The head of our of Sustainability Leadership and Communications team, Ashleigh, has been spending a lot of time with Ellie Moss and the team from Focus Creative lately. We caught up with Ash and Ellie to find out what’s been going on.
Ellie, tell us a bit about Focus?
Ellie: We’re a bit of a hybrid agency. We’re all about great creative, but we’ve also got this really nerdy side that loves to go deep into data and consumer behaviour to look for insights that shape our creative thinking. Personally, I love nothing more than interviewing consumers or stakeholders, prodding and probing for that gem of an insight.
How did you guys find each other?
Ash: Arriving from London where I was leading a sustainability practice within a creative agency, I was asked to build a new leadership and communications offering for Edge, but it wasn’t about becoming a creative agency. I needed to find a partner who shared my vision for bringing sustainability to life and commitment to the cause. Focus has both of these in spades.
Ellie: I guess we knew of each other through some of the government work we were both doing; it felt inevitable that we would work together in some shape or form. Once we got over that awkward ‘first date’ feeling, it turned into a crush pretty quickly.
What makes it such a good match?
Ellie: I’ve long-since been a convert to sustainability and so have been on the lookout for a partner that we could work with to get more involved in the space. When Ash came along it was a pretty good fit as both Focus and Edge have similar ways of working: small, nimble, client focused… and they’re just really good people.
Ash: It’s true. I believe in the power of intuition and right away Focus felt like a great fit. Ellie’s excitement was pretty contagious, and I knew pretty early on that we’d get great results and enjoy the process too.
Why now? What’s made the partnership timely?
Ellie: I think there’s a growing realisation that big change is not going to be achieved by just repeating the science. We need to communicate clearly and to a much broader audience to affect large-scale change. The case for change has often been to technical and so has either turned people off or has flown under the radar.
Ash: 100%! Jonas, our CEO, brought me to Edge to tackle that issue. So many of our clients do great things but haven’t always been successful translating this into something people actually understand. If we can tell those stories, we can massively accelerate the pace of change. And god knows we need to!
What kinds of work are you doing together?
Ellie: So far it’s been pretty wide-ranging. We’ve worked on the bringing companies’ sustainability strategies to life, both internally and externally. And we’ve got into some pretty technical areas: it’s an interesting challenge to help a client get the market excited about an EPD. It’s been fun looking at sustainability through a host of different lenses: design, social media, campaigns, events…
Ash: We’re working on an exciting project that I can’t say much about. We’re helping a corporate position and launch their sustainability strategy internally and externally. They’ve got big ambition, backing from the top and a clear vision. Stay tuned.
How does working in a partnership benefit your respective clients?
Ash: It’s about specialisation. Focus are the best at what they do, and we’re the best at what we do. But we’ve also worked out pretty quickly how we can collaborate to bring those strands together. The junction between sustainability and strategic communications has often been a bit uneasy, but by working in partnership we can help our clients overcome that.
Ellie: It also helps that we’re both relatively small organisations. We work fast, and we’re very responsive. Larger companies tend to have templates they work with and a more fixed way of thinking. At Focus we’re always looking for new ways of doing things, and to create bespoke solutions. Edge are very much the same, so it works well, and clients reap the benefits.
Any great stories from the partnership so far?
Ash: Unfortunately, we’re sworn to secrecy about our most exciting projects. But not for much longer. Watch this space!
To find out more about how Edge and Focus can help you tell your organisation’s sustainability story, contact us. And, in case you missed it, you can see Ellie talk about sustainability storytelling at TEDx Darlinghurst here.