When I went freelance in September 2014, I immediately started work with a local marketing agency in the Midlands, UK. It became clear quickly that I was providing a service that was in high demand, and I took the following months to scope and define a business name for the future – Realise.
Defining the problem
For many businesses or marketing agencies, committing to employing someone on a permanent basis is something they can’t easily do, but outsourcing to a tried and tested professional allows huge benefits with flexibility. It’s also a great short-term solution to resolving a range of immediate requirements.
For some clients, a marketing or creative agency might be more than is needed, but freelancers on the whole tend to be specialists, who need you to invest time in managing and overseeing their work. I wanted to create a base in the middle of both camps, giving specialist knowledge but also managing and personally delivering the work, saving clients time and money.
Creating the proposition
When I created Realise, I knew that I wanted to bring my expertise from marketing for businesses and agencies into creating something special and different to anything else out there. Not that there is anything wrong with agencies or the freelance model as such, but I wanted to bring my own stamp and broad marketing knowledge to a unique client experience.
Creating a new breed of agency – a micro-agency – was a term I coined to the hybrid model I wanted to work under. From my eight years experience in account management, I’d been told I was a safe pair of hands to handle projects. With my history in marketing management and more recent focus on digital marketing strategy, I was able to plan and implement successful campaigns and raise the bar for standards in areas such as social media.
It almost felt like a natural progression that this would all come together in a unique service offering. Realise is a place where clever ideas meet effective delivery. Due to my marketing background, I want to ensure that every penny works hard for clients, with commercial objectives being pivotal to success. And all at excellent value too. I often hear from clients who’ve had a bad experience elsewhere, for various reasons, and need someone to pick things up and often resolve mistakes. It’s often at this stage people wish they’d invested that little bit more initially to save all the money and heartache, but being real problem solvers, we can help!
By bringing in the right people only as and when needed, working remotely and leanly it is possible to pass the savings on to the client and offer an excellent value, but high quality service. This is exactly why many clients are already working with Realise.
Selecting our partners
What’s really exciting about Realise for me though is the opportunity to pick the best team and skills for the job in hand and work with them as a team. As someone who oversees every project through the door, I can start adding value the minute a brief lands, something I’d been working on in previous strategy roles. Selecting the right talent for each job means having an excellent network of trusted contacts, something I’ve enjoyed building up over the years, and will continue to do so.
Developing the brand
Realise literally means ‘to make real’. To me, it’s all about making something happen and bringing the work to fruition, something which I really value myself. ‘Realise’ as a name embodies the full service approach of a managed service – everything under one (small) roof. Whether it’s your digital audit, marketing plan, business change, a new campaign or all-important web project, it’s managed from start to finish. Sometimes there’s nothing worse than having a great idea and not being able to implement it for fear of failure. As the saying goes “better to try, fail and adapt than to not try at all.”
Defining our values
I felt it was really important to define the values of the business – to show how Realise is unique and give customers some reassurance if they haven’t worked with us before. I wrote our values to outline this and aim to deliver these as service standards in everything we do.
It’s all still work in progress, but as I’m told, the best things often are!