Dina Green, managing director at OrangeDoor, which won two awards at the recent micebook V Awards including Best Agency (under 40 employees), as well as two commendations, shares the journey the agency has been on over the past two years, refocusing, rebuilding and transforming into the award-winning business it is today…
When the world was in the grips of COVID, the world locked down, and people were forced to live in the moment. Be present. Review what was important.
The same forces that influenced ‘The Great Resignation’ also moved people to review their relationships with brands and those brands’ roles within the pandemic and society. Companies such as L’Oreal focussed on producing hand sanitiser instead of other products to distribute to health services, Dell Technologies supported home learning for children who couldn’t afford laptops and there were many other examples of doing the right thing that won hearts and minds.
At OrangeDoor we were in the depths of a global event catastrophe and a pipeline that went from the £Millions, to £0 over the space of 1 month. We responded by pivoting from 10% to 100% virtual, practically overnight and became world class very quickly, worshiping necessity as the mother of all invention.
Meanwhile, we were also using the time to review who, what and why we were, and reconnect our actions and behaviours to our values. We had always been who we were, but we had not been as deliberate about being loud and proud of us.
We did not know at this stage, nor was this a reason we were refocussing, but a year and a half later, this would give us competitive advantage.
Our values were still the same from launch 22 years ago: Integrity, Professionalism, Creativity and Passion but we added ‘Truth’. We did this because we needed to combat the post-truth era in our own way and one of our three key belief pillars is ‘Decisions must be based on insight and evidence, as well as great creative thinking’. But also, and as importantly, this value reminds and represents that we should always be true to ourselves as individuals and be exactly who we are and the best version thereof.
This process led to an articulation of our DNA to a depth that we had never undertaken before (the key outputs of which are here.) Then came the huge challenge of putting our money where our mouth is. We undertook a significant internal change program that included:
- Reorganising the business’s governance and operating procedures around, and then submitting an application to become, B-Corp Certified. This was an 18-month labour of love.
- We joined isla and are implementing their sustainability methodology throughout the agency and adapting our learnings to help support our clients to make better choices –with the added use of TRACE we are now measuring the carbon impact of our events.
- We completely reorganised our recruitment procedure to a non-bias recruitment strategy, enabling us to be confident that we were supporting the hiring of under-represented groups
- We also implemented a ‘Team players, not arseholes’ approach to hiring
- We improved our policies including: Mental Health, Menopause, breastfeeding, Recycling, Communication, Transparency, Data Protection and many more…
- We revised our new business targeting strategy to only focus on businesses we would be proud to work with and away from those with whom we were not aligned
- All this time, we were also making some significant systems and operational improvements to make us more efficient and more creative
Then the world re-opened. In-person events were back but the supply chain had broken and good people had left for other industries. We were attending a range of industry events and all we were hearing was that nobody could hire for love nor money.
Meanwhile, we were having good people come to OrangeDoor, asking to work with us and our recruitment pipeline was full. We were also busy hiring back 42% of the people we were not able to keep during the pandemic. We were bucking the trend.
In May, we all went on a company offsite and get-together to regroup and rally for the years ahead and it was during a presentation by our head of growth exploring our values and how they translated into our actions that it became obvious through feedback from all of our new starters that they had come to OrangeDoor not only because we had shared values, but because we were actually living them and actively finding ways we could improve as a business and as people. This felt good.
This, supported by the range of really interesting clients and projects that we undertake has led us to be able to attract absolutely stellar talent such as:
- Eddie, our incredibly talented Junior Designer and illustrator, who joined from the Government’s KICKSTART scheme in October. He has big aspirations for the future, and we’re thrilled to help him on his way. Watch this space!
- Laura, our organisational guru & problem-solving Senior Accounts Director, who joined us from a well-known B2B commercial conferencing organiser, in February.
- Lee, who declined bigger agencies and other offers to come to us from some big-name competitor events agencies and has also had a baby since arriving as we like to nurture our talent from a young age! Lee is a superstar and will be instrumental in our future as our Client Services Lead.
- Jamie joined us in May as Head of Production and has not only made a significant difference to our internal processes and efficiency but has also built an incredible team already in his short tenure.
- George joined us for a 6-month freelance contract as a Senior Producer – we jelled immediately, resulting in a job offer and promotion to Account Director within our Client Services team. George splits his working time between London and New York.
- Dominque joins us from South Africa, this delightful and positive Production Coordinator has hit the road running and is terrific at everything she touches!
- Aimee has recently started as our Marketing and Content Manager working on our own messaging and helping our clients get theirs right around their events. Aimee has already made a great impression and is settling into the roles like she has been here for years.
- Dace joined this week as Creative Director. Dace is from Latvia and has an impressive background as a Creative Designer across the Events Industry and we are excited to see this pivotal part of the business flourish.
- Todd joined us initially for a part time 2-month contract as a software solutions specialist and before long he turned down other job offers with other agencies to stay on board with us permanently as our Commerical and Operation’s Manager.
- Becky met our Head of HR in the summer of 2020 at a vineyard where Becky was working part time as a 2nd year Events Management Student at Oxford Brooks University and has joined us for Summer 2022 to throw herself into all thing’s events!
- Annis who also joined from the Government’s KICKSTART scheme in January, as a Digital Technician, has been on 7 events and actively managing technical aspects in different venue. Annis will shortly be taking a follow-on contract with us as an IT & Facilities Assistant, we are excited to teach him more
All these incredible talented individuals joined the team alongside a team of long-standing OrangeDoorians, some of whom have been at OrangeDoor for between 8 and 22 years. So far, we seem to be doing this bit right, and we are proud of our efforts and our people.
The journey doesn’t end there either – we are also proud to see many of our people move on to other industries and sectors with new acquired skills through the training and development offered here at OrangeDoor. Seeing them flourish in their careers elsewhere has brought us real joy.
All of this work contributed to OrangeDoor recently being recognised as “agency of the Year’ AND winning the Grand Prix at this year’s V Awards. This blew our minds, and we are so grateful for this recognition but also that this was further peer endorsement of what we are trying to achieve.