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A Milestone Celebration: Mr President Has Walked the Talk for 10 Years

Company Profiles 413 Add to collection

LBB ‘s Zhenya Tsenzharyk speaks to the creative agency’s senior leadership team about working with integrity, intangible value, and doing a job until the day you die (!)

A Milestone Celebration: Mr President Has Walked the Talk for 10 Years

2022 is shaping up to be a big year for Mr President – an independent London-based creative agency – as its founding partners Claire Hynes, CEO, Nick Emmel, CSO, and Jon Gledstone, CCO, prepare to celebrate 10 years in business. Though the number feels monumental, all three partners agree: the agency is just getting started.

Why the name, Mr President? The partners liked the gravitas-granting aura it instantly bestowed on the agency, “more or less guaranteeing that people took our calls and turned heads when our presence was announced at reception,” says Claire Hynes, CEO, with a laugh. Lovingly shortened to Mr P by all who encounter the team, the name also encapsulates the company’s ambition and determination to do more and make a positive impact - for their clients, employees, and, where possible, society too.


To date, Mr P has worked with some of the industry’s biggest names including Bumble, Stonewall, Royal Albert Hall, Metro Bank, Herbal Essences, and Nike. The agency is also particularly keen to work with smaller names and charitable organisations with organisations that fit their mission to do a bit of good in the world.

Mr P’s founding mission was built around helping Bacardi Global Brands “walk the talk” in their behaviour throughout the company, not simply the outward facing parts, including digital and beyond. The mission, which Mr P adopted internally too from the very start, feels as fresh today as it did a decade ago. Speaking to the partners today, it’s easy to see that the team is feeling the benefits of maturity that a decade brings while keeping all the excitement and energy they’ve had since the beginning.

Big Idea Thinking

Mr P is a champion of the big idea, which can guide all of a brand’s aspects, from communication to customer and employee experience. The ‘People-people banking’ campaign Mr P did for Metro Bank is “the purest example of the work we do'', according to Nick. The campaign came to them after putting Metro Bank through the ‘Brand Defining Idea’ process, which involved speaking to the C-suite, customers, and colleagues.

“‘People-people banking’ is a distillation of everything the company is about, which then informed all other parts of the business. This one central idea encompassed the qualities of all the people that make Metro Bank so great, and it then allowed us to go on and create huge campaigns, all stemming from that one point.”

“We’re always coming up with concepts, products, and ideas that can live on for the next five to ten years,” says Jon. In the moment, that kind of approach can appear intangible, but 12 months down the line, “when the brand is ready to launch their communications”, its value becomes undeniable. “We’re usually with our clients for the long haul.”

In essence, Mr P helps brands to find or define how they show up for consumers, partners, and employees in the long term, not just for one campaign. The ideas they bring to the table are really a way to cohesively unite all of the brand’s communications so that it’s present in its behaviour, culture, and customer experience. “You need to care about how a brand sounds, feels, walks, projects, because your customers will notice all those details too. We enable brands to do more than produce a great advertising campaign, we enable them to live an idea,” says Jon. In a landscape where consumers are finely attuned to how businesses behave, alongside the quality of the services and the products they offer, Mr P helps brands to align what they say with what they do.

 

Pivoting in a Pandemic

As Mr P’s roster of projects shows, they’re as comfortable working with iconic names like the Royal Albert Hall, as they are with smaller entities, like the subsequent work they did for Theatre Royal Stratford East - often, the two intertwine. The Royal Albert Hall turned to Mr P for help with their 150th birthday in 2021, looking to make some noise about the momentous date. There was a lot of pressure to get it right. Grand ideas to match the occasion began to swirl; then the pandemic made the Royal Albert Hall shut its doors for the first time in history. It faced an existential crisis, wondering if those doors would ever reopen again.

“We needed to pivot our thinking, which was going to be built around the concept “150 Years Old and Just Getting Started”, and fast,” says Claire. “We looked to the future instead with the ‘More History To Make’ celebratory top line that also contained a plea for donation. It gave them a mantra which kept them going throughout the year of lockdowns. We’re really proud to have helped them navigate the situation with the right tone.” The Royal Albert Hall then recommended Mr P to Theatre Royal Stratford East, a much smaller entity that’s doing great work within their local community. Mr P gladly took on the project, using the same big thinking framework on a much smaller scale to help the historical theatre “reorganise how they think about themselves, the community around them, and the work they do,” adds Jon.

 

The Work Starts at Home

Connecting all parts of a company, or “walking the talk” isn’t all about client work; the agency knows that it starts at home. That’s why in February 2020, they implemented fully flexible working - no questions asked, pre-empting the hybrid working approach the pandemic forced many other companies into. “We trust our team to know where they do their best work,” says Claire. Informed by decades of experience in the industry and at agencies of varying sizes, the team know that too often there’s a disconnect between values workplaces purport to live by and the reality of the culture. At Mr P, they’re one and the same, bolstered by regular training and a people-focused mindset that empowers employees to take charge of their development, with support of course.

When looking to the future, the Mr P team is excited to add increasingly innovative insight capabilities, experiment with partnership models, and grow their client base as the team is always looking to apply their skills to new challenges. They’re also enjoying their status as an independent agency and are laser-focused on further developing a company culture that serves all the employees equally and actively. “We had a realisation over the last 10 years that we just really love doing this,” says Nick, then adds with a laugh: “This is the job I could do until the day I die.”

Mr President, here’s to the next decade.

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Mr. President, Tue, 03 May 2022 13:47:49 GMT