“I would like to continue to expand F&J, to build the client base, focusing more on a particular passion of mine to work with more ethical and purpose-led businesses,” Susie Mitchell. She is the Director at Florence & James Marketing Consultancy and has over 20 years of brand and marketing experience coming from London creative agencies and in-house blue-chip corporates.
From her experiences in big corporates and working with empathetic managers, Susie knew she wanted to create something different and something better. She wanted to create a business where people come first, whether they are clients or the team. She says, “We have a constant stream of recommendations and referrals coming into Florence & James, and I believe this is because we are very talented and good at what we do. Plus we are simply nice people”
Florence and James Marketing was born out of a desire to create a marketing business that was different. Since starting F & J, many clients have used us as their outsourced marketing department and have been with us for several years. We have their confidence and act as a sounding board for much more than just their marketing. We are instrumental to their business success and growth and I wouldn’t want it any other way. We are as passionate about their business as they are.
Below are the highlights of the interview conducted between the World’s Leaders and Susie Mitchell.
Describe Florence & James’ offerings that address the needs of your customers.
Florence and James is a full-service strategic brand and marketing agency. We work closely with clients to understand their business objectives and goals, and then, where required, develop and create their brand positioning and identity, their marketing strategy and plans, and support them in implementing marketing across their communication channels, from advertising through to social media, websites and SEO.
We provide consultancy sessions, training, workshops, ad hoc and long-term projects and fully outsourced and retained marketing department support. Whatever our clients’ needs and requirements, we have a solution to suit them and can take the pressure off and let them get on with their day jobs while we look after their marketing.
Enlighten us on how you have made an impact in this industry through your expertise in the industry?
I have made an impact on the industry by being an active and supportive member of it championing clients and women in business and marketing.
Alongside my business, I also lecture one day a week at De Montfort University, and by doing so, I am giving back and helping the next generation of marketers fulfil their potential. There has been nothing more rewarding (apart from client success) than seeing my students go off and land their dream roles and jobs. Their success is my success, and knowing I am helping them on their journey is extremely motivating.
I also run a series of free webinars for SME businesses to help them pivot to digital marketing due to Covid and these have empowered and supported these businesses during an incredibly difficult time.
What are the challenges you and your team at Florence & James come across in your day-to-day operations?
Lack of time is often the biggest challenge, not having enough hours in the day to get everything done. Marketing has big peaks and troughs, so managing the peaks can be difficult and ensuring everyone gets their work completed and campaigns produced on time can be challenging. For example, at present we are in the run up to Christmas and it is an extremely busy period. The other challenge is hiring extremely strong talent and ensuring all skills sets are covered.
What people, what books, what life factors have influenced and impacted you?
I have had some incredible bosses in my time. My first ever boss, Andy Tyne (over 20 years ago), is still a good friend and mentor to me now. There are many others too. My work colleagues, associates and strategic partners are all hugely important to me and help support and influence my business decisions. It is important to have people to bounce ideas off and to spend time working on your own business rather than always focusing on clients.
I have enjoyed reading Seth Godin’s book ‘This is Marketing’, and I am currently about to start reading ‘I’m surrounded by idiots’ by Thomas Erikson as this has been recommended to me. I’m an enormous fan of Simon Sinek and all the work he has done.
Taking into consideration, the current pandemic, and its impact on global economies, how are you driving your organisation to sustain operations and ensure the safety of your employees at the same time?
We are very lucky with our line of work that we can all work remotely and do not need to be in an office space. So, operations are no different from usual. Everyone is set up to work from home and we use Zoom or Teams to have online meetings. The UK has opened up more now and I am starting to meet with clients and team members face-to-face, but everyone is careful to follow the government guidelines that are in place. I am very aware of wellbeing and mental health and encourage everyone to take regular breaks and keep to a routine.
Describe in detail the values and the work culture that drive Florence & James.
Florence and James’ values are:
We love what we do and are extremely passionate about it. This oozes through in everything, and the culture is a positive, energetic, and collaborative one. All ideas and thoughts are welcomed.
What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs?
Don’t wait for everything to be perfect. There is no such thing. Get started and evolve and develop as you go. Believe in yourself and then believe in yourself even more. There is nothing holding you back except your own imagination and vision. Dream big.
Surround yourself with intelligent and supportive people. Network, meet other businesses and talk to them. Having a sounding board is extremely important, especially with people in the same boat. Ditch anyone who tries to rain on your parade. It won’t help you get to where you want to be.