As we celebrate our 35th year in business I take time to think about jellybean and reflect on what we stand for and what may be at the core of our success as a long-standing integrated food and drink agency. And as coral is the gift for a 35th anniversary it seems appropriate to use that as a start point.

C is for Culture
For all the years we have been operating we have established and maintained a culture of real teamwork and collaboration internally and with our clients (some of whom have been with us for over 30 years). We are known for our commitment, creativity, competence and our conquests too. As a result, we are not only a leading agency in our field but also highly respected for what we do. Our culture is simple: we support, we nurture, we value, and we reward every member of the team. Everyone has a voice, and everyone has a place and that is why we consistently perform well above the norm in industry employee engagement surveys. Our team is proud to work at the agency, encouraged to speak up and trusted to do a good job. As the founder and CEO, I am also proud of our culture and our achievements over the past 35 years and only too aware that this has only been possible because we truly CARE about each other, our industry, our contacts and what we do.

O is for Objective
We work to very challenging objectives or KPIs, both as individuals and on campaigns for our clients and furthermore are objective in our thinking to find the right way to “skin the cat”. We have always been a truly integrated agency with an industry specialism in food and drink marketing, both in and out of home. This means that as solution architects we approach a client’s brief with no bias to any pre-set solution. Unlike many agencies that naturally default to their area of expertise, we can offer a wide range of solutions to meet communication objectives at all levels by employing specialists across a range of disciplines (PR, social, digital, design, marketing – the list goes one). Over the past 35 years this objectivity has enabled us to put forward truly integrated and seamless campaigns that work cohesively across every media channel. And because we are always in touch with and embrace new ground-breaking comms opportunities, we have grown our range of services and offer our clients an extensive toolkit to keep them ahead of the curve.

R is for Resilience
Resilience has always been a trademark of the agency (or we wouldn’t still be here after 35 years) but it has never been more critical than in the last 2 years when running the business. Effectively managing our people and IT and pivoting our clients’ campaigns to deal with impacts of the pandemic presented unprecedented and unknown challenges. The jellybean team has been always incredibly resilient, not to mention tenacious, motivated and willing to embrace change. They have been determined to make it happen whatever hurdles or difficulties are thrown at us. Winning 4 industry awards in the past year is just one testament to our mettle and resilience, as well as recognition of the great work we were able to produce in the most turbulent of times.

A is for Assets
Our biggest asset is our people and that is why we are dedicated to staff training and development and have formal two-way annual reviews and appraisals to map progress against set KPIs, gain 360° feedback from peers and identify training needs (on the job, internal workshops, external courses and accredited professional qualifications). We want all our team to progress and grow in their role and career at the agency and achieve their full potential. In a nutshell we invest in our greatest asset and are proud of our retention record; over 25% of the team have been with us 10 years or more and 25% of the team have left and returned to the business, finding that the grass is not greener after all. What this means to our clients is that we have an engaged, happy, fulfilled, and motivated team with the very best marketing skills and industry expertise to handle their account and manage their projects.

L is for Looking Forward
I am looking forward to our 36th year! All the exciting campaigns we have lined up, all the new services we are researching, and of course working with our amazing team and watching them develop new skills and confidence in the year ahead. Plus, I am particularly enthusiastic and focussed on progressing our ESG/CSR plans. jellybean has always been a socially responsible and ethical agency, but we now have a strategy that sets out the company’s green goals, amalgamating what we already have in place with our planned initiatives under our new sustainability policy. The whole team have been involved in identifying actions we can take to improve our environmental and social impact, and ensure we practice good governance.

According to a benchmark report from WOW in 2022, SME’s are responsible for 30% of all UK emissions, so collectively have a big role to play when it comes to climate change. It is no good sitting back and expecting all the big boys to make changes! So, we haven’t.

77% of agencies over £1m turnover are spending 1% or more of net profit on environmental or social impact, so it is a hot topic and one where again jellybean has excellent credentials. The same report found that 71% of agencies make charitable donations, 48% give time free to charity projects, 14% give a % of profits to charity each year and 26% give time to support charities. I am proud that jellybean has been doing all these since our very inception over 35 years ago.
We have already come a long way in the past year in our commitment to do good by the climate, air, nature, oceans, and waste. We are already a climate neutral workforce working with Ecologi to plant trees, invest in renewables and offset carbon (only 28% of agencies are doing this) and are embarking on an exciting journey to become carbon neutral by 2030 or before (only 41% of agencies are taking steps to be net zero) so again we are ahead of the curve.

Purpose drives performance and I am looking forward to jellybean achieving its commercial and green goals and to us doing our bit to “save the planet” and protect the oceans including the beautiful coral reefs.

Here’s to the next 35 years and all it may bring.