As we grow Abode PR, the public relations agency that I founded in 2016, I’ve put a great deal of thought into developing the culture and values that underpin our foundations. As specialists in the B2B short-term rental industry, we work closely with our clients and building good relationships is vital for both our growth as an agency and to their success.
We want 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. So it feels like this is our ‘mission statement’, us publicly declaring who we are, what we stand for and how we would like to work in the future. Hopefully, by reading this, you will also get to know us better!
Back to culture. We are actively building Abode PR on the four core ‘pillars’ of Integrity, Partnership, Flexibility and Vision. These principles 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. I think it’s also important to spell out how these principles work in practice, in our day-to-day dealings.
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 possibility to work with vision. Integrity in our business means that what we say and what we do match, that we are transparent in all our dealings and that 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.
How this translates in practice: What transparency looks like in our business is that we only take on clients and projects that we truly believe in and who we want to work, with because we are confident that we can add value to their business. This means that we sometimes say no to prospective clients. It also means that we are always able to put our best (thinking) foot forward to perform for our clients. Transparency also means we operate as an open book. We do what we say we are going to do, are trustworthy and always, always open.
Partnerships are core to the success of any business, but perhaps even more so for a public relations firm. After all, we are in the business of relationships based on building trust and respect. Having ‘partnership’ as a core value begins internally so 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. But as with all of 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 also 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. I am a very strong advocate of flexible working. By making flexibility a core value of our agency we will 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 also feel strongly that flexible working is the future of work, and its resultant increase in productivity, and will soon be the norm (I hope).
How this translates in practice: Often my best ideas come when I’m at the gym. So, if I duck out of the office at 3pm 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 child-care commitments – then that’s OK too. We also operate a 4-day workweek. Again – this (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 can 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. Having ‘vision’ 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 industry. Vision also 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 service the industry and how we take risks in order to play our small part in moving the industry forward.
To that effect, at the end of this year, we are excited to launch PillowTalk Media, a new industry platform for carefully curated insight, opinion, analysis (and intimate conversations) on all aspects of hospitality technology, property technology and enterprise property management for the short-term rental industry. Our aim is for PillowTalk Media to be a ‘home’ for useful and interesting commentary for and about the global industry.
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.