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At work with Tin Man, the marketing agency of the year which listens to its heart

The Tin Man team.

Tin Man collected the ‘Marketing agency of the year’ crown at The Drum Marketing Awards 2021. Here, Tin Man team share the secrets of their success…

The challenge

Tin Man is a straight-talking comms agency that thinks strategically, acts creatively and crafts ‘Communications with Heart’. It’s founded on the belief that emotional connections change mindsets and behaviour, and have a huge commercial impact on brands.

But never in the 8 years since our inception has our heart been more crucial than it was in 2020. We began the year on a high but, like everyone, the rug was pulled from under us. Suddenly, we were running a virtual agency with projects evaporating to leave covid-shaped craters in our P&L.

We had to act fast to protect our staff and business; our four-point plan started from the inside out. First, a laser focus on the Tin Man ethos and mission. With that right, the rest would follow.

The strategy

Our 2020 13% growth was driven by our inside-out 4-point plan:

Relaunched our agency purpose: ensuring our team knew we’d support them and our clients through the turbulence;

Expansion of our Hearts & Minds mental health programme: increasing our investment from £2,400 to £6,000 per person. This provided 24/7 access to trained psychotherapists, a wellness allowance of £120/person, a formalised MH sick day policy and wellness action plans;

Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging: our D&I champions delivered 12 commitments E.g.: PRosper outreach programme - careers talks (6-8/year & 4 virtually during lockdown) at colleges with a high proportion of BAME students; blind recruitment (reducing unconscious bias); equal white and BAME candidate shortlists; a commitment to increase our BAME staff to 20% in 12 months;

New services to navigate Covid-19: e.g. partnering with insights agency, Delineate, to develop a client covid data tracker so marketing decisions could be made using live audience data. In tandem, an aggressive new business drive led to eight new business wins.

The activity

We launched video content agency, Oh My! Offering a strategic storytelling and creative film-making, the team produces multi-channel content that evokes reactions and generates Oh My! moments. Since March, it’s seen 30% growth month on month.

We hired in digital and paid media expertise and put an emphasis on a data-driven approach. This resulted in a significant increase in client spend towards paid.

We launched ‘Tinfluence’ – a bespoke tool enabling clients to see the social media value of influencers to their business. We’ve since beaten 7 large agencies to win a multi-brand influencer campaign for Unilever, with a six-figure campaign agreed for 2021.

The results

Client retention was 100%, fee income increased and profit margin rose.

  • 64 award shortlists and wins in 2020 including:

  • Creative PR Consultancy of the Year, PRovoke Sabre EMEA Awards 2020;

  • Earned Media Agency of the Year, Creative Moment Awards 2020;

  • Top 5 Best Consultancies to Work For, PRovoke 2020;

  • Best Use of Creativity, The Drum PR Awards 2020;

  • Bronze PR Agency of the Year in Campaign Agency of the Year 2020.

In 2020, we added eight new clients. And in the first six weeks of 2021, we won five campaigns, including projects for NOWTV and Indeed.

This project was a winner at The Drum Awards for Marketing 2021. Find out which competitions in The Drum Awards are currently open and don’t forget to visit our new interactive calendar.

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