With Article 50 recently triggered, a snap General Election under our belts and the on-going economic and political instability many business leaders could be forgiven for opting to batten down the hatches so they can slip quietly into survival mode for the remainder of the year.
Fortunately, The Drum operates in an industry where risk seldom seems to exert too much dominance on the decision-making processes of business leaders. By their very nature leaders in the marketing sector embrace change, enjoy elements of risk and never back down from a challenge.
Pearlfinders and Rainmaker are two such businesses currently scoffing in the face of the uncertainty and as a preferred partner of The Drum Network we caught up with Pearlfinders and Rainmaker managing director Anthony Cooper to talk about their year so far, which last week saw them leave Clerkenwell to relocate to larger premises on Borough High Street, ably applauded by Team BRIT, who turned out in full force to welcome them.
“During any period of uncertainty, the need for accurate insight – especially information that offers clues as to where the world’s largest brands are heading - is essential,” says Cooper. “One thing the General Election and the EU Referendum had in common is that they highlighted how varied UK public opinion is on certain issues. I think both were a wakeup call for brands and we’ve seen many adjusting strategy and agency support requirements in response. Our unique ability to uncover these challenges has enabled both companies to continue growth trajectories despite uncertainty.”
And that growth has meant that Pearlfinders and Rainmaker have been forced (in a good way) to find a larger home to house their swelling ranks, which now number 70.
“Rainmaker opened the Clerkenwell office back in 2002. Since then we’ve grown to over six times the size, launched Pearlfinders in 2004, developed new products and are now servicing clients across the US, Asia and Europe. A few years back we expanded to take over another floor, but, ultimately, we’d outgrown the space and wanted somewhere that would give us room to take things to the next level. In our move to Borough we’ve created the largest new business hub in the UK under one roof.
“We’ve been in the new office for four days and there have been people from agencies in the local area quite literally knocking on the door to find out more about what we do. We’ve always done things completely differently from any others in the business development space and this office reflects our mission to speak to the world’s largest brands about their plans, empowering our clients which include some of the world’s biggest and most celebrated companies to grow.”
Borough may have hit the headlines recently for tragic reasons, but in spite of that that the community living, working and socialising in Borough presses on as one of the capital’s most energetic, lively and dynamic communities – the very reasons that Cooper chose it as their new home.
Cooper says: “Borough is the perfect intersection of commerce, creativity and raw entrepreneurial energy. The search for a new office took me into every nook and cranny of London and there were other spaces that were seriously considered. But they say “you know when you know” and when I first walked into the space I was confident I’d found the perfect location for us to call home for at least the next five years.
“The building was an empty shell, so we’ve had to completely fit it out, decorate and create original artworks and installations. We’ve included features such as the library of our staff’s favourite books, the three metre-long neon Rainmaker sign made by Kemp London who’ve been going since 1868, and the Pearlfinders logo that’s been made up of hundreds of media and data sources. We wanted to showcase our creativity, but in an environment that’s industrious with an entrepreneurial flare.”
They say never judge a book by its cover and often that is also the case with businesses - believe me, this journalist has visited many companies based in ramshackle back street studios only to be stunned by the quality of creative that is being churned out from inauspicious surroundings. But when you are supporting blue chip organisations that include Virgin Media, TalkTalk, Oracle, the Chicago Bulls and agencies such as JWT, Dentsu and Leo Burnett appearances matter. So, what does Cooper hope their new home says about Pearlfinders and Rainmaker?
“When you hear about companies appointing new partners or signing off major projects, Pearlfinders and Rainmaker are very often in the background. It’s time for us to shout from the rooftops about the work we do, the fantastic companies we help to grow and the many millions of pounds worth of work we help them to secure. We’re proud of what we do.”
Shouting from the rooftops has also seen Pearlfinders sponsoring Team BRIT, the competitive motor racing team made up of seriously injured and disabled former military people, since 2015 – not only a profile-raising exercise, but also a source of on-going inspiration, energy and belief for the team at Pearlfinders and Rainmaker.
Cooper says: “I was first contacted by Dave Player, the Founder and CEO of Team BRIT, back in 2015 and have been extremely proud to play a part in their success ever since. They’ve been successfully using Pearlfinders insight to help them to find new sponsors - demonstrating our ability to help.
“It’s been fantastic to welcome Team BRIT to our office this week to celebrate the move and their latest achievements on the track. Hearing the drivers’ incredible stories is inspiring not just because of the physical obstacles they’ve overcome, but also the mental strength and determination they have to work together as a team to make history on the race track. Their goal is to be the first all disabled team to compete in the 2020 Le Mans race, which would be such a huge milestone in their mission to normalise disability and inspire anyone facing any kind of physical or mental challenge that anything is possible.”
So, the next six months seems set up for success, but what does Cooper expect?
“We’re just about to publish the H1 update to The Pearlfinders Index based on interviews with over 2,500 marketing and sport decision makers in the first six months of 2017, so people will have to wait a couple more weeks to hear what we predict will be happening in the marketing services space! In terms of Pearlfinders and Rainmaker we will be looking to do what we’ve always done – use our unique understanding of senior budget-holders to uncover insight for clients and create opportunities no other company can.”