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Category: Culture

If you haven’t heard yet, there’s a brand new reality tv show called The Circle that aired on UK’s Channel 4 last week and lo and behold, people are already outraged by it. Welcome to television programming in 2018.

The Circle’s premise is a game show where being liked is everything, with a bunch of players holed up in a housing complex making friendships, flirting and bitching it out to be the winner of a £50,000 prize. It’s essentially the Big Brother format, but there’s a modern-day societal twist because the contestants are all housed in separate apartments and will never meet face-to-face during the show.

Instead, their interactions will only exist on a specially designed social media platform where they’re encouraged to shape, bluff or completely distort their persona in a desperate bid to be ‘liked’ by their fellow contestants, the player who is ‘liked’ most wins this nightmarish popularity contest. Sound familiar?

It should do. Not only is it a jazzed up and plugged-in version of Big Brother for the Snapchat generation, but the concept is also conspicuously indebted to Charlie Brooker’s Emmy award-winning Black Mirror series. Particularly the fantastic episode Nosedive, in which people live in a world where social interactions are constantly being rated (that dreaded down-rating tone!) and every individual has an overall rating which has a real-life influence on their socioeconomic standing.

The common ground these shows share is an exploration of the very real consequences of social media and how us Humans are so easily beguiled by its capacity to curate an idealised version of ourselves, or you know, create a completely different persona altogether.

The Circle immediately ignited controversy by featuring a player who’s gambit is fabricating an online identity in which she presents herself as an oncologist that treats cancer. This is, for obvious reasons, a despicable and manipulative tactic to win internet brownie points on the show and, let’s be honest, probably the very reason why Channel 4 picked such person in auditions. Controversy is their currency, after all.

The thing is, in reality, there’s little to nothing preventing someone from doing the same sort of thing on LinkedIn or Facebook either, which may also be the poignant comment C4 producers wanted to make on our digital society. Maybe.

The question is, where does the responsibility in keeping check on this online activity lie for our real social networks? Do the tech companies need to police it better? Do we need to take a closer look at home to why people create fake online personas? Or perhaps we just rely on the discerning Nev & Max from MTV’s Catfish to oust these online charlatans for the delight of the viewers at home. It’s certainly a tricky topic and judging the people behind fake or augmented online profiles is a moral minefield.

However, one intriguing development we’ve seen in recent months is that the tech giants behind our real-life social media platforms, which over 3 billion of us use, have started to implement features specifically designed to curb usage of the very applications they created.

Which is sort of bizarre when they look to gain so much advertising money from our mindless scrolling, albeit it comes across as a solid PR move. Facebook-owned Instagram launched a ‘Time Well Spent’ tool which allows users to see just how long they’ve spent scrolling through doggy snaps and memes, but also self-manage daily limits on how long they can spend in the app.

The two leading mobile operating systems, iOS and Android, have also baked similar tools into their latest updates, giving users to ability to self-police their time on their devices. It’s encouraging to see the tech companies feeling an obligation to help us better understand our relationship with social media – it’s a start at least.

So yes, The Circle is a sensational take on the issue of social media and sure, it offers a cheap hit of reality entertainment in the gap that Big Brother left. But the producers came up with the idea for reason, and that’s because it’s something almost all of us find relatable. The jury’s still out on how the balance of our digital lives will affect our IRL lives, but the needle seems to be tilting ever further towards our virtual selves.

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Simon Franklin
Simon Franklin

 

The beginning of August marked my third month at Dynamo. Whilst sitting in a quirky pub with oil paintings of dogs dressed up as Victorian gentlemen for my three-month review, I realised I can honestly say this has been the most enjoyable three months I have ever had in a job.

My application process was unlike any other, as Dynamo’s blind recruitment eliminates everything that can cause bias such as name and gender, taking into account only experience. This process demonstrates so much of what the agency is about, eliminating discrimination whether that be your age or education levels. On just that process alone, I was eager to learn more about Dynamo, their work ethic, what the team was like and if I would enjoy working there. I was not disappointed.

The team are like a family, everyone supporting one another, celebrating success and helping each other work towards goals. Being a Bambi in the PR world, this was amazing! Dynamo is giving me the support and guidance that I need to progress and learn, from creative jam sessions and mentors to in-house and external training. This is a great work environment despite your level, whether you’re a Junior Account Executive or an Account Director, you can always adapt, learn and are given the ability to be the best work you!

One thing I couldn’t get my head around though, were the benefits. How many people do you know that have unlimited holidays in their contract? Or their company taking them away on a secret holiday? But despite the Friday office treats and karaoke nights, what I appreciate the most is being able to enjoy what I am doing, as well as enjoy the people I work with.

Thara Packiahrajah
Categories: Culture, New Hires, tags: , ,

Last week, Dynamo was in attendance at the PR Week Best Places To Work Awards. We were honoured to be presented with a Silver in our category. It’s a huge achievement for us and a wonderful reward for all the hard work done by the management to ensure that Dynamo continues to be recognised by our industry in such a way.

I joined Dynamo 5 months ago and this award comes as no surprise. I know it’s not an original opinion to think that you work at a great company, as a great man once said “Everyone thinks they have the prettiest wife at home.” In my case, I think it’s true.

From my first day I was welcomed and made feel part of the team. We’re a small group but we get on fabulously. You can see that the principles of the company are reflected in the people that work in its offices. The reason we come in every day is to deliver great work to great clients. It makes our jobs a lot easier knowing that we’ll be surrounded by like-minded people who share our goals and passions.

We’re in the middle of a recruitment drive right now and we’ve been meeting so many really great candidates but the thing that we always come back to is “…are they a good fit for Dynamo?” It’s a difficult question to answer but they’ve been pretty good at answering it so far.

Even the way we do recruitment (check out our post on Blind Recruitment) here looks to change the way the industry hires people. To look beyond the qualification (or lack of, it doesn’t matter) and find the person that has what it takes to add something to our team.

So if you’re reading this, maybe your researching our company before an interview or just interested in working at one of London’s Best Places To Work then know that working here is a real treat. Joining this company was one of the best decisions I’ve made and we can’t wait to hear about what you can bring to Dynamo.

*I went the whole way through and didn’t even mention the Friday Treat, Dynamo Does, unlimited holidays, Don Draper Clause, Karaoke and Bowling nights, yearly bonus, share-options, Disrupt Dynamo away days, pension scheme and Evil Santa!

Starting from 5 April earlier this year, companies with more than 250 employees have 12 months in which to publish their pay gap data. Expect a flurry of news around 5 April 2018, when no doubt most companies will wait to reveal their results. At Dynamo, we have voluntarily revealed our statistics since 2015.

We continue to be very supportive of the PRCA, our PR trade body, as they continue to promote gender equality, making it a requirement of its CMS standard for agencies to report their pay gap. You can read their full report here or blog post.

At Dynamo, we firmly believe that equal work deserves equal pay. We continue to make great efforts to maintain our high standards, but also have worked, and will continue to work, with other companies to help them not only measure their gender pay gap, but also understand the obvious and non-obvious reasons as to why it exists, and what can be done to reduce it.

So in our third year of measuring, where is our pay gap?

“Comparing like for like, in any particular job title role, on average men’s hourly pay is exactly the same as women’s hourly pay at Dynamo PR”

This means that at Dynamo on average men earn the same as women within roles. This is unlike the PR industry, where men overall earn £10,000 more than women in the same roles.

This is a great result for Dynamo where the pay gap last year was 0.35% (and 0.50% the previous year). But we’re mindful that this can change – not because we think that we have any conscious or unconscious bias – but because within any salary band for a role staff may progress at different rates and develop different levels of skills and experience which will be reflected in pay.

Secondly, we found:

“Overall, women’s salaries are 3.7% higher than men’s salaries”

This would normally indicate a bias towards pay for women, however we do currently have more women in senior roles than men, and given the parity of salaries within job titles this is acceptable.

We’re very pleased with this result, and will continue to report annually. As per the previous years, we don’t think we should be just one of a few agencies to report on pay gaps, so we want to say how proud we are to be members of the PRCA who is also leading the charge to improve equality and fairness in the workspace.

Paul Cockerton
Paul Cockerton
Categories: Culture, General

Oh, hello! I’m Stef, one of the Account Executives at Dynamo and I’m here to tell you a bit about how I ended up in PR.

Growing up in Romania, most of my school years were spent focusing on maths and science. However, as much as I enjoyed the structure and logic behind those subjects, I never really felt like they would turn into career options for me. From an early age, my biggest side passions were reading and learning English, so I tried to find ways to incorporate that into my future job. Step one was deciding as early as year nine that I would go to university in the UK and then spending the next couple of years slowly wearing my parents down with arguments and other people’s success stories until they allowed – even encouraged – me to do so.

Step two was deciding on what course I would pursue, a decision I wish I could say was a result of thoughtful research and introspection. It was not. I spent year nine as part of a team organising a local theatre festival, in their media and communication division, which was tasked with promoting the event in the local press. I loved every minute of the experience, but the deciding moment that made me see this as a career option was an enthusiastically organised press conference, where no journalists showed up. Amidst the obvious disappointment, I found myself wanting to understand where we went wrong in our communication with the press and curious about the inner workings of the media. And the rest is history!

Step three was starting my Communications and Media degree at the University of Leeds, where I got my first contact with the immensely varied field of communications. I spent the following three years trying to sample as much of it as possible, both academically and professionally, through various part-time jobs in the University Press Office or market research agencies (yes, for a while, I was one of those people calling you for feedback on your most recent purchase). With a degree and some experience under my belt, I found a job in corporate communications and public affairs, where I was lucky enough to feel like I was receiving a second education in communications due to the sheer volume and variety of skills and responsibilities involved.

Remember when I mentioned my big passions as a kid were reading and learning English? This may come as a shock, but I loved learning and school in general, which has continued into adulthood. After a year and a half in my corporate communications job, I decided I wanted to understand more about the three main areas of communications that interested me the most, which lead on to step four: a Master’s Degree in Public Relations, Advertising and Marketing at Goldsmiths, University of London. It was an intense but brilliantly challenging year, followed by an equally brilliant internship where I got to work on one of the best tech conferences around, TechCrunch Disrupt.

After that, joining Dynamo and coming into tech PR felt like a natural (fifth) step for me. Six months later, I am amazed by the amount I’ve learned already and how much there is still left to do in the future. In fact, these are the key reasons why I enjoy working in PR – the variety and fast pace of the job which guarantees that no two days will look the same, whilst safe in the knowledge that there will always be something new to learn.

stefanie.ailioaie
stefanie.ailioaie
Categories: Culture, General, New Hires

 

In what is a great start to 2017, we’re thrilled to have been picked as the best agency to work for in the UK, in PRWeek’s Best Places to Work (under 30 employee’s category). The judges praised our approach to diversity, training and flexible working – all things we strive to be leaders in. We were the first agency in the UK to publish our gender pay gap, as well as the first to offer our employees unlimited holidays.

We have huge respect for the work of Third City and Manifest, the two other agencies shortlisted, and we’re proud to be recognised amongst them.

For the full story, visit PRWeek here.

Arun Lloyd
Arun Lloyd
Categories: Awards, Culture, tags: ,

This week the PRCA has struck a massive win for Gender equality in the PR industry by making it a requirement of its CMS standard for agencies to report their pay gap. You can read their full report here or blog post.

In 2016 we find it genuinely shocking that there exists such a large pay gap between male and female members of staff, even when they are in the exact same roles. The Fawcett Society says the overall gap for full-time workers in any industry is currently 13.9%. PRWeek has found in the PR industry that men overall earn £10,000 more than women in the same roles.

Dynamo has always been mindful of ensuring equal pay for equal work. In September 2015 we became one of the first (if not, the first) consultancy to report our pay gap. It was a statement of intent for our internal company culture, but we’ve always made great efforts to maintain high standards, implement best practice, and tried to be a trendsetter for the PR industry.

So one year on, where is our pay gap?

“Comparing like for like, in any particular job title role, on average men’s salaries are only 0.35% higher than women’s salaries at Dynamo PR”

This means that unlike the PR industry, where men overall earn £10,000 more than women in the same roles, at Dynamo men on average earn just £100 per year more than women.

This doesn’t necessarily indicate bias as we have salary bands for every role, and staff are at different levels of skills and experience within this band. As long as male staff are slightly more experienced than female staff in each job title this is an acceptable figure. This is a reduction in the pay gap from last year when it was 0.50%.

Secondly, we found:

“Overall, women’s salaries are 9.1% higher than men’s salaries”

This would normally indicate a significant bias towards pay for women, however we do currently have more women in senior roles than men, and given the near parity of salaries within job titles this is acceptable.

So there we are, one year on and we’re still keeping track. We don’t think we should be just one of a few agencies to report on pay gaps, so we want to say how proud we are to be members of the PRCA and part of an industry that is changing for the better.

Peter Bowles
Peter Bowles
Categories: Comment, Culture

Well, we all survived. Which may seem like an odd way to begin a blog post about our recent #DynamoEscape, but the introduction to the trip begged the question whether all of us would return back to work the following Monday. How comforting.

This year it was a DIY survival adventure, but the majority of the weekend’s details were thin on the ground. All we were told was to pack our bags for camping, much to the incredulity of some staff (not all of us are happy campers, as it turns out), and that we would be split into four teams. Each team was asked to “bring something for the weekend”, where the pressure was on to deliver a physical skill activity, a mental agility task, cook Saturday’s lunch and throw a club night. Of course, there were some added surprise activities from the CEOs thrown into the mix.

Friday morning, we set off early to catch a train to Etchingham, Sussex. Arriving at the tiny station, we bundled into taxis onto our surprise activity, the treetop adventure assault course, Go Ape. Climbing, swinging and zipping from platform-to-platform definitely worked up a sweat. With some friendly cajoling, most of us (no names mentioned) faced our fears and completed the course. Special shout out to the stirrups section, which seriously caused me to have an existential crisis, with the genuine consideration of plunging to the forest floor as a markedly better option than the nightmare I was enduring in the canopy.

After monkeying around, it was time to discover our accommodation for the next two nights. We were lodging at Soul Camp in Burwash, in a couple of teepees in the grounds of a delightfully dilapidated country manor called Glebe House. It was quite the scenic location; surrounded by acres of fields, resident horses, a cat for company and an entertaining dog called Vinnie. Home sweet home!

Saturday was the day of the team’s challenges. The lunch was superb. Each staff got a personalized foodie starter and a special commendation for the true British spirit of firing up a BBQ in the pouring rain to create a build-your-own-burger station that went down a treat. Good job too, as getting physical was next on the agenda.

We all love a good tech trend here at Dynamo, and the physical activity embraced the latest mania perfectly. In the wake of PokemonGo, we played our very own version – DynaGo! Armed with a compass and map of the area, we grabbed our imaginary Pokéballs and set off through the fields on the hunt of Dynamons.

Here’s a few of creatures we found hidden in the hedgerows:

IMG_1993 IMG_1995 IMG_1994

The mental agility task was a real standout of the weekend. The team set up various stages with challenges to test our cognitive prowess, all legitimately scientific of course. We had Rachael Riley grilling us on our arithmetic, focus and determination were tested on the buzz-wire game, classic problem solving through assembling IKEA furniture and how astute our senses are through blind folded taste-tests – vomit flavored jelly beans anyone? All topped off with a quiz that just may have got a little intense and rowdy, just like all good quizzes should.

Closing out the weekend was Club Dynamo. To celebrate the recent launch of our US office, it seemed apt to throw an American party. Complete with those classy party classics beer pong and flip cup. The latter of which went down so well, we’re thinking of making it the official company sport. There may or may not of been a beer funnel involved at some point in the night, but I cannot confirm.

All in all, a very successful DIY #DynamoEscape. The creativity, ingenuity and fun that went into every team’s challenges were only matched by the participants’ willingness to get stuck in and enjoy. Now just to wait and see what next year will entail.

Simon Franklin
Simon Franklin
Categories: Culture, General