By Anthony Mendicino
Founded by Drew Benvie and named after his hometown in England, give a bit of a label here as to what this is – a new agency Battenhall has placed a new spin on public relations in the digital age.
The agency prides itself on creating a social media “niche.”
“When we came here we wanted to rip up the rulebook,” Benvie said to a small conference room packed with Point Park students.
Winners of seven Best Agency Awards in England in its short three-year existence, Battenhall is simultaneously tearing up and rewriting the public relations script. Instead of traditional PR approaches, Battenhall focuses on social media and new forms of PR.
“PR firms spend to much time working for their clients when they should be creating cool content,” Benvie said.
Benvie has built the company around the changing media landscape and formed it to change with that landscape. That means an ever-increasing presence on the internet as more and more people engage with companies online.
“We do a lot of video work for our clients,” Benvie said, adding that the trend of online videos has become a potent marketing tool.
To keep up with the constant changes in digital media Benvie assembled a young, diverse workforce of fewer than 50 employees familiar with a broad array of online mediums. You can note her how many people he employs.
Benvie also noted that people work in a more productive way when they are relaxed and provided ample time to focus on their personal lives. That’s why he included unlimited vacation days and a 20 percent rule as part of employee benefit.
The 20 percent rule means that Battenhall employees spend 20 percent of their time experimenting and innovating. That equates to about one hour for every five hours.
He also included time for his employees to work on personal side projects and pro bono work for charities and good causes chosen by the team.
On top of all that, there is also a tech fund for employees to purchase any technology that they may need to be more productive.
“Most people buy laptops and things like that,” Benvie said. One person even bought a Playstation with the extra money, and it was totally cool with Benvie. Because?
“There’s a strong culture here,” Benvie said. He added that its their strong culture that gives Battenhall employees the freedom to get their work done as well as take time for themselves.
Benvie’s employees reinterated that strong culture noting that Battenhall has no real ‘hierarchy,’ making ideas easier to pitch and failure easier to accept.
But just three years into their existence, failure doesn’t seem to be in Battenhall’s vocabulary.