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AMA: John Quinton-Barber, founder of Social

AMA: John Quinton-Barber, founder of Social

What is integrated marketing? To put it simply, it's about creating a cohesive and consistent brand experience. Consistency is key!

We caught up with John Quinton-Barber, founder of Social, an award-winning integrated communications agency with its finger firmly on the pulse.

Hi John! Tell us about your company.

Social is a seven-year-old communications agency headquartered in Manchester, with offices in Leeds, London and Bristol. 

It’s an integrated agency offering a unique blend of strategic insight and imaginative delivery to help our clients strategise and share the stories that win hearts and minds.

Our communications make an emotional connection with our clients’ audiences, encouraging the shareability of content across all channels.

How did the idea for Social come about?

I have worked in communications for more than 25 years but in 2012 I literally had a dream that I should set up my own agency - a communications agency that had people at the heart of it. From that inspiration, Social was born!

How do you keep your team aligned?

We use Microsoft Teams and Facebook for Workplace to make sure we are in very close and regular contact with our colleagues. 

As well as structured daily and weekly calls with individual teams, we also have a monthly town hall meeting on MS Teams. This is an opportunity for all 40 colleagues to get together and have an open discussion about the business.


Can you share any practical tips or processes to help people work remotely?

Take a break! 

Working from home can be tough. Not just the isolation but the fact that we no longer have the commute to help us to decompress between home and work and work and home. 

We constantly remind our colleagues that they should go outside every day during work time – for a walk or for other exercise. I call this time ‘double PE’, and colleagues can take that extended break without having to get it agreed by their line manager.

This is really important during the winter and dark months.


Definitely. Do you have a share or option scheme in place for your team? 

Not at the moment. 

What is the biggest mistake you've made as an entrepreneur?

I’ve made many mistakes in my eight years. The biggest ones are often associated with not trusting my gut, resulting in some poor decision making on my part.

Did you ever experience a business disappointment that led to something better?

Yes. In the early years, we spent four weeks working on a pitch presentation for a piece of new business that ‘had our name written all over it.’

We lost the pitch but then later went on to secure work from one of the directors who had moved on to a new company.

Give us an interesting fact about yourself that the business community doesn’t know.

I trained to be a priest with Johnny Vegas.

Well, we didn't expect that! Talking of famous people, who would play you in a film of your life?

Mark Wahlberg.

Naturally. For our final question, could you tell me what company culture means to you?

Absolutely everything. 

It’s the one thing that I invest most of my energy on. The happiness of my colleagues means everything. 

We have one value: ‘life happens’. This means that whatever happens to our colleagues in their personal lives that may impact their work, we’ll always have their back.

From the small stuff to the really big stuff. We don’t always get it right. But we aim for it daily.

Love that! And that's it. Thanks for your time John!

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