The last 10 years have gone by in a flash. Back in 2009, the UK was just coming out of an 18-month recession, the Apple iPhone was only two years old and the UK music charts were dominated by Dizzee Rascal, the Black Eyed Peas and Pixie Lott.
In 2009 we were worried about swine flu, Italian patrol boats in the Mediterranean first returned a group of asylum seekers to Libya, and politician Peter Mandelson was splattered in green custard by a protestor. So, some things have changed… others haven’t.
But internal communication did look very different.
When we created Sequel in June 2009, merging together two existing comms specialists, most internal communications work was focused around traditional media, so printed publications, magazines and newsletters were what we delivered.
We started a new company, secure in the knowledge that the majority of our business was regular work, already budgeted for the coming 12 months, with just a few of our projects being digital.
But even though work 10 years ago was certainly more straightforward, I wouldn’t swap it for our work today.
Now digital projects make up more than half of what we deliver alongside strategy, technology, video and print. We’re delivering more campaigns and one-off projects, making agency life challenging, but interesting and more creative.
We get the chance to work more closely with clients and to understand their business challenges and goals. Today we’re part of the client’s extended team, involved before the start of a project and working closely alongside them to help shape thinking, approaches and delivery.
We’ve got a far greater choice of tools and ways to communicate. IC pros have gone from reporting old, linear news and information to creating conversations and dialogue across multiple media and generations. We have to be more creative around how we integrate content and use video, animation, infographics and interactive channels.
And engaging people has shifted from getting attention through a headline and picture to finding different ways to involve people in the story. Employees are recognised as being powerful company advocates – inside and outside an organisation – and as their value has grown, so has the value that great internal communication makes to performance and business success.
That makes working life far more interesting!
Just when you think you’ve nailed best practice or cracked the comms benefits of 0365, something changes to make you rethink.
Looking back, I think I’m most proud of how Sequel and its talented people take what they know and flex/change/adapt where needed. We’ve kept sight of our core skills, of keeping what we do effective and simple, and being very hands-on. We’ve won 100+ awards to date and are still working with some of our loyal clients today that we had 10 years ago, helping them grow and stay ahead of the game.
Like most experts on the lookout for the latest ‘thing’, we’ve sometimes been distracted by the ‘shiny’, but on the whole, staying focused and open to taking on feedback and new learning have made the last 10 years good ones.
And the next 10 years? Will driverless cars be the norm? Will we use electronic tokens instead of cash? Will we all have online avatars? Will some form of Brexit take shape? Who knows – we’re living in disruptive times – but we know that Sequel will still be here, still making a difference, delivering for clients, and still relevant.