As Abode PR, the public relations agency that I founded in 2016 grows, I’ve put a great deal of thought into developing the culture and values that underpin our foundations. As B2B PR specialists working with technology solutions for the short-term rental and hotel industries, we work closely with our clients and so building good relationships is vital for both our growth as an agency and to our clients’ success.
I wanted us to cement our company culture in the right way from the very beginning: for us as a team and to the benefit of our clients. Our values are our ‘mission statement’. Through these principles, we publicly declare who we are, what we stand for, how we like to work and this implicitly informs the types of businesses that we would like to partner with.
In regards to our culture, we are actively building Abode PR on the four core ‘pillars’ of Integrity, Partnership, Flexibility and Vision. These principles may sound lofty but are in fact fundamental – not only in the way we operate internally – but also in living our value proposition for our clients, strategic partners, our team and the media partners we work with. It’s also important to spell out how these principles work in practice, in our day-to-day dealings and how we see these values guiding our work.
Integrity is the most fundamental of all our values. Without integrity, none of the other three principles would stick. There would be no true partnership, flexibility or ability to work with vision. Integrity means that what we say and what we do match. We are transparent in all our dealings and we consistently strive to do the best for our clients, whilst at the same time remembering that we also have an obligation to the media we work with to provide well researched and relevant stories that will resonate with their audiences.
How this translates in practice: Transparency in our business translates as only taking on clients and projects that we truly believe in and that we want to work with because we are confident that we can add value to their business. It means that we sometimes say no to prospective clients. The result is that we are always able to put our best thinking forward to get the results for our clients.
Partnerships are core to the success of any business, but even more so for a public relations firm. After all, we are in the business of building relationships based on trust and reputation. Having ‘partnership’ as a core value begins internally. We work very much as a team. We also view our client relationships as true partnerships, resisting the client/supplier dynamic that can often plague professional services firms. We know that collaboration is the root of all success.
How this translates in practice: We begin all relationships with new clients by telling them that we will get off to a great start if they think of us as an extension of their internal team and as with all the best pairings – each entity brings something unique and special to the table. We bring our ‘bigger picture’ thinking that comes from being ‘outside your organisation’ and we bring our industry expertise. You bring your unique solution for the industry. Together our sum is greater than our individual parts.
We all have lives and interests outside of work that require our attention and when properly attended to, make us better workers. I am a strong advocate of flexible working. By making flexibility a core value of our agency we attract the best talent and create a team that feels supported and valued for who they are, not just what they do. This really does translate into better work. I feel strongly that flexible working is the future of work (even before covid-19).
How this translates in practice: Often my best ideas come when I’m out running or at the gym. If I duck out of the office at 3 pm for a session on the cross-trainer, then that’s OK. If a member of my team needs to adjust their hours to work around a child-care commitment – then that’s OK too. We also operate a 4-day working week. Again – this balance (I believe) is the future of true creativity and productivity (as recently proven by Microsoft).
For our clients, our pillar of flexibility means that we are not rigid in our approach. We change track quickly to maximise an opportunity, and we think outside of the box. We are nimble and agile when we need to be, and always when it serves the greater purpose of achieving defining results.
Vision is all about the ability to see the bigger picture. Being able to connect the dots, make connections, build stories and see beyond a limiting problem and short-term solution. Being visionary is also about taking risks and doing things differently. Being dynamic.
How this translates in practice: For the businesses that we partner with, we use vision in our strategic thinking in order to position them as leaders in the short-term rental and hotel industries. Vision helps us see beyond the limited scope of day-to-day activity and news stories to predict what’s coming round the corner and assess where the true opportunities lie.
Vision translates into how we serve the industry and how we take risks in order to play our small part in moving the industry forward. It means launching a publication ourselves because we believe it serves the greater industry by providing insight and interest. You can visit PillowTalk Media here.
If you are a technology provider or enterprise-level property manager operating in the short-term rental, hotel or other lodging verticals and are interested in working with us to elevate your brand through public relations, thought leadership development and content – do contact me on email@example.com for a discussion.
About Jessica Gillingham
Jessica is the director and owner of Abode PR, a specialist PR and content marketing agency partnering with hospitality technology, PropTech and enterprise property management brands operating in the international vacation and short-term rental space.