The Agency Collective


Impact Report 2022

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The Agency Collective exists to support our community to run happier, healthier agencies.  We care about the humans behind the agency and we are proud of the wonderful agencies who make up the community. 

These are agencies who want to make a difference in the world. Who want to create a culture where their teams can thrive. Who want to grow, who want to partner with like minded agencies, who want to give back.

Changemakers, creatives, strategists, techies, writers, marketeers – Across all sectors, industries and specialties.

You can see the magic of The Agency Collective every day.

It’s a community that really cares about each other.

It is important peer to peer support: Agencies working together to help support each other to achieve their goals.

A truly special group of agency owners who understand each other and who want to help.

This year, the team behind the AC, have been working hard to bring our mission alive.

We couldn’t keep working with such inspiring agency folk and not pledge to make a difference ourselves.

At The Agency Collective, we strive to have a positive impact on our industry as a whole. 

By working together our mission is to support and encourage agencies to see greater diversity, equity and inclusion in our industry, to be aware of our impact on the environment and educate on ways to improve things and to support disadvantaged youth in schools so they can be encouraged, inspired and supported by our industry and community.

We are very proud to publish our first Impact Report to share how we are achieving our mission.

Big News

The biggest news we wanted to share is that we have been working behind the scenes on our action plan and in October finally submitted our application to become a BCorp.  We were delighted to have joined other AC members on this journey and in turn, inspires new ones to also begin their journey.

It isn’t just about profit, but about people, our communities and the environment.

BCorp businesses are those who want to join a global movement for an inclusive, equitable and regenerative economy.  It isn’t just about profit, but about people, our communities and the environment.

Going through the process helped us formalise some of our practices that we already did but didn’t have any evidence of, and it also made us get cracking on some things that we had never thought of such as measuring our team’s carbon footprint!

Member spotlight – Barry O’Kane at HappyPorch


What has your B Corp journey been like?

B Corp has always been a natural part of our journey as it fits well with the ethical underpinning and values of HappyPorch. But it took us a long time to go through the process. We started before COVID and had several stops and starts. We took our time because it is important to us that we really live our values – which meant using the B Impact Assessment process to reflect on every part of our business. We did the majority of the process internally, and then brought in an BLeader to consult at the end and help us be efficient about the actual certification process.

 What are the benefits to your agency of doing this?

The biggest benefit is clear evidence that we are walking the talk. When starting the business I was inspired by the quote “Business without meaning is just pointless admin”. B Corp certification is partly validation that our meaning permeates all aspects of the company. It also has a positive impact on the pride and identity of the team & thus helps with retention. The B Corp community is also very open and welcoming – we’ve had the pleasure of connecting with some truly inspiring individuals and businesses. And finally, although this is not the main goal of B Corp certification, it can help provide extra weight and validation of our positioning to clients. 

 What advice would you give to other agencies who want to start the BCorp journey?

Don’t approach this as a tick box or marketing exercise. B Corp is far from perfect – but it is one of the best vehicles to help us create business that could be a “force for good” over and above profit.

How have you been able to help other AC members to do this?

It is encouraging to see so many AC agencies be inspired to go down the B Corp certification route & the community provides a great way to support and inspire each other. It has been and will continue to be a pleasure to contribute to that support in any way we can!

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

At the start of the year, we ran our first Diversity, Equity and Inclusion survey.  Over 100 agency owners took part and although we were encouraged by the response, it was clear there is still much work to do..  

  • 39% of agencies employ no people of underrepresented ethnic groups
  • 75% of agency leadership teams are 100% white
  • 43% of women are on the senior leadership team.

You can read more about our survey HERE

As a result of this survey we pledged to have more diverse speakers and encourage more events on diversity, equity and inclusion.

We pledged to have more diverse speakers and encourage more events on diversity, equity and inclusion.

In June, Agency Relationship Manager Jeni Bond visited GottaBe Marketing and delivered a talk to agencies and other business owners who were looking for ways to market more inclusively.  Jeni helped to raise awareness of the lack of diversity in agencies and made suggestions of what changes can be made. These included:

  • Using more inclusive language in job advertisements
  • Recognising unconscious bias and doing something about it
  • Broadening search criteria for candidates

In the WOW Benchpress report, we learnt that less than a third of agency founders are women.  Many barriers hold women back from taking leadership roles and here at the Agency Collective we are on a mission to change that with our #WomenInAgencies campaign.

Events are a big part of how we get our message across to our community.  In 2022, some of the events we are most proud of include:

  • Life Begins at Menopause – understanding menopause and how we can support the women in our lives
  • Baby loss awareness
  • Supporting employees who are pregnant or on maternity leave
  • How to avoid burnout
  • Planning and delivering diverse and inclusive events
Life Begins at menopause

Member Spotlight – Chris Unitt, One Further

What do you do in your agency to support parents? 

We do three things. We give as much flexibility as possible, not just for appointments but for those times when you just need a bit more rest than usual. We have enhanced maternity pay for anyone who’s been with us for more than 2 years. For less happy circumstances, we also offer parental bereavement and miscarriage leave beyond the statutory level. 

We don’t have everything sorted. I’d like to look at a more inclusive paternal and adoption leave policy, but it’s not been necessary yet.

The first time another member of the team announced they were pregnant is when I put together an enhanced maternity leave policy. I was told it was pretty generous for the size of agency that we were, but it felt doable.

What are the benefits to your agency of doing this?

The pragmatic view is that finding good people to work with is hard and keeping them is important to me. People are more likely to do better work when they’re not stressed and unhappy and maybe it’s a benefit that potential employees might find appealing.

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

I’m certainly not going to tell others they have to do the same. Maybe they’re in a sector where recruitment is easier and they’re comfortable with a higher level of staff churn. Maybe the finances don’t stack up for them right now.  But otherwise, I’d seriously consider it. 

How has being in the AC helped? 

We have some eligibility criteria for enhanced maternity pay, but I had some questions about how feasible it might be to relax that in some circumstances. I also wanted to check how a potential profit share scheme might be impacted by maternity leave.

It’s issues like this that can chew up valuable time and pull focus from the running of your agency. Being able to reach out to Sarah Hoyle via the AC was very helpful. We had a short conversation that gave me more clear answers and reassurance than I’d have ever have got from hours of Googling. 

The Environment

Agencies are in a position of influence. Not just within our agency industry, but to persuade and influence clients and their customers also.

If you aren’t thinking about it and the role your agency plays in it – You should be.

Climate change is preventable and one of the most impactful ways we can play our part is to plant more trees to help reduce our carbon footprint.

As a founding member of the Million Tree Pledge, we have been growing our Ecologi forest for a while now.

In August, we decided to celebrate each time we signed up a new member by planting 20 trees in their honour.  As an additional incentive, if any member starts their own forest and joins our community forest, we pledge to plant 50 trees in their own forest.

Thank you to all our members who joined our Community Forest.  So far, collectively, we have planted over 130,000 trees, which offsets over 21,500 tonnes of carbon.

Trees planted in our Ecologi Forest so far!

But it’s not just tree planting that we have been doing…

We can’t do everything, but everyone can do something, which is why we at Team AC have also pledged to do our bit.

As a team we held our own AC Community Clean Up during the month of September where we each went out with our families and cleaned up the area near our homes and encouraged others to do the same.

We have also made individual pledges of small changes we will make to save the planet.  These include:

  • Switching from cotton wool pads to reusable ones
  • Recycling soft plastics
  • Switching to Who Gives a Crap toilet roll
  • Making a conscious decision to stop leaving electricals on standby
  • Switching to bar soap and bar shampoo
  • Swapping cleaning supplies to eco-friendly brands
  • Reducing red meat consumption

And we haven’t stopped there.  We already think we have a pretty light carbon footprint as we have a fully remote team, however we used a wonderful website called GikiEarthZero to calculate our team’s carbon footprint, and then planted enough trees to offset the carbon footprint of everyone in TeamAC and their families.  That was over 30 tonnes of carbon offset!

Member Spotlight – Chris Thornhill & Jen Bayford, Growth Animals 


What you do in your agency to reduce your carbon footprint and support climate change?

We are a remote based business, which helps to cut down hugely on travel emissions and office energy usage. We also contribute to Ecologi, in order to be a climate positive workforce. This means that we make a small contribution each month, which is calculated based on our number of employees and that contribution goes towards tree planting and carbon offsetting initiatives. We’ve also joined the Agency Collective’s pledge to plant one million trees by 2030 and will be helping clients to make a positive difference in their digital carbon footprint, through our new service offering of designing carbon conscious websites. 

What are the benefits to your agency of doing this?

It sits perfectly within our agency’s purpose of championing ethical marketing and in doing so, helps us to engage on an equal level with current and prospective clients that also want to make a positive difference. It’s also something that our team is incredibly proud of and has helped us to attract talent to our business.

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

Do what you can and don’t shoot for the stars immediately. Look within your business at the low hanging fruit that might be there (eg. switching to renewable energy providers and web hosting). Furthermore, explore Ecologi as a simple, effective and traceable way to become a climate positive business. As we often say at Growth Animals, it’s far better that everyone does something rather than nothing.

How has being in the AC helped? 

We’ve been able to come together with other like minded agencies and join a collective ‘Million Tree Pledge’, which is an incredibly exciting and humbling ambition that would not have been feasible by ourselves as just one small agency. Both with regards to everyday challenges and the bigger climate emergency, collective action is incredibly powerful and that’s where being part of the Agency Collective can prove incredibly valuable.


We believe that inspiring the next generation into the world of work is everyone’s responsibility.

Donated to Little Box of Books to support a primary school with books and teaching resources.

Collectively at Team AC we have given over 24 hours worth of time to support schools in our local areas. The team have delivered careers talks and helped with interview skills workshops.

Education is so important, which is why we have also donated £997 to Little Box of Books to support a primary school with books and teaching resources.

Member spotlight – Andrea Sexton, Admire PR

What do you do in your agency to support young people and schools?

We provide mentoring and offer work experience placement. I mentor young people who are going into comms or who want to go into comms/ apprenticeships plus those who are new into the business world. 

What are the benefits to your agency of doing this? 

I honestly think it’s good for the future of the PR industry to support people at the start of their careers.  It has even given us the opportunity to find new staff in a time when many agencies say they are struggling to find new people. Plus it’s fun!

What advice would you give to other agencies who want to get involved?

Don’t expect to get anything back. Give unconditionally. Think carefully about what you can give personally – what type of support sits well with you on a human level. What are your values and what can you bring to someone’s life? That will help you find the right person / school / college to support.

How have you been able to help other AC members to do this?

I’ve enjoyed speaking to other agency owners about how they recruit and find young talent

Your Feedback Matters

Community of agency owners

In October of this year, we ran our first member survey.  We were delighted with the feedback from the agencies who took part.

We discovered that:

  • The majority of our members joined the AC to learn from other agencies
  • That their favourite events are the face-to-face events and the New Business Clinics
  • 70% of the respondents had been introduced to 1-5 other members in the preceding 3 months

As a result of the survey, we have pledged to put on more face-to-face events in 2023 so watch this space for our events calendar landing soon. 

Coming Up in 2023...

We are not stopping there.  We plan to build on our achievements in 2022 and do even more good in the world.

Our main goal is to become BCorp Certified – we promise to share the cake when we finally celebrate that milestone.

Other great things to look out for:

  • The results of our second DE&I survey
  • Supporting agencies in mentoring schools
  • Launching the Agency Change Maker awards, to set the standard with DE&I
  • Our first in person conference talking about the topics that matter to our community
  • Further training for our members to help them be more effective leaders and run happier teams

Thank you to all the agencies who have been part of our journey in 2022. Here’s to the next year!

Are you interested in learning more about our membership?

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