Do you think it’s important for agencies to partner with diversity and inclusion experts like Sam on projects like this?
That’s definitely important, I guess this project has reaffirmed to me the importance of empathy in marketing. To be empathetic you need to put yourself in someone else’s shoes – and even with all the research and insight, as a middle-class white guy I’m not always the best person to do that. Agencies shouldn’t presume they know all the answers, you’ve got to bring experts in, and perhaps even more importantly, engage with the right people.
It’s something that’s come into focus working with Writing on the Wall too – if you're trying to reach out to a community in Toxteth about the L8 riots then you need to engage with people who were there, who are part of that community.
How has Gather supported you?
I recently attended the Shift programme and the time to focus on our proposition and think about how we can always stay true to that was really useful. The ‘Why’ is always central to our internal and client work but the Gather team enabled me to drill down into it: what is our USP, what makes us really different. Off the back of that we had a strategy day and the team came up with ideas for how to communicate our why – encouragingly for me it was Molly, our very talented 19 year old apprentice, who nailed the articulation of our why.
What’s so valuable about Gather is that you get best practice from respected leaders who have been there and done it. The networking opportunities are great too, we’ve made good connections with some agencies who complement the work we do.
What’s next for Poke?
It’s been an incredible start for Poke, we’ve quickly grown to a team of nine and just passed our first birthday! Looking forward we want to continue to work with the right clients. Ambitious clients who see the real value of marketing and want to change the world we live in and the communities they work with.
I’d like to have more of an influence on how the Liverpool City Region is perceived as well. I think there is huge potential to really shift how the region markets itself to investors and global companies. Again, I think empathy is key here. Understanding what the external audience need to hear – not necessarily what the loudest voices in the city want to portray. Perhaps there is a role for Poke in this area too.