together over the coming years, it’ll be because we know how to work together having done it before.

‘As a CMO you’ve got to know what you’re good at and can do in house, and what you need to put through agencies. As well as how you make that agency investment successful,’ Nick said. ‘It’s a trust thing. I need to turn to people I can trust to deliver, so we can keep up with the pace of the world as it changes. There is a sense that if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you always got. But if you choose your partnerships right that’s not a problem. It’s a good thing! It goes beyond an agency relationship.’

And that’s just it right? Good partnerships go beyond agency relationships and instead become something more. It’s why at OG we like our client services teams to be brand champions in house, as well as knowledge bases, who know your business just as well as you do. And why, when offices were habitable spaces, we liked to spend time in yours and have you come spend time with us.

What it all comes down to is something we hung our hat on a few years ago now: better relationships get faster results. With Nick at IRIS that relationship started several decades ago, and is still strong. Now we hope some of the people we’re meeting over Zoom and Teams today will be friends we can work with for a long time to come.