Five great achievements in five years of City Road Comms
A fifth birthday party typically conjures thoughts of hyperactive children, jelly and clowns.
City Road Comms’ recent fifth birthday celebrations, thankfully, had none of those things… well, some may say there were a few clowns in the room, but not in the truest sense of the word.
It was a lovely evening: a chance to spend time with clients – some of whom we’ve worked with for a couple of years without ever meeting in person (thanks, Covid) – in a more relaxed setting. And a chance to bring together all our team, including a few former employees who played important roles in our journey to date.
The event was also a rare opportunity to reflect on everything CRC has achieved since November 2017. After all, how often in businesses do we take a step back and celebrate our own successes?
The nature of being a smaller agency dictates that day-to-day life tends to be busy. Planning, pitching, writing, monitoring, reporting, liaising with clients; you are driven by a to-do list of what needs to be achieved for each client, and ensuring the results consistently meet, if not exceed, expectations.
But from time-to-time, it’s important to put aside busyness and bashfulness. So, having been a director of the agency since day one, I thought I’d share the five things that I am most proud of from CRC’s first five years…
1. Long-term client relationships
During the early months of City Road Comms, as the agency was finding its feet, we had just two retained clients on the books. Fast forward five years, those two clients are still with us.
But it’s not just those two clients that have stuck with us. We enjoy very little churn; the vast majority of businesses we work with remain with CRC for the long haul.
In fact, we’ve worked with 80% of our current clients for longer than 12 months – a little over half have been with us since 2020 or earlier. It’s a clear indication that we deliver value for clients, not to mention the quality of the relationships we have built with those businesses and the people within them.
2. The bigger picture
Over the years, as the agency grew in numbers and our client-base became more stable, we have managed to gain perspective on the bigger picture.
There is an ever-greater focus on purpose within business, often through the lens of ESG and CSR policies. And at CRC, we have taken action in the past three years to ensure we’re influencing positive change.
For one, we have done away with the traditional PR agency model of sending gifts to clients at Christmas – we swapped luxury hampers for charitable donations. Namely, each year since 2020 we have back the Crisis at Christmas campaign, offering homeless people food and shelter over the festive period. We will do the same again this year.
More recently still, we created The Forest of City Road Communications – a carbon offsetting tree-planting initiative that you can read more about here.
In 2023, we have plans to do much more when it comes to supporting charitable and ESG initiatives.
One of the most common grievances I hear from founders and CEOs about their past experiences of working with PR agencies is the sheer inconsistency of the work, not to mention the results. Often this manifests itself in short bursts of media coverage, which the agency then dines off for weeks or months.
At CRC, we take pride in delivering great results week after week after week. For me, this is the true sign of quality; not being great once or twice, but doing it with unerring regularity.
How? Well, our campaigns are meticulously planned and mapped out in quarterly calendars, providing clients with a clear overview of all our deliverables in advance of each month – it is transparent and ensures complete accountability.
With the plans in place, there’s nowhere to hide from our expecting clients. They know what we are meant to deliver. So, we push ourselves to deliver great content and excellent media coverage every week. In my opinion, this consistency – compared to the complacency of some competitors – is one of our great strengths. Again, it underlines why clients stay with CRC for years.
4. People and culture
My favourite part of working with CRC is the people. Over the years we have assembled a wonderful team of people. Many join the agency as one of their first jobs in the world of PR and comms, and seeing their development is very rewarding.
Irrevocably linked to our people is our culture. It is something staff regularly highlight as the most appealing element of life at CRC.
The culture has evolved organically – we do not have slogans on the wall, we don’t do a lot in terms of team-building initiatives. Instead, we embrace open, honest communication between the team, combined with an ethos where everyone mucks in on the work that needs to be done. Doing away with strict, lineated hierarchies accelerates people’s development, giving them exposure to a greater range of tasks and responsibilities. Plus, I believe, it creates an environment where people have greater flexibility and can express themselves more freely.
5. Mentorship and founder support
Back in 2019, when the agency was just a couple of years old, we began working with London & Partners as a strategic partner on their Business Growth Programme (BGP). What that basically means is that for every cohort of start-ups that join the BGP, we provide a two-hour workshop to explain the value of PR for early-stage businesses, along with advice of how to do it well.
Three years on, we are still performing this role. A rough calculation would say that in this time we have run workshops with some 300 start-up founders and leaders. Often, after the session, CRC will provide further assistance to them, gratis, to help them during the formative stages of their business journey.
It’s really satisfying to meet with founders during those early months and years of their start-up stories. It has heightened our understanding of the challenges smaller businesses face when executing successful PR strategies and, in turn, how we can cater our offering to the start-up community.
It has been an interesting, challenging and extremely rewarding journey to date. I’m excited to see how City Road Comms grows and develops over the next five years.
Want to know more about how CRC could help your organisation? Get in touch!
About the author
With a history degree, journalism Master’s, and several years’ experience writing about business and technology for both the national and trade press, Dominic moved into the world of content marketing and comms in 2014. He joined City Road Comms in 2016, becoming the agency’s director of comms two years later. Dominic now oversees clients’ strategies and the overall operations of the agency.Email