This week, 8hwe has been awarded a place on the new Government Communications Service framework for Specialist Consultancy services. It is the third time in succession that we have been appointed to a roster like this. And, for an agency like us, it is particularly gratifying.
So what does this mean?
Will it lead to us winning more business?
Possibly, but nothing is guaranteed although we’ve had a great track record on previous rosters…
Was it worth the time it took to apply?
Yes, but then we would say that now…
Does it mean we are a particularly brilliant agency?
Maybe, but there will be many excellent agencies who didn’t get on…
So why is it important to us?
Well, firstly, because the new roster demonstrates that the thinking in Government is changing. The first roster we were on was based around Stakeholder Management. The second was on Behaviour Change. Now its new iteration covers every form of specialist communications consultancy including change management, service design, and all things in between.
Secondly, it is always an intellectual pleasure to take on a campaign for Government as the issues that government needs to communicate are intrinsically important. They are often the life and death issues. They are also funded by the taxpayer. So your responsibility as an agency to demonstrate value for money as well as creative brilliance is not just a tick in the box but something that impacts on society at large.
Thirdly, it’s because many of us grew up with childhood programmes interspersed with COI Public Information Office films. From ‘Charlie Says’… to ‘Clunk Click Every Trip’…. to ‘Don’t Die of Ignorance’, these campaigns were part of our education and our culture. And so to be part of the continuation of that societal change is a privilege.
And finally, it goes back to my time as an Indie Kid. Unlike most of my friends who only put on Radio 1 in the evenings, I always listened to daytime radio. And every time that one of ‘our’ bands – from Rough Trade, Factory, Stiff or Postcard – got a single in the Top 20 and A List/Playlist, I always felt a little bit of pride that ‘we’ were breaking through and challenging the mainstream. Every time Bruno Brookes or Simon Bates had to play The Smiths or The Jesus and Mary Chain, we chipped away a little bit at the Status Quo.
Because not everyone on the outside wants to be an outsider.
Thus, to be awarded a place on this roster shows that we do make a difference, we change opinions and, occasionally, we play our part in breaking through.