Blog interview with Jen Applin, Operations Manager at Arke Agency.
Arke is a strategic marketing agency. Creative and digital marketing experts, we
integrate the off and online world to produce impactful campaigns and customer experiences. We specialise in marketing intelligence, advertising, creative and analytics.
At Arke, we run a passion project committee that gives back to our local community. We actively seek to work with organisations and individuals that positively impact our community and environment and will benefit from our services and expertise. We recently started a project with Allsorts Youth Project, a local charity that offers resources and services to LGBTQ+ individuals, their parents and the schools in the community.
As a local charity, Allsorts relies on regular donations and funding to continue delivering essential support to LGBTQ+ youth. Collaboratively, we produced a new creative concept for their “Friends of Allsorts” campaign. This campaign has developed tremendously and been one of Allsorts’ biggest sources of funding, it encourages people to become monthly donors. The campaign is ongoing and consists of a series of episodic videos that introduce the charity, promote the campaign and share first-hand the individual stories of those that Allsorts supports.
Our video series brought a thought-provoking yet playful and authentic style to Allsorts’ creative approach, helping to increase awareness and engagement organically across social channels, supplement direct mail campaigns and generate donations. With the campaign launching in March, this project has given us an opportunity to build a strong relationship with a pillar of our community. This relationship has also given Arke the opportunity to reflect on how we can generate positivity and impact people’s lives. We are excited by the next passion project on the cards and watch this space for the launch of Allsorts’ campaign!
Arke is a Living Wage employer because it is so important our people earn a wage that is fair and enables them and their families to have a healthy living standard, whilst allowing for some discretionary income for those unexpected bumps in the road.
Making sure that our people feel valued and have a good standard of living reduces their stress and worry, supports good mental health, and ensures happiness at work. We are also cognizant of the fact that paying a Living Wage promotes the overall prosperity, happiness and wellbeing of our local community beyond Arke. We are committed to running Arke on sound moral principles, from providing the Living Wage, to supporting our community, to having a positive environmental impact.
We value our people and actions really do speak louder than words, therefore we fully embrace the Living Wage scheme.
To provide additional support to our clients during times of uncertainty we have chosen to create a range of free resources. For our education clients, we have put a focus on research and forecasting the impact of market changes such as COVID-19 on student recruitment, and we have released two white papers “Clearing 2020: Undergraduate digital trends in a COVID-19 world” and “COVID-19: Gen Z trends and insights for the Higher Education Sector” (available to request via our website) to help the sector navigate the effects of the pandemic. We have also launched free regular masterclasses to provide virtual assistance to the industries we work with. This has seen many Brighton businesses confidently and successfully undertake new creative branding and launch their first campaigns on TikTok!
From a process aspect, getting up and running remotely wasn’t too much of a challenge for Arke, as we are mostly cloud-based. The biggest challenge for the team has been missing each other’s company. We are a very close-knit company who share many of the same values, we are extremely proud of our work and we really do love to laugh, so going from a supportive and vibrant office culture to working in a solo-fashion from home was quite a shock to the system initially.
During the transition to remote working, we have found that the most important considerations have been communication within teams and the company as a whole, together with the wellbeing and mental health of our people.
All of our communications have been moved online. We introduced an additional company-wide call on Wednesdays after lunch called “Peak of the Week” that is used to check in on everyone and hear how they are doing. We also take it in turns to present a fun challenge to the team e.g., solve a riddle or do some yoga – anything we can do from our homes to get us to use our brains a little differently and get some endorphins flowing. This brings our number of company-wide calls during the week to three – one on Monday Morning, Peak of the Week and then the affectionately dubbed “Beer’O Clock” on Friday afternoon where we grab a beverage of choice and play some virtual games to wind down the week. This gives everybody that all-important face-time with colleagues and gives us an opportunity to check in with the whole team at different points throughout the working week.
Additionally, every team member has a 1-2-1 with their direct line manager on a weekly basis, and teams are encouraged to use Zoom to “hang-out” whilst working. This tends to mean just having a Zoom call open in the background to create an “in the office” feel and the opportunity to bounce around ideas or ask questions off the cuff.
During the second lockdown, as the days began to get darker, we introduced an optional extra ½ an hour at lunchtime (increasing lunch to 1 ½ hours), to enable everyone to have enough time at lunch to get outside and exercise whilst it’s still light and still have time to eat a nutritious meal. In November we launched our HR fortnightly round-up email that draws attention to the achievements of the team on a regular basis and helps to boost morale.
Since introducing these initiatives, our employee feedback software, Officevibe, has reported a huge increase in morale across all teams and the feedback logged has been phenomenal. We are super grateful to the team for all their dedication and hard work over the years and especially throughout 2020 and we will continue to review our processes and adapt to the new challenges 2021 throws our way.
To find out more about Arke, please visit arkeagency.com and keep an eye on our socials for announcements about upcoming virtual masterclasses!
If your business hasn’t yet signed up to the Living Wage campaign, we’d love to have you on board.
And if you want to contribute to the Brighton & Hove Living Wage campaign blog, contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.