The Agency Collective

 

Impact Report 2023

AC Transparent logo

At the Agency Collective, our purpose is clear: to support our community to run happier, healthier agencies by helping our members collaborate, do good, learn and grow.

 

Agencies that do good are at the heart of our community, and we are very proud to present our impact report for 2023.

This year, the team behind The AC has been working hard to continue the good work we did in 2022. Our highlights of the year include: 

  • Achieving B Corp certification
  • Launching the Changemaker Award
  • Sharing the results of our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion survey
  • Running transformative, educational events for our members 
  • Measuring (and reducing) our carbon footprint
  • Growing our community forest to over 140,000 trees
  • Supporting several charities and community initiatives

Find out more about each of these below:

Big News

Undoubtedly, the standout moment of the year unfolded in June when The Agency Collective achieved B Corp certification after nearly a year on a transformative journey. This milestone marks our commitment to being part of a global movement striving for an inclusive, equitable, and regenerative economy. Beyond profit, B Corps prioritise people, communities, and the environment, fitting right in with our own values.

Our pursuit of B Corp certification prompted us to formalise existing practices and embark on new initiatives, including the measurement of our team’s carbon footprint. The verification process affirmed our dedication to responsible business practices, culminating in our proud membership alongside over 6,800 other B Corp businesses worldwide.

For an in-depth look at our B Corp journey, you can explore the details here.

Crucially, achieving B Corp status does not signify the end of our commitment but rather the beginning of a continual improvement journey. One element of this is a continual review of our suppliers. As a result, we recently transitioned from using Eventbrite to Ticket Tailor, a fellow B Corp who shares our values. Not only do they offer lower fees per ticket sold, reducing costs for our members, but they also invest a percentage of every ticket sale in four UK-based climate charities. To date, they have raised an impressive £150k.

More Big News

We recently announced the four agencies that achieved The Agency Collective’s Changemaker Award. This accolade was established to honour agencies that embody the exemplary standards of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) in the workplace, not just as a policy commitment but as a living and breathing aspect of their agency culture. You can read more about Changemakers here.

Josh - Regency Creative

Agency Spotlight – Josh Gutteridge, Regency Creative

 

Why Did Regency Become a B Corp?

It’s easy to say you care about people and planet, but that alone isn’t enough anymore. We have to go beyond the signalling and noise to ask for more action. Something raw. Something real. Something that resonates.

As agency owners we have an opportunity, no, a responsibility, to drive positive change.

Joining the B Movement was a small, but punchy way that we, as an agency, could make a minor adjustment to become part of a much bigger movement making major changes.

We’ve also noticed procurement is getting tighter, with organisations being forced to show what they’re doing in ‘Good Business’. So, if you haven’t taken a look into how you might be able to do better business, now’s the time to make sure you’re not going to be left behind.

Benefits of Being a B Corp for Regency

At Regency, we don’t know how to be anyone but ourselves – it’s in our founding DNA. When it comes to being a B Corp, the more we communicate our values, the more aligned our new business and future partners are. It makes our conversation better and our relationships stronger. We have amazing clients who, in turn, have become lifelong friends.

We do our due diligence to ensure long-term matches with our clients and partners, and our B Corp accreditation is only helping us to further this reality. But it’s so much more than an accreditation. It’s validation. It’s responsibility. It’s a progressive guide that supports the progress of our passion and ability. This leads to better, more impactful cultural work that drives results.

Why Working as a B Corp is Important to Regency

Ultimately, we’re an agency powered by purpose. From our team, to our clients, a purpose driven approach is the common vein in all aspects of our business. For us, B Corp Certification is a way of making this official, it’s a way of showing we take it seriously.

I think it’s common knowledge that most creative agency’s do great work – but at Regency we want to go one step further than great work. We want to do great work that’s been built on great business principles. B Corp provides us with a way of authenticating the way we work – it not only challenges us as an agency, but it challenges our clients to make better procurement decisions too. 

Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t think B Corp is the silver bullet to good business. In an ideal world this should be the baseline for all business. But, until this becomes a prerequisite to the way we work as an industry, we’ll continue to do all we can to contribute towards a B Corp-shaped shift in business practice! 

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

At the beginning of this year, The Agency Collective undertook its second annual Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion survey, with nearly 100 agency owners actively participating. The results, though varied, revealed encouraging progress in several key areas, showcasing the collective commitment to fostering an inclusive and diverse industry.

Key Survey Findings:

Gender Diversity:

    • 54% of industry employees identify as women, surpassing the national average gender split by 3%.
    • A notable 40% of senior management team members are female, reflecting strides towards gender inclusivity at leadership levels.

LGBTQ+ Inclusivity:

    • An impressive 7% of the agency workforce identifies as LGBTQ+, more than doubling the UK population figure of 3.1%. This underscores a positive trend towards fostering a workplace that embraces diverse sexual orientations and identities.

Accessibility Initiatives:

    • 50% of survey respondents actively implement workplace adjustments to enhance accessibility for employees with disabilities. This represents a significant increase from the previous year, where only 30% of agencies reported making such accommodations. This notable jump underscores a growing awareness and commitment to creating inclusive environments for all employees.

These findings not only highlight the progress made within our community but also underscore the collective responsibility to continue pushing the boundaries of diversity, equity, and inclusion. By openly sharing these results, we aim to inspire ongoing dialogue and action, fostering an environment where every individual feels valued and represented within the agency landscape.

You can read more about our survey HERE

We ran a series of events this year to support our members to create more diverse, inclusive and equitable workplaces.  Here are just a few of them:

  • Nutritional therapy to prevent burnout
  • The Gut Brain Connection: How mind influences mood
  • A menopause story
  • Planning & delivering Diverse & inclusive events
  • Men’s mental health check in
  • Self – compassion, a missing skill for men’s mental health
  • Suicide & grief in the workplace
  • Trans & Queer Inclusivity, & Targeting These Audiences

We look forward to sharing more soon about how our events are having a positive impact on our agencies.

Life Begins at menopause
Hattie - East Village

Agency Spotlight – Hattie D’Souza, East Village

 

How has making DE&I a priority improved our agency for good?

Diversity Equity and Inclusion is always a top priority at East Village and has been from day 1, however in recent years we have become really intentional and committed and made sure we have put our money where our mouth is when it comes to DE&I.  

We wouldn’t be an agency who delivered any kind of meaningful comms if we hadn’t made it a priority.  As PR professionals we want to tell the best stories to our clients’ audiences, however those audiences are all different so if our entire team speak the same, think the same and have the same experiences we are only ever going to meaningfully be able to talk to people who are the same as us and that’s not very helpful.

So for us, making sure we have DE&I practices and making sure that the people we employ all come from different walks of life, we can best support our clients to have their stories told to different audiences.

How has being more inclusive helped your agency?

It isn’t enough to just have a diverse workforce, its not enough to just hire people who look different. If you don’t have an inclusive and equitable workplace, it’s pointless.  We have prioritised making sure East Village is a safe space for people to be able to share what they want to share and also to be able to challenge each other’s views in a safe way and call each other into conversations rather than call each other out.  As part of our training and how we empower our team to ensure they know they have a voice that matters, we really focus on ensuring everyone’s voice is heard.

We have been able to attract great employees, we have attracted new clients and those two things work in a way where everyone feels valued and heard and supported.  It’s made us really dynamic, forward thinking and a really compassionate place to work.

What does being part of the AC’s Changemaker award mean to you?

Being recognised as The Agency Collective’s top Changemaker was hugely important for us.  From advising on the criteria based on our own team Charter and Client Due Diligence Checker; through to completing the award and receiving our high score: being able to illustrate and recognise the impact we’re having thanks to the AC’s Changemaker Award is massive for us.

Not only does being a Changemaker allow us to shout about the commitments to DE&I that we as an agency are making – attracting and retaining top talent and impressing prospective clients; it also helps us to support and collaborate with other agencies across the landscape to implement even more great policies and make the workplace more equitable for all!

The Environment

As agencies, we wield considerable influence not only within our industry but also in shaping the perspectives of clients and their customers. It’s an influence that comes with responsibility—one that extends beyond the boardroom to the broader arena of environmental stewardship.

Climate Change Action:

Climate change, a preventable crisis, underscores the imperative for agencies to actively contribute to sustainable practices. One impactful avenue is through planting trees, and as a founding member of the Million Tree Pledge, The Agency Collective has been at the forefront of this initiative.

Million Tree Pledge:

  • Growing our Ecologi Forest:
    • We plant 20 trees for every new member joining the AC, collectively contributing to the growth of our Ecologi forest.
  • Community Forest Engagement:
    • Members initiating their own forests and joining our community forest trigger an additional pledge—50 trees planted in their individual forest.
  • Impactful Results:
    • Thanks to our committed members, we’ve planted over 3,000 trees this year alone, with 22 members actively participating in our community forest. To date, our collective efforts have resulted in the planting of over 140,000 trees.
140,000
Trees planted in our Ecologi Forest so far!

Team AC’s Commitment:

Understanding that collective action is the key, Team AC is actively engaged in reducing our carbon footprint and embracing sustainable practices.

  • Carbon Offsetting:
    • Our team utilises GikiEarthZero, a website that not only calculates our carbon footprint but also provides invaluable tips on reducing it.
    • This year, we offset 46 tonnes of carbon for the team by planting trees, a tangible step towards environmental responsibility.
  • Individual Pledges:
    • Recognizing that every small action contributes to significant change, Team AC has made individual pledges, including growing organic vegetables, composting to reduce food waste, consuming foods in-season only, creating a wildlife garden, opting for second-hand clothes, seeking reusable items, switching energy suppliers, and using eco-friendly cleaning and washing detergents.

We firmly believe that while we may not be able to do everything, everyone can do something. The Million Tree Pledge and our team’s personal commitments reflect our dedication to fostering a sustainable future—one where agencies, clients, and communities coalesce to make a positive impact on our planet.

Supporting Education and Inspiring the Next Generation:

At The Agency Collective, we firmly believe that inspiring the next generation and contributing to the world of work is a shared responsibility that extends beyond the confines of our industry. Here’s a glimpse into our commitment to education and community support:

Mock Interview Days:

  • We’ve once again donated our time to actively support local schools through initiatives like mock interview days. By participating in these events, we aim to provide valuable insights and guidance to students as they navigate the transition from education to the workforce.

Supporting Educational Books for Schools:

  • Education holds a special place in our hearts at the AC, prompting us to take a proactive role in supporting schools. This year, we proudly made a significant donation to PopnOlly, an organisation dedicated to creating video, books and classroom resources for primary schools.  Our donation directly contributes to PopnOlly’s mission of teaching about equality and diversity in primary schools. Their resources play a crucial role in combating LGBT+ prejudice at an early stage, fostering an environment of inclusivity and understanding.

Education is a cornerstone of empowerment, and at The Agency Collective, we are committed to playing our part in nurturing the potential of future generations. Through these initiatives, we aspire to instil a sense of curiosity, inclusivity, and a passion for learning in the hearts of students, setting the stage for a brighter and more equitable future.

Gavin - Search Seven

Member Spotlight – Gavin Willis, Search Seven

What do you do in your agency to support the community and deliver social impact?

When I started Search Seven in 2011, I had a clear vision to use it as a vehicle for change; providing search marketing (SEO & Paid Media) services for our clients whilst setting a charity pledge of giving back 7% of our profits to charity each year through fundraising and/or direct donations.

Now in our 12th year, we have supported a total of 47 charities, hosting 23 events, and we are delighted to say we have raised £120,000 to support community projects, both locally in Sussex, nationally, and also a few international projects, including STEP Bulgaria and the Nkruringo Community in Uganda.

What are the benefits to your agency of doing this?

Our strong charity ethos and people culture has helped attract new people to work with us, as well as new clients and partner agencies – all looking to work with an agency that matches their own values and gives extra meaning to their work or partnerships.

What advice would you give to other agencies who want to do this?

When you have a business to run and profits to maintain, it is tough to give up so much time and effort to give back, but I would honestly say that our charity purpose has helped us to grow, and I strongly believe that by giving back you can move forwards. 

We now have three KPIs in the business, People, Purpose and Profit, giving equal weighting to all three key areas, but also giving much needed perspective top what matters.

How has being in the AC helped?

Being a member of the AC has been great. I joined just before the pandemic, but when the pandemic struck, the way the AC pivoted their events to online peer groups and webinars, covering all sorts of challenges and just offering that support that we all need, was brilliant. I have met some great people and formed some amazing partnerships through the AC, and long may that continue.

Coming Up in 2024...

We are not stopping there.  We plan to build on our achievements in 2023 and do even more good in the world.

Look out for:

  • More agencies joining our Changemaker award
  • Enhanced wellbeing and mental health offering for members and their teams
  • External speakers from outside of the agency world to bring fresh insights
  • More online events on key topics, such as new business, finance, purpose and healthy agencies
  • A new way to connect members together, leading to stronger relationships, opportunities and peer support
  • A new set of agency leader guides, tackling the key challenges with agency life

Thank you to all the agencies who have been part of our journey in 2023. Here’s to the next year!

Are you interested in learning more about our membership?

Jeni Ashdown

You can book a call directly with our Agency Relationship Manager, Jeni Ashdown, who will tell you all about our amazing community.