Almost two years in to living through a global pandemic and the world around us has changed significantly. We’re still feeling its tumultuous consequences both personally and professionally and there remains a huge amount of uncertainty.
It’s also created dramatic changes across the healthcare industry and had a profound impact on the world of work, both of which have called for evolved ways of communicating.
We have seen a huge surge in healthy literacy with increased consumer demand for better, more accurate, readable and salient medical information at a time when our health has never been more important to us all.
And it has accelerated what were considered “future” work trends, including virtual working, causing a fundamental shift in both the way people can work and the way they are choosing to do so. So much has changed and yet for us here at The Difference Collective, so much has stayed the same.
It’s clear that PR and communications has never been more critical with the need to keep people informed about their health and their work.
A virtual model that flexes – even when a pandemic hit
When we set up The Difference Collective, it was because we knew that the most important part of work is how it’s being done and who’s doing it, not where they are doing it from.
We set ourselves up from the very start with a purpose-built, virtual model with the right infrastructure and processes in place to ensure we ran as efficiently and effectively as any traditional PR and comms agency – just without an office.
And that meant, when the unthinkable happened, we were automatically pandemic protected and able to flex. We have provided a stable workforce for all our clients – and for the many new ones who came on board – rapidly mobilising teams and independent consultants to meet their constantly evolving needs.
From Big Pharma to small start-ups and everything in between, our clients have seen the true value of having access to our on-demand, senior talent pool. During a crisis, experienced and steady hands are needed.
That is when our consultants, who have often-decades of experience across healthcare and comms under their belts, come into their own. We provided that stable support and have continued to consistently deliver brilliant work for our clients providing support across corporate, internal and change management communications, medical, prescription and switch communications through to delivering digital, design, animation, video, copywriting and media relations solutions.
The difference is in our Collectivity
We know we’re the best kept healthcare communications secret out there and we prove time and time again to our clients that it’s the way we do things that sets us apart.
We truly believe that is because we give our clients access to some of the best, most creative, solutions-based and diverse thinking in the business with our Collective skills spanning the entire healthcare and medical communications spectrum.
Our success lies with what we like to call our ‘Collectivity’ – a mindset, a way of working with an open mind, without an agenda, with people who respect who they work for and what they want, but who push boundaries, are brave, achieve brilliance, offer unique solutions, challenge their thinking and just deliver really great work. That’s what we offer every one of our clients as well as each other.
And that Collectivity is why many of our clients keep working with us. Last year, around half of our clients came back for repeat business which generated over a third of our income.
When it comes to a client choosing an agency to work with, we know the most critical element is chemistry. We may only pitch selectively, but that is because there are other ways for us to demonstrate our capabilities to clients. We are constantly told by our clients how impressed they are with our consultants and teams who quickly become an extension of their team, a trusted partner who deliver exceptional work, at speed, with strategic thinking and sound counsel.
One-size-fits all is a thing of the past
For a long time, we’ve witnessed first-hand agencies haemorrhage some of their best brains and top talent for a myriad of reasons including a lack of flexible work options, no ability to work from home, long hours, a perception that bums on seats is “how things are done”, difficulty juggling raising a family with work, needing to look after elderly or unwell family, geographical challenges. The list goes on.
Recent research by jobs site Glassdoor found that this current “one-size-fits-all” way of working is not meeting what are now complex needs of a modern workforce. Many people are struggling to achieve work-life balance with a third of the 2,000 workers surveyed saying a good balance between home and work life is flexible working hours, a further third wanting choice in where they work, and one in four calling for a reduced working week.
And a report by recruitment consultancy Hanson Search also found that once lockdowns fully ease, 66 per cent of workers want to split their time between office and home working and 14 per cent want to work from home full-time, with half believing their productivity increased during lockdown.
Back when The Difference Collective was just an idea, we knew there had to be a different solution – a way to keep people doing the work they love, achieving exceptional results for clients, but on more flexible terms – without the 9-5 (or 8-8 in reality), without the unnecessary presenteeism and endless, often pointless, meetings.
And we’re delighted we have proved our model is both successful and sustainable. We might not always look to traditional measures of our success, but there’s something special about reaching 18th place in the PRWeek Healthcare Rankings 2021 as well as winning and being shortlisted for industry awards. It tells us we’re doing things right both for our clients and our members.
That success is in no small part down to the fact that every one of us in The Difference Collective has chosen a different way – we’ve made an active choice to work in a manner which suits us and our individual needs allowing us to deliver our best work. Rejuvenating our industry’s senior talent with renewed purpose and opportunities is, to us, the crux of Delivering Differently.
Of course, we know how we do things isn’t the way forward for everyone or all businesses. But people rightly want to work in a way that works for them and, as all models continue to evolve and grow, we’re at the forefront of providing an exceptional virtual solution which continues to deliver outstanding work, giving both clients and consultants greater choice.
Want to see for yourselves?
In fact, we’re so confident in our skills, in how we’re Delivering Differently, that we want you to put us to the test. Give us a project brief and we’ll mobilise a brilliant Collective team to suit the needs of your brief and lead a virtual brainstorm or planning session. We’re here and we’re ready to impress you with our ideas and thinking with whatever you want to throw our way. Get in touch to book a slot.
At a time when the healthcare comms delivery landscape has changed and will continue to change, it’s clear that those that have flexed have remained at the forefront and thrived. We’re planning to continue leading that charge.
We have a clear vision and know we are a genuine contender for anyone looking for an exceptional healthcare comms agency… we just Deliver Differently.
Angie Wiles, Founder of The Difference Collective, has worked in healthcare communications for over 30 years, ultimately building one of the most successful UK healthcare consultancies. Throughout her career, she has constantly looked to do things differently and make a difference to the healthcare communications industry.