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Punch Agency

Step into my office: staying one step ahead of user behaviour

March 31, 2016 | 6 min read

'Step into my office', a new series of interviews powered by The Future Factory and The Drum Network, focuses on the challenges and the opportunities facing agencies this year. We will be taking a sneak peek into the lives of agencies, how they work, what their motivations are and what their thoughts are on the current state of the industry. The series kicks off with Punch Communications’ managing director, Pete Goold, who believes that being one step ahead of user behaviour is be all and end all for agencies…

So, what do Punch Communications do?

Punch works with brands to help them influence their customers through a combination of social media, search and PR activities. We’re passionate about marrying together creative output with detailed reporting to form solid information that facilitates continual improvement. In recent years we have achieved some amazing results by bringing together creative content with paid support, which is definitely a model for success moving forwards.

How long have you been around and why did you start the agency?

We started life in Brighton in 2003 as a digitally-focused PR agency, and in 2005, made the move from Brighton to a village in the Midlands. The agency was started with the simple aim of producing excellent work, keeping food on the table and, hopefully, enjoying ourselves in the process. These aims are still true today and, consequently, we’ve never had to meet particularly aggressive aspirations, which ironically, has allowed us to flourish.

What makes you different from your peers?

I don’t know about different necessarily, but I would describe Punch as (sometimes maniacally) driven, single-minded and happiest when we get the chance to roll our sleeves up and get right into the heart of a project. We're constantly learning and the reality is that a hardworking approach does underpin who we are as a team. I hope that we're pretty down to earth and always make an effort to play nicely with others.

What have been the biggest challenges over the last year?

As social media matures, the challenge for brands is to stay at least one step ahead of user behaviour. Really, that’s a terrific opportunity for agencies and social media managers to be brave, exploring creative initiatives and, when successful, to really win engagement, reach and awareness.

What do you see as the biggest opportunities over the next year?

More and more brands will turn to video and I think we’ll see more creative use of GIFs, cinema graphs and the like, to bring campaigns to life and create engagements.

App Store Optimisation is becoming an important branch to SEO, allowing clients to gain visibility and awareness within App Store environments.

User journeys will continue to evolve, with different individuals having distinct view on what perfect looks like – so being adaptable will be a great advantage. Campaigns will succeed based on smart creative thinking married up with relevant, credible methods of outreach, whether paid or earned – which really brings us full circle, back to PR.

Where are you based and why this location?

Punch HQ is in a small village called Lubenham, in Leicestershire – about an hour north of St Pancras on the train and a few miles east of the M1. Quite simply, it’s a nice place to live – and indeed to bring up a family, which I and many of my colleagues are doing.

How important is location in this day and age?

In a personal sense, it’s very important, for the above reason about family. In a professional sense, not so much because our clients are based all over the world and the travel time to get to a meeting in London is not that much different to when I used to live in Wimbledon. However, I’ve worked in enough awful, dimly-lit offices to be able to appreciate the beneficial impact that the open green spaces has on people while at work. We certainly appreciate what we’ve got and by having a smart agency mentality in this environment, I believe it’s the best of both worlds.

Do you feel an agency office needs to be quirky and irreverent or simply functional?

We haven’t gone overboard but I do think that the office should reflect both the team’s spirit and the business’ identity. We’re actually going through a process right now to encourage people to be forthcoming with ways that they can stamp their mark on the space. I’m a big believer in plants, space and light – but that aside, our studio is looking at some bespoke art. Ideally, we’d like to avoid the usual cliched agency environment – but in reality, many of the hallmarks of that environment are just fun things to be around to make the working day more pleasant.

Who are Punch’s current clients?

We work with Sony Mobile, Barclaycard, Thomson/TUI, Electrolux, Victoria Plum and various others.

What are the three projects you were most proud of in the last year?

Client-wise, we’re fairly tight lipped about specific projects. We still get very excited about the brands that we work with and still can’t quite believe that we get to do what we do – and for whom.

As we continue to grow up as a business, I’m proud that we’re able to stay true to our roots but doing ever better, more exciting, more creative work, which is driving the business forward and underpinning our growth. For example, our creative studio now covers hand-drawn illustration, photography and video creation in addition to the usual digital output.

Outside of project work, we came together as a team before Christmas to donate a day of our collective time for a terrific local charity called Rainbows Hospice, to help them sort through mountains of donations that they then sell on to raise funds. It was a nice moment, stood waist high in kids clothes and toys, working shoulder to shoulder with a bunch of mates and knowing that we were doing something genuinely altruistic.

Recent achievements/wins? Lots of new projects for the clients above. We’ve been working with TUI for a relatively short space of time but the activities are really taking shape at present, so that’s pretty exciting. Similarly, we’re doing ever more B2B projects within social media, which I believe is an emerging field.

Punch Agency

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