Blog

Category: Culture

Hi, I’m Dan and I’m the new hire here at Dynamo. I’m taking over the blog this week to tell you a little bit about how I made my journey to PR.

Like any good origin story, my journey to Dynamo starts way back when I was a kid. I’ve been crazy about all things techy since day one – in fact, one of my earliest memories involves bugging my dad to let me play on his IBM Thinkpad. It was actually his work computer, so there wasn’t much in terms of games, but I remember being thrilled to go on Netscape and mess around on Yahooligans – a big shout out to anyone who remembers or used this! This interest in technology never really faded as I grew up, in fact, it’s probably gotten worse the older I’ve gotten; now that I’ve actually got disposable income to spend on gadgets and gizmos.

When I turned 17, I started my very own website reviewing video games. Whilst I’d love to say it was because I wanted to develop my skills as a writer, the more honest reason is that I wanted free games and figured this would be a good way of getting them (it was)! I taught myself HTML, CSS and very basic PHP, then I used WordPress as a backend and I grew that site from just me and a couple mates blogging to a volunteer team of 20 with a readership of about 50,000 people every month.

After I got my offer to study English and American Studies at university, I decided to shut down the website. I realised I wanted to spend my free time doing something that didn’t involve being sat in my room constantly, and I ended up spending a lot of time helping run a theatre. After university ended, I found myself working for a digital marketing firm in Nottingham. I missed writing a lot, especially about technology, so I applied for a job here at Dynamo after seeing Nick Morey tweet about the opening (who I had met 5 years earlier thanks to my website!)

After a telephone interview, I was invited in to interview with Peter. I was amazed that we spent most the interview talking about my website and current tech trends. Unlike other interviews, Peter didn’t really seem to care about my degree all that much, he was much more interested in what I had done in my spare time. We then chatted about where we thought the VR industry was heading and he offered me an internship on the spot.

The internship was really useful for getting a handle on the basics of PR. I completed press lists, helped with admin and just generally provided support to a number of accounts. I was given enough responsibility so that I was challenged, but I never felt like I was being put out of my depth. A few weeks after the internship finished, Dynamo offered me a job as a Junior Account Exec! It’s been great because I’ve been able to use my previous experience in digital marketing in my approach to PR, meaning that I’m bringing something different to the team. I also still know a fair few people who are still in the video game journalism industry, thanks to my website, which is also incredibly useful for making sure I reach out to the right people!

Joining Dynamo has allowed me to combine a lot of my passions into one job, and it’s pretty easy to see how everything I’ve done has helped me make the jump into the world of PR. Although it wasn’t something I originally thought about going into, there are so many bits that tie into my previous experiences, it’s a natural fit. If you’re thinking about going into PR, I’d absolutely say go for it. I was a little worried before starting about not having much experience in the industry, but Dynamo are always on the lookout for someone who can bring something different to the table too.

Dynamo Team
Dynamo Team
Categories: Culture

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: 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

After over a year’s worth of planning, structuring, form-filling, preparation, site visits, meetings, and everything in between, Dynamo is ready to welcome its new little sister – and she has a sunny Californian accent.

With US native Heather and myself making the move from London, Dynamo will be opening its brand new offices at GSVlabs in the gorgeous Redwood City, California. This puts Dynamo in the heart of Silicon Valley; which seems fitting, given our clients, experience, and expertise with tech start-ups.

GSVlabs, our new home, is about 25 minutes south of San Francisco, and prides itself on being a campus of global innovation, hosting tech entrepreneurs, acceleration programs, and key industry events. We couldn’t really have asked for something more ideal!

The US expansion has been a long time coming for Dynamo. We’ve always adopted a Silicon Valley mentality here, with the company operating in a style more akin to Google than what you would see in a typical UK office, albeit with our own quirks. We pride ourselves on creativity, innovation, drive, charisma, and getting the best results, and we see the ‘Dynamo way’ of doing things as key to the success of this extension.

This move is of huge benefit to our clients too. We work with so many companies in the US, so to have a team on the ground here is a no-brainer. Also, we pride ourselves on the fact that Dynamo has become a centre of excellence for crowdfunding, which is an area dominated by innovative West-Coast start-ups. Now we get the added bonus of more face time!

Everyone in the office is excited about this. Heather is from the Bay Area, she’s been back and forth between Cali and London for months now getting this all set up. The fact that she gets to be settled, amongst journalists and companies she has befriended over the years must be a joyous feeling. I’m excited to be taking up a new challenge, and putting my PR skills to the test in a different environment – as well as getting to meet all the people I’ve been mostly on email and phone with for so long. The team is excited – they’ll have somewhere to visit, and it means extra support for clients in different time zones. It really is win-win all round.

The next few months promise to be exciting for Dynamo, so we’ll be sure to check in with y’all with a progress report.

(Although I did promise my mum I wouldn’t start saying “y’all”).

Nick Morey
Nick Morey
Categories: Culture, US

It’s been an incredible and fun year at Dynamo PR.

Here’s a snapshot of what we’ve been up to over the last 12 months…

We hosted the world’s first micro-pig picnic this summer for Yelp

On the theme of animals, Bathrooms.com launched a nationwide search for a duckling bath tester:

post-2015-duck-tester

We raised more than $20 million for 40 crowdfunding projects, including Neeo’s smart remote smashing $1.5m on Kickstarter earlier this year:

post-2015-neeo

AttractionTix.co.uk answered the question for you CanIBringMySelfiestick.com:

post-2015-selfie-stick

We took to the red carpet to launch the Electric Jukebox at BAFTA with Alesha:

post-2015-electric-jukebox

And to top it off, we climbed Everest with NVIDA showcasing their GeForce technology at an intimate virtual reality event:

post-2015-nvidia-geforce

Fancy being in our round up next year? Just drop us a line and who knows what could happen.

Ellen Powell-Chandler
Ellen Powell-Chandler
Categories: Culture

Today in PRWeek we’ve been quoted responding to questions about pay differentials in companies, following Government consultation about large companies publishing their gender pay gap in 2016.

It’s actually something that we’ve been looking at for a while here in Dynamo. When we launched the company in 2011, we wanted to create an amazing workplace where staff are valued, and paid, for their contribution to the company and its clients, according to their skills and expertise. Their sex, colour, gender, orientation or beliefs have no place in any salary negotiation, nor discussion and assessing promotion.

As owners of a rapidly growing business, we appreciate the strains and pressures that come with fast employee hires, but it’s good to check from time to time that despite this one continues to follow key principles – and in this place ensuring there’s no gender pay gap within a company.

So earlier this year, reading about the measures the Government wants to introduce, Dynamo decided to check our gender pay differentials, to make sure that we’re following best practice. Our leadership team (comprised 50% men / 50% women) were pleased with the two key results, that we publish here:

“Comparing like for like, in any particular job title role, on average men salaries are 0.5% higher than women’s salaries at Dynamo PR”

This doesn’t necessarily indicate bias as within any particular job title role as each role has a salary band, and within each band staff are at different levels. As long as male staff are slightly more experienced than female staff in each job title this is an acceptable figure.

“Overall, women’s salaries are 17% higher than male salaries”

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

Why do these figures matter? We believe it doesn’t matter what you say, it’s what you do that counts. And this is just one measure of our having a great workplace environment where staff are rewarded for the right things, and making sure that bias and discrimination has no place in our company. Sure, we’ve won awards for being the best small PR company, and the best PR company to work for, but as we grow we’ll always regularly check key measures to ensure we’re growing appropriately.

And as we grow, there’s always more to learn, and develop, and achieve. As a male owned company, we’ve also been following with interest the UN #HeForShe gender equality campaign. This of course has a much wider remit than pay within small companies like ours, but none-the-less Peter Bowles and I, as the male owners and co-founders of Dynamo, fully support, and will continue to take positive action against gender discrimination.

Let us know your thoughts below, alternatively you can chat to us on Twitter or Facebook.

Paul Cockerton
Paul Cockerton
Categories: Culture

We’ve done well over the years with award-winning campaigns and team recognition here at Dynamo. But winning PRWeek’s accolade of being the best PR company to work for is a very special award, as it recognises the efforts that we’ve made to shape the company as we’ve grown up.

Whilst Dynamo is nearly four years old, it still feels like yesterday that we set the consultancy up – working in a hot desking environment and discussing what sort of company we wanted to build.

One thing for us was clear from the start. Bringing in great people would turn into amazing campaigns for clients, take Dynamo in exciting new directions and, most importantly, make the many hours we spend at work really fun. However we’d seen at many agencies that keeping great people can be incredibly difficult, and often can work out very expensive for the resource and time you spend replacing them if they leave. So one of our goals from the start has been not only to attract the right staff, but to build an agency where people can grow, develop, and stay.

Back in the early days, it was just the two founders setting direction and culture, but now with more than 20 staff we involve everyone in shaping the business and culture at Dynamo.

We had a weekend away in Copenhagen late last year, during which some staff came up with an analysis which said we should launch a new team. So we did, and have attracted great new clients as a result.

One of our staff joined us as she said we were very ‘Silicon Valley’, negotiating chocolate into her contract, which has evolved to us providing personalised contracts, something even Forbes has written about.

Another of our staff jokingly suggested we should follow Netflix’s policy of unlimited holidays. We looked at it, it made sense, we implemented it a few weeks later, and its working to benefit both staff and Dynamo for over 2 years.

Put all these together with schemes that balance incentives for doing your work well, and bonuses for going above and beyond, and you’ll begin to get an idea of the culture within Dynamo. And we firmly believe that you can have both a great culture, and be a profitable business.

So where does this leave us now? We’re twenty-odd staff strong, and in the past year have won awards for being the best small agency, and the best small agency to work for. How can we make our culture even more exciting? That is the question we’ll be posing staff and new hires in the coming weeks.

P.S. You can read our awesome full profile over at PRWeek here (subscription)

Peter Bowles
Peter Bowles
Categories: Culture

The finalists of PRWeek UK’s Best Places to Work Awards have just been announced, with the second stage of judging taking place this week to find the industry’s top employers.

We know that we have a podium place within the small agency category, and will find out next month whether we’ve won bronze, silver or gold.

The finalists in each category are:

Large agency (100+ employees): Golin, Instinctif, Lansons.

Medium agency (30 to 99 employees): Citypress, Forster, W.

Small agency (two to 29 employees): Dynamo, Man Bites Dog, Manifest.

In-house (corporate teams): Nationwide, Swiftkey.

We’re really delighted by this news. Dynamo works hard to create an progressive, supportive, and innovative work place environment, with schemes like our ‘Don Draper Clause’ even being covered by Forbes. If you’re interested in working for Dynamo, we currently have some vacancies for JAE or AEs. Apply here.

The categories have been judged by PRWeek, the PRCA and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). As part of the scheme, Dynamo contributed to the total of £2,200 donations to the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) as part of the application process.

Paul Cockerton
Paul Cockerton
Categories: Culture