Unwritten has a passion for delivering meaningful and measurable results. Made up of a team of strategists, project managers, designers, developers, writers, creatives, thinkers and doers. We caught up with Managing Director, Lisa Eaton to hear her Scaleup journey.
Please give a brief overview of your organisation and what you do:
Unwritten is a fully integrated, strategic communications agency offering research, insight, strategy, PR, crisis communications, creative and digital, digital marketing, and measurement.
Tell us about the background of the company and your journey up to today:
After two decades working in marketing, founder and managing director, Lisa Eaton, established Unwritten in response to a gap in the market for an insightful and customer-focused approach to creative services.
From the founders and one designer working from a small Hoults Yard office to the current team of 13 occupying the top floor of Citygate House today, a collaborative approach kept the business agile and able to respond to market trends.
Who are your customers and what/how do you sell?
Unwritten works closely with C-Level Executives and Marketing Directors to help their business find its purpose, define its value proposition, consider the competitive landscape and understand their customers. This comprehensive insight is used to inform a tactical operations plan which is then implemented and managed by Unwritten. This allows the agency to become fully embedded in the client’s businesses, serving as an extension of in-house teams, getting to know each client’s customers and offering to the same level as internal employees.
How has the company changed over the years?
Unwritten has not only expanded its service offering through the launch of a new communications service but has also restructured its business model away from the typical agency approach, setting itself apart from competitors
Five years of experience and insight working with marketing and senior management teams demonstrated a gap in the market for the provision of a fully outsourced marketing function.
Unwritten’s ethos is centred on delivering demonstrable results, therefore, reinforcing the value of joined-up, consistent marketing through the provision of a communications service was a vital next step. Unwritten is also innovating, using the latest technology and digital tools to ensure the campaigns worked on to resonate with the target audience to make a difference to the client’s businesses.
What are your strengths, what do you do well?
Strategy has always been a key strength for Unwritten. Each campaign/piece of work produced is underpinned by strategic insight. Not only this, Unwritten has embraced impact-focused measurement and moved away from outdated models and metrics. A measurement strategy is developed in the initial stages of each project, and the agency follows best practice in communication planning, research and evaluation by using AMEC’s integrated evaluation framework.
Nurturing staff morale and culture is also a strength. The agency is in a cycle of continuous improvement and learning to ensure a positive working environment, most recently facilitating several wellbeing workshops for staff to deliver practical advice on how to manage the working day. The organisation is also developing a wellbeing strategy to continue to develop a strong culture.
As well as this, the agency is focused on developing its staff, with several strategic partners such as Entrepreneurs Forum, Digital Union and Generator, who offer upskilling opportunities, conferences and training programmes. The agency encourages and facilitates continued professional development with the many staff joining the company at a junior level and progressing upwards. Unwritten takes a unique approach to nurture staff, in some cases, putting team members through driving lessons and continued education.
What challenges have you faced along the way?
Ensuring we have the appropriate infrastructure and processes in place to support growth and building a team who share our values.
We strive to be at the forefront of current trends and ensure we’re using the most effective and efficient technology in-house – it’s often a challenge to keep up as we evolve our offer.
What are the biggest hurdles you’ve had to overcome on your way to establishing a successful business in the North East?
Again, we live by our values and have built a positive working culture that we’re proud of. It’s so important we have the right people in the right roles. To achieve this, we work hard to retain our team and attract talented people. This has been challenging to manage at times, but we have learned so much along the way.
Getting the balance right between operating and growing Unwritten daily and staying focused on the bigger picture to ensure we achieve our goals.
What made you apply to Scaleup North East? Was there a eureka moment, were you aware you had goals you wanted to achieve but didn’t know how, did you actively seek out assistance or did you discover Scaleup NE by accident?
The program was recommended to me through my network when considering capital investment.
Is there a particular piece of advice/contact/ process your Scaleup Partner has recommended that has had an impact on your business?
We received excellent advice and guidance when appointing our first Non Exec Director and when we were considering inward investment. RTC also helped us revisit and refine our value proposition ensuring it was aligned with our customer-focused ethos.
What advice would you give to others in the North East looking to scale their own businesses?
Surround yourself with amazing and inspirational people, build a strong leadership team who share your vision, and never give up.
What’s been the best bit of advice your Scaleup Partner has given you?
Build your team around your values - and don’t compromise of this. If they don’t meet your values, they’re not right for the business.
What are your plans for the future?
Sustainable growth as we continue to be the best at what we do, offering exceptional service and tangible results for our clients and partners.
Scaleup North East is delivered by RTC North in partnership with the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Scaleup North East forms an integral part of the North East Growth Hub and is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Local Growth Fund (LGF). The programme is aimed at supporting businesses that can demonstrate both the hunger and the potential to achieve high levels of growth.
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