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If you work in PR you will know that it tends to be prone to intensive bursts of activity and all-hours working. So how do you make it more flexible and stop losing experienced professionals who find all-hours working difficult to manage?
One agency which is seeking to be a role model for a different way of working is Tyto. Tyto is a new European PR agency focused on technology, science and innovation and appropriately enough it harnesses the power of technology to enable its staff to work in more agile, 21st-century ways. Tyto calls its model PR Without Borders™ and says the model delivers clients greater creativity, efficiency and results across international borders and also provides a way for PR companies to access European PR.
It has a staff of nine, many of whom are parents. Staff have an average of 11 years of experience in PR. Indeed, flexibility around parenting responsibilities was one of the main reasons it was set up. The co-founders, former Hotwire global CEO, Brendon Craigie and a former director of Sense About Science, Ellen Raphael, wanted to hire the best talent, regardless of location and offering more flexible hours.
The structure is flat and all employees have a stake in the business. It currently has staff in the UK, France, Germany and Spain. The emphasis is on collaboration so rather than having a European HQ, PR experts in all countries are given equal weight and considered regardless of borders.
All the staff work remotely, although they are given the choice over whether they want to work from home or an office. They are provided with the best tech, both in terms of hardware (they work on MacBook Pros) and software (such as CircleLoop for calls). There is also a technical expert on call if they encounter technology problems.
One of the things creative types tend to miss from an office location is things like brainstorming sessions. Tyto has found a way around that. David Clare, one of the members of the Tyto team and dad to a two-year-old, says traditional office-based brainstorming sessions tend to be dominated by single ideas. “The discussion tends to zone in on one idea and the person with the loudest voice and everyone groups around it,” he says. Tyto instead uses a creative sprint methodology, a process based on the latest Silicon Valley thinking that allows for more research, thought and diversity of ideas.
Brendon Craigie, co-founder and managing partner said: “The traditional international agency model is inefficient, creatively stagnant, and the antithesis of what it’s meant to be. There’s a new breed of global enterprise, smaller and more agile, that requires a new type of partner to help them address business challenges. Our new model, which is based on insight from over a hundred conversations with CEOs, CMOs and heads of communications, strips away everything that doesn’t make a difference, and doubles down on the things that drive higher quality, more creative results.”