YesMore is one whole year old! So we just wanted to share a few highlights, amusing stories and an overview of what we’ve done in our first year of what most people call business. We call it a rollercoaster ride of ups, downs, receipts (literally everywhere), meeting cool people, doing great work and occasionally screaming ourselves to sleep at night.
WHY “YESMORE” THEN??
It all kicked off at the perfect time… mid-way through Tom’s honeymoon, when we got a design brief on the table and needed to decide if we were ready to pitch for it. We didn’t have a logo, website or even a name for the company yet but we had the shared belief of saying YES and continually pushing ourselves MORE so we went for it.
We named the company according to our core beliefs in life and Dan set to work on designing us a logo whilst Tom risked his new marriage for late nights labouring over a pitch deck.
We pitched over Skype, with Dan in Brooklyn, Tom in Biarritz and the client in London. We lost. Then they came back to ask if we’d come onboard as their social media agency of record. To which we, of course (regardless of our philosophy and company name), said Yes. So, thanks to Sophie and her belief in us, Be At One became YesMore agency’s first client.
YesMore became a thing, and we’ve not lost a pitch since!
The following months were spent (aside from enjoying a honeymoon) working hard on developing our brand, our business plan, our 5 year road map, our website, our service offering and our new business plans. We’d been talking about this agency idea since being advertising creative partners at university 10 years before so we already had a rough skeleton plan in our heads and knew this business would cover some key passions for us: ALCOHOL
Here’s three reasons why this niche was a no-brainer for us:
WHY ALCOHOL MARKETING?
We’d each been brewing beer and making hippy wine with our dad’s since about 15 years old – long before we met in our early twenties. Dan’s had his beer tasted and approved by some of Britain’s best sommeliers, and Tom’s road-tripped the wine country of Bordeaux, France and the Duoro valley in Portugal as well as much of Spain. We knew we’d be passionate and knowledgeable enough to deliver great work even in our most demotivated of moments.
Our passion in our teens and twenties led to our professional marketing experience naturally having a focus on the food and drink sectors. We already knew the alcohol market inside out and this only developed into genuine expertise throughout our careers in marketing. Not only that but we also knew a lot of the key people in the drink sector, enabling us to connect people together and to deliver better work for our clients. Added to that, specialists produce better results than generalists.
Yeah, yeah, we admit it’s hilarious to make jokes about how driven we are about alcohol but we had a bigger mission in mind when it came to the core of our business. We each know (and you will too) people very close to us who suffer from alcohol abuse. We’ve been on the front line of it, but we each believe that alcohol is not actually the enemy. Poor mental health is. You, me and everyone we know each has a vice of some sort – from comfort eating, social media addiction or driving fast cars, to sniffing too much coke, being sex-obsessed or using alcohol to suppress certain feelings. There’s no shame in it, but they’re each the effect of different states in mental health – not the cause of it.
So this leads us to our main mission as a company…
THE YESMORE MISSION
YesMore will become an entirely negative-stress and anxiety free workplace within the first 5 years and will lead the industry in influencing a reduction in alcohol abuse through smart expertise-led marketing.
HOW ARE WE DOING THIS?
We knew from the start when we developed our mission that we didn’t necessarily need to know exactly HOW this was going to happen, but within only a few weeks we had a good idea and 1 year on we’ve already made great steps towards it.
FLEXIBLE WORKING AS STANDARD
To this day, I have no idea why any employer ever paid me past about 4pm in the afternoon. Complete waste of money. My most productive hours are between 7am and 3pm and we recognised that each person we’e ever worked with, and ever will in the future, is different. Some people are more productive in the afternoon or evening, so why force them to waste productivity working at times when they’re not at their best? How many Friday mornings have we gone into the office hungover – only to stare blankly at our screen until we can go smash a burrito? Just don’t work then – as long as it doesn’t affect a client deadline or others in the team, work when you’re productive, not when you’re not. Stay at home parent? Great, work when kiddo is sleeping, it’s cool with us. Every person that we hire is encouraged to find their sweet spot of productivity and capitalise on that for our clients – all leading towards greater happiness for both you, your team and your clients.
REMOTE WORKING AS STANDARD
Again, people work better in different environments. I happen to be an interior design snob, so I despise working in badly lit, ikea-furnished office spaces. I also work much better at home, or in a busy cafe full of the hum of indistinguishable background chatter – not in an office with politics, gossip, banter and continual disruptions. We asked ourselves, what if we don’t have an office? What if we come together when we need to collaborate? What if we delegate times and meet ups to banter, catching up on the weekends and being genuinely sociable with each other? We like the idea of re-directing the cost of an owned office space into covering our teams costs for home broadband, co-working desk space, shoreditch house membership or more regular social meet ups on us. In fact the two company directors, Tom & Dan, have only worked in the same room for 9 working days so far – the mentality of needing to be in the same place is outdated. For the last year YesMore and our team have earned a living without one single rush hour commute cramped under sweaty armpits and angry commuters – instead we got on with our work remotely and we’ve been happier and more productive for it.
As well as the (small) steps with things like flexible and remote working, we want to open up communication and help people see our mental health like we see our physical health. We have a really big challenge in bringing our teams together and communicating more effectively when we’re a remote and flexible working business. To tackle work-placed stress, anxiety and even loneliness is tough and we don’t yet have all the answers, but little things like separating work chat to Slack and personal chat to Whatsapp means we have focussed on each without blurring the lines. We also have a strict rule of embracing failure. Mistakes are not bad if we learn and develop from them. Honesty is a big one too – both with each other in the team and with all our clients.
We’re trying to challenge preconceived conceptions of alcohol marketing, too. Will a ‘Drink Responsibly’ logo slapped on the end of your ad make people do just that? Probably not. Will a brand-owned microsite filled with stats and advice ACTUALLY help a vulnerable alcoholic? Doubt it. Will an Instagram bio with three different bitly links to long legally worded content guidelines really stop someone underage from following that account? Come on, now. We believe the alcohol industry needs to shift their focus onto the causes of alcohol abuse, not just the substance itself.
Whilst developing our proposition and business plans we pitched and won 11 new clients in our first 12 months, such as:
Be At One Cocktail Bars
We launched their new cocktail menu with a hugely successful influencer event, much like a pub quiz but with cocktails and reckless competition between influencer teams. We got Be At One trending on Twitter by re-thinking the way brands see influencers and getting 400+ staff to lead a digital flashmob. We helped drive record sales in December and a Dry January like no other – with a huge ROI for Pernod Ricard spirits.
We grew their Instagram account organically and consulted on the marketing of their crowdfunding campaign (which smashed their original target) to make beer from left over bread.
We develop all of their social strategy in collaboration with James, Connie and Jessy in their marketing team. When they were stuck trying to hire someone quickly we stepped in to manage all of their social channels and did such a good job that we’re still delivering industry best social media. And we’ve launched their first influencer engagement plan, which we’re implementing throughout each month.
“YesMore are forward-thinking, creative and hard-working. I have complete trust in everything they do for us. We have definitely seen a positive ‘YesMore effect’ in our stats since we started working together”
– James Backhouse, Director of Marketing, Carluccio’s
Renegade London Winery
We developed a marketing plan for community-led label design with a twist – driving custom into their winery in East London.
Grey Goose Vodka
We turned around keystone pillars of video content for Grey Goose for their special BAFTA season cocktails. In just two days, we shot video with Richard Woods, The Cocktail Guy, in Duck & Waffle – an open bar on the 40th floor of the Heron Tower. We shot with world-famous bartender, Erik Lorincz in The American Bar at The Savoy London. And we filmed Chris Moore at his newly opened exclusive bar, Coupette London.
We produced a killer strategy for using social media content, social media ads and social community engagement to drive ticket sales for Ales Tales’ Belgian beer festival.
“Having YesMore on the ticketing strategy for our festival was a huge success, this team clearly have a passion for Belgian beer and know how to bring it to the masses”
– Nicolas Tondeur, Festival Director, Ales Tales
We developed a plan for DeskBeers to help them sell more beer and deliver it to more desks, with advice and consultancy moving forward to ensure consistent success.
“Our new brand direction from YesMore was clear and easily actionable, a fantastically creative and visual answer to the problem we were facing”
– Adam Rogers, CEO, DeskBeers
Wanderlust needed to sell more subscriptions to wine club memberships. We developed a series of smart sales-led social ads to mirror a sales pipeline – raising awareness, engagement, consideration and ultimately conversion.
Regal Rogue Vermouth
We brought on Regal Rogue as our most recent client, developing everything from Social Media Strategy, Social Media Ads, Content, Influencer Engagement, Ticket Sales, Hashtag and even an Emoji Strategy. We’re proud to be part of the vermouth revolution in the USA, UK and Australia!
Lastly, we want to rap this post up with a number of personal thank you’s:
We’ve been fortunate enough for YesMore to go from strength to strength, completely organically without investment (other than our own blood, sweat and tears) but great thanks to these great people and many more…
- Cheers to Sophie and Andrew for bringing us on to help Be At One rip up the marketing rule book and smash KPIs as a team together
- Cheers to Alison for putting Carluccio’s faith in YesMore, and cheers to James, Connie and Jessy for continuing to be genuinely great clients – embracing innovation at every corner
- Cheers to Mark for your drive, ambition and belief in YesMore to help take Regal Rogue to the next level with you.
- Cheers to Myles, Jason and Amy for being such a great group to work with on a last minute BAFTA shoot for Grey Goose in The Savoy, Duck & Waffle and Coupette London.
- Cheers to Adria, Morgan, Adam Warwick, Josh, Nicolas, and Richard for being great at what you do – enabling us to be great at what we do.
- Cheers to Iasha, Martina, Emma, Ed, Pronati, Toby, Josh, Jason, Simon, Jas, Kimber, Lord Malcolm, Chris, Graham and more amazing staff, freelancers and advisors for your hard work, thoughts and ideas on everything from social to SEO and web dev!
- Cheers to Claire for getting our original research on spirits brands on social into The Grocer, Campaign Magazine, The Drinks Business, PR Week, Food And Beverage, Just Drinks, Big Hospitality and loads, loads more press.
- Cheers to Nathan for long-distance Skype calls, advice, support and validation that this is a good idea – and also to other advice from other business owners such as Mark, Mark, Tom and Ellie too.
- Cheers to our accountant, Rob, for answering our dumbest of dumb questions about tax, especially when we broke through the VAT threshold earlier in the year!
- Cheers to our lawyer, John, for advising us and working with us to develop new ways to make working agreements better for our clients.
- Cheers to Rhona for introducing Tom to Sophie, who invited us to a wine event in the Australian embassy, where we met David and Julie, who’ve each introduced us to countless prospective clients – cheers to all of you!
- Cheers to Sarah, Garret, Max, Jason and more for the introductions to new clients.
- Cheers to Miles & Andy for your support, advice and introductions to people like John and more.
- Cheers to our friends who’ve listed to us drone on about booze in the pub, to our family who’ve liked and shared all our posts despite not really knowing what the hell we do and to our linkedin connections for sharing their newsfeed with our regular posts
- And finally CHEERS to Yaz and Dana for consistently putting up with all our shit.
So there it is!
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Love to you all,