A Q & A with Guy Walsingham, CEO, Red Lorry Yellow Lorry
· It’s fair to say it’s been a tricky quarter for all PR agencies. How has it been at Red Lorry Yellow Lorry?
It’s certainly been an unusual time. Like businesses in all industries, we’ve had to adapt quickly, but our sector has been impacted less than many.
One the one hand, a few clients have had to pause or scale back their campaigns, which was expected amid all the uncertainty. And, on the other hand, we’ve secured several notable client wins over the last few months, such as TrapX, Superwise.AI, Pixyz and Bynder. We’re also seeing a healthy new business pipeline as we head into Q3, so we’re optimistic – despite everyone slowly going mad being stuck at home!
Another positive is that this time has enabled us to focus on growing our Convoy partner network, which is continuing to expand. We’ve recently added new partners in Belgium and New Zealand, bringing it up to 26 partners covering more than 50 countries.
· Tell us about your most recent client win announcement. Why is it significant?
Earlier this month, we announced that we signed Bynder, a global leader in digital asset management technology (DAM). Led by our Boston team, the program will focus on increasing brand awareness among creative and marketing professionals in multiple regions, through a combination of media and influencer relations and organic social media initiatives.
We’re particularly excited about this win because it’s a global remit that engages all of our offices in the US and Europe, as well as our Convoy network through our partner in the Netherlands.
It also marks the next step in the growth of our burgeoning martech practice, adding to existing clients including Seismic and Never.no. Although it’s a crowded space, martech has long been a speciality of ours and one that we’re focused on developing further over the coming months.
· You mentioned the Convoy network – what benefits does having access to a global agency network give to agencies and clients?
We set up Convoy to save our clients the overhead of researching and managing the best agencies in every country. Clients get the benefit of localized campaigns with market specialists on the ground in all major territories. Convoy offers the best of both worlds – global reach and insights from local experts – with everything managed centrally to ensure consistency and drive ROI.
For agencies, they get to collaborate on advice-led content that’s of value to the industries they operate in and be part of a bigger network of like-minded firms. This presents opportunities to share business and insights, and provides access to a wider range of potential international clients.
· It’s an interesting time to start up with a new client. How has the pandemic impacted the way you’ve been working with clients?
For many clients, we’ve had to pivot away from planned campaigns and instead focus on more timely announcements and activities. For example, we’ve helped our client Luminati promote its involvement in the Sprint Covid medical research group, and supported Clear AI’s external communications around its work helping NHS Trusts track PPE in the UK.
We’ve also made sure we’re not holding clients hostage to contracts and payment periods, as now is not the time to fixate on technicalities. Most of our clients have been with us for many years, so if we need to scale back or pause our programs, we know the relationships are there to see us through.
· Do you think this ‘new normal’ will force a change in how agencies operate? How will they have to adapt?
Obviously we still don’t know exactly how everything will play out, but this pandemic will likely be the catalyst for a huge amount of long-term change.
At a basic level, you’ve got general remote working practices and capabilities to consider – which almost overnight became a ‘need to have’ rather than just a ‘nice to have.’ There has to be a focus on enabling more personable and effective digital collaboration, both internally and externally with clients and partners, along with a need to engage and motivate employees working remotely.
With fewer events and opportunities to physically meet people, agencies will also have to better develop their content marketing and lead generation services. We’ve already seen increasing demand in these areas, which we expect to continue in the future.