Blog

Category: Culture

 

 

Ruckus Retreat is an interdisciplinary creative event co-founded by myself (Krish Jeyakumar, Account Executive at Dynamo PR). Before the event, Dynamo sponsored one residential place at the event so my colleague Izzy Hathaway, Dynamo’s Senior Media Executive, could attend.

Co-founded by myself and Rowan Ellis, the idea for Ruckus was born from conversations with other young creatives wanting an event that was community-driven, interactive, and non-hierarchical.

Ruckus was not about sitting silently in front of panels taking notes in a row – it was about creating, sharing, learning from each other, and making noise. Set in a 4* Welsh Manor house, Ruckus found the perfect home in Buckland Hall, within the hills.

Ruckus had four key elements, being:

  • Creative Workshops (interactive sessions where you will be creating, discussing, and experimenting)
  • Professional Workshops (interactive sessions focused on the professional and business life of young creatives)
  • Feedback Groups (hand-picked small groups you’ll meet with each day to work through creative problems and share you work with)
  • The Open Mic & Gallery Show (a chance to show your work and see what everyone else has been doing)

What was surprising about Ruckus is the amount of people who discovered new talents and a new lease of confidence. People who didn’t feel comfortable speaking out on the first day ended up performing in the Open Mic on the last evening. People who were die-hard writers ended up spending time in the portraiture classes. Being in a non-hierarchical, supportive environment meant that people felt comfortable enough to explore.

When browsing #RuckusRetreat on Twitter and Instagram, it almost feels surreal that something dreamt up by a duo of 20-somethings actually did something to change lives.  Seeing folks saying that one of the turning points in their lives was ‘a wonderfully healing poetry workshop’ at Ruckus, and ‘[they’ve] come out of #RuckusRetreat with a plan for a play, confidence in pursuing projects and useful life info’ is unbelievable, and it really does push that whole ‘be the change you want to see in the world’ stuff.

The workshop leaders that presented at Ruckus covered a range of creative disciplines ;

Sanne Vliegenthart works in the world of books and publishing – from her popular YouTube channel to her work at Penguin Publishing. Sanne speaks both online and in person about productivity, literature, and creative careers.

Bridget Minamore is an award-winning poet and performer, who has shown her work internationally at festivals in Italy, Poland and Canada. She has been chosen as one of the 40 Stars of Black British Literature and was the first woman to be a lead tutor for the Roundhouse Poetry Collective.

Leena Norms is queen of the side hustle – with a popular YouTube channel, two brilliant podcasts, and a full time job in publishing. Leena ran workshops on topics such as imposter syndrome, self-employment and time management to help find the creative balance in your life.

Sammy Paul is a director and writer whose short films including ‘Blue Sushi’ and ‘Playground’ have been watched over a million times online. His films have been screened at international festivals in the UK, USA, and Canada.

Soof Andry is an Art Lecturer at Ravensbourne and Artist-in-Residence at Camden Arts Centre. Soof’s art, publications and work have been showcased at institutions globally including Tate Modern, Tate Britain, and the Parsons School of Design.

​Olivia Dolphin, a writer, poet, and event organiser, will be running our open mic on the final night of the retreat. Olivia is the Editor of the Wizards in Space literary magazine and will also be running a pre-open mic workshop in confidence coaching and overcoming stage anxiety.

Avatar
Krishanthi Jeyakumar
Categories: Culture

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!

Dynamo Team
Dynamo Team
Categories: Culture

At Dynamo we’ve always cared as much about how we work, as the work that we do.

Today we’re announcing a change in the way we recruit, which we believe takes a significant step in reducing unfair discrimination or bias in the application and assessment process.

This is not the first time we’ve sought to be different and do better.

Two years ago, in response to a survey showing there was a £10k pay gap between men and women, we took the step to publish our own #genderpaygap, and continue to do so every year.

By being open and honest about our data, ways in which to improve, and sharing our experiences publicly, we’ve tried to encourage companies of all sizes to take a hard look at their operations and end pay differentials due to people’s sex, which still exist in today’s workforce.

Our research, discussions and learnings from this are informing our new approach to recruitment.

Anyone who’s been involved in recruitment at volume will know there are many bulk filters companies use to make the process ‘manageable’, usually applied at the pressure point when it comes to splitting applications.

But many of these filters can actually reinforce unfair discrimination, and we want to reduce any bias that occurs at these points, whether intentional or otherwise.

That’s why, in recruiting for our latest member of staff, we’ve launched #blindrecruitment: a name-sex- and education blind application process.

Name- and sex-blind

Having a name- and sex-blind application is not new. The UK’s CBI has been recommending this for years, most recently with a report in 2016, but we believe that we’re one of the first PR companies to put this formally in place.

We’re doing this for the simple reason that whilst senior executives may be very clear that they do not discriminate, the evidence suggests otherwise, and that unconscious discrimination occurs frequently, and often.

Removing your name and sex simply means that no discrimination will be made based on what you’re called, or your gender, as these details can often imply sex, socioeconomic, or ethnic backgrounds.

Education-blind

But we believe just doing this doesn’t go far enough.

It’s still a common practice in companies to look at degree results, many using a 2:1 class degree as a minimum entry requirement – the degree being a proxy for ability, capability, and character.

But our direct experience has also shown this proxy doesn’t hold. We’ve hired amazing staff without degrees and without high school qualifications.

More worrying still, in our discussions with other agencies and trade bodies, it’s clear that there are many societal factors influencing whether you can actually get into university. This is backed up by recent news that shows that many of the UK’s top universities have an appalling record of accepting BAME candidates.

It’s clear that not everyone has the opportunity, and increasingly the money, available to go to University – and we’re also well aware that even if you do have a degree, this is no indication of whether you have drive, or excellent written and verbal communication skills, which is what we prize in Dynamo above all.

Taking out our own bias

So we’ve decided that, in looking for a new AE / SAE, we don’t want to know in your application whether you went to University, nor if you did attend, what degree you got. We also don’t want to know what school you went to, or any educational qualifications you’ve achieved. We don’t want to know your name, nor your sex. All we want to know is whether you have the skills, knowledge or aptitude for the job.

We of course can only go so far with this – though most of the application process is ‘blind’, the final stage before an offer is made will be an in-person interview. However even at this stage the interview panel will be as diverse as we’re able to provide, in both age, sex and background.

Sharing our work

We’re well aware that there’s always more to do, always more to learn, and always more ways to improve. So like all the things we do at Dynamo, we very much want this to be a conversation and debate starter.

In launching our latest recruitment drive we have consulted widely outside our own organisation, notably with the PRCA, our trade body who in the last year has taken  extremely positive steps in ensuring good governance in PR organisations, as well as the Taylor Bennett Foundation, who tirelessly work to address the need for greater diversity in the public relations industry.

We welcome all feedback, so feel free to comment, tweet or post using #blindrecruitment or do contact us if you’d like to know more. If you’re interested in applying for a job, or know someone who is, then you can apply here.

Paul Cockerton
Paul Cockerton
Categories: Culture

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

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.

Dynamo Team
Dynamo Team
Categories: Culture

Hello everyone, I’m Aimee and the newest Junior Account Executive for the Dynamo US office. I wanted to take the time to share my journey to PR and Dynamo!

During my senior year of high school, I spent my time applying as a Pre-Law major. I chose to attend Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana; however, I changed my major from Pre-Law to Elementary Education as I had externship during my last semester of senior year teaching at an elementary school.

After two years of attending Purdue, I spent nine months in South Korea teaching English and SAT Writing. I decided teaching was not for me and wanted to pursue a career in law again. I knew that law school was very expensive and decided to join the U.S. Army, so they can pay for law school once my contract was complete. I joined as a Paralegal Specialist so that I would be able to work in the field of law.

After four years of active duty and speaking with my mentors, I realized that my values and personality did not necessarily fit being a lawyer. Family time is extremely important to me and working in an 80+ hours job was not something that seemed fulfilling nor appealing to me. My mentor asked me if I had thought about another job other than being a lawyer. As I replied with working in PR, she got excited and responded with, “That would be a perfect job for you”.

In June of 2014, my contract finished and I moved to San Francisco where I attended City College of San Francisco before I could transfer to a four-year university to major in Public Relations or Communications. After one year of attending CCSF, I applied to The Art Institute of California-San Francisco, since they had an Advertising major. I really liked their academic program as they were more hands-on and could give me more of a real-world experience.

In 2016, I started looking for PR internships to start my career track and development. In February of 2016, I was hired as a PR intern by Big Picture PR, a consumer and fashion boutique agency. I was promoted to their Social Media Specialist and Business Development Associate in May of 2016. I was also hired as a PR Coordinator by Smitten Communications, a consumer tech agency in May of 2016.

In December of 2016, I applied to Dynamo PR after hearing about the agency from Big Picture PR. I was super eager and anxious about getting the job as everything I heard during the interview intrigued me.

Since working at Dynamo, I feel that I am in the right path towards my PR career and development. I am absolutely enjoying the experiences I am having and learning along the way. I wrote my first press release here and got Hermione Granger’s wand because of it!! I am eager to see what the future and Dynamo has in store for me!

Dynamo Team
Dynamo Team
Categories: Culture, US

 

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.

Dynamo Team
Dynamo Team
Categories: Culture

2016 was another busy year for us here at Dynamo PR. Not only did we celebrate our fifth birthday, but we also launched our US office, located in Redwood City, California.

It was also an eventful year for our clients. There’s no way we could fit all of the launches, campaigns and events into one blog post, but here is a snapshot of the past 12 months at Dynamo HQ.

We have been racking up those air miles. Not only did we attend CES, MWC and IFA, but we also hopped on the plane to Austin to support Makeblock at SXSW.

We helped Adam & Eve with a winning campaign based on the timely research into athlete abstinence, which was released during the Olympics.

Detailed view of a sprinter in the starting blocks

Our very own Lewis Durkin had the most unusual afternoon of 2016 when he and Duncan James of the Blue fame took Duncan’s adorable pooch for a walk and a photo shoot – all for Gala Bingo’s “UK’s favourite dog walk” campaign.

13912617_10154266064517534_8191601068894746373_n

Let’s not forget about crowdfunding. We helped launch a myriad of exciting campaigns, including ZapBox, a $30 mixed reality headset from Zappar.

boy-with-mars-probe

We introduced #DynamoDoes. What does Dynamo do, you might be wondering? Well, every third Friday of the month we get together to tuck into a feast of tapas, Chinese food, curries – you name it. It’s not all just food though, because #DynamoDoes get quite adventurous as well. For example, we spent an evening learning free-running with the one and only Sebastien Foucan.

13466102_10157301903660227_4658804204236238899_n

And last but certainly not least is the launch of Dynamo Silicon Valley.

usa

Don’t hesitate to drop us a line if you’d like to discuss how we could work together next year!

Happy holidays from the Dynamo team!

Dynamo Team
Dynamo Team
Categories: Culture