FBCC Member Series: Rochester PR Group

This interview is part of our FBCC Member Series, where we introduce our member companies to the network. This time we interviewed Joanna Dodd, the Managing Director of FBCC Corporate Member Rochester PR Group.

For those who don’t know you, how would you describe your company? 

Rochester PR Group is a boutique agency, staffed by senior, experienced PR and marketing people who help international brands launch into the UK market.

Do you have a story behind your company’s name? 

Rochester is where I live in the UK, it’s a beautiful city with a cathedral, Norman castle, and is well known for its Charles Dickens connection. The reason for choosing it as our company name is that we wanted something that sounded “British” to a lot of different cultures and countries. Whilst there are lots of great puns and play on words that would definitely sound more fun and more unusual as a name, we are all about trying to help companies and brands make themselves easily understood and we just felt something challenging is really not where we should start. For us clear, easy-to-understand language is what we want to project on our website for example.

How would you describe your company culture? 

The advantage of a senior “been there, done that” team is 1) that there is not much that we haven’t come across in our working lives in terms of brands, types of campaigns, journalists we deal with, 2) we are hugely collaborative and always share our ideas and reactions with each other in the spirit of “can you improve upon this” or “does your experience tell you something different or suggest a better idea”. Plus we work at a really fast pace which we all enjoy. We’re organised and driven by action lists and deadlines. We all really enjoy our clients’ entrepreneurial spirit and this rubs off on us too – we’re full of ideas and a “why not try this” attitude. In our job you have to be constantly learning new techniques and the media and social media keeps us on our toes in terms of staying up to date. We don’t take ourselves too seriously, so there’s always time for a laugh. 

Do you have anything big happening right now/planned for the near future? 

The nature of our clients means that we are always working on launching new products or services for them.  It could be something they have been planning for months or years and is the culmination of lots of hard work and it’s our job to deliver activity in the most effective way for them and to match their enthusiasm and excitement.

How are you coping with the pandemic? How has your day-to-day life changed? 

We were lucky last year in that we had very recently bought new laptops and pretty much all our systems were app/cloud based already so, to be honest, we shifted our laptops home and carried on pretty much as normal.

Aside from that we invested, like others, in thinking how we keep in touch with each other efficiently, so our internal systems changed.  For clients we run “work in progress” trackers and that helps to keep us and them up to speed – we also like to run a weekly call with each of our clients.  Like others we are missing the face-to-face meetings, but the more virtual way of working has helped some of our clients who have been able to reach out into the UK in terms of raising their profile without having to travel.  Although I think the longer this goes on, you can sense and sometimes see the stress that it has brought to many businesses not just commercially but also their internal communications.

On a personal note, less commuting has brought me more time with my family and home.  So, more DIY jobs completed around the house!  But there’s no doubt that it has taken its toll on my daughters, one who started university last year and the other who is due to take her GCSEs this year.   And on my parents who live locally and for whom I am doing more shopping, preparing meals and trying to keep them feeling positive.

Your number one tip for working from home? 

My one tip for working from home is to take a lunch break and during that watch, the news/read an online media channel or watch/listen to a programme that you wouldn’t normally see or think you have time for. It can be a source of inspiration or just fun. 

What is the biggest benefit of being part of the FBCC network for your company? 

Networks are great and, when not during Covid, it’s good to meet people at FBCC events (the Christmas lunch for example) as business to me is all about hearing a new perspective or point of view.  During Covid, it’s still about sharing and “meeting” people but obviously via Zoom, Teams, attending webinars etc.  You never know who’s going to give you a great piece of advice or spark an idea.

If you’re hiring new employees, what are the traits you would be looking for in them

We’re not hiring at the moment but, whenever we do, we look for people with masses of experience (we only employ senior consultants as we have found that works best for our clients) but also huge enthusiasm.  You have to be able to treat each new client or new project with the same excitement as you did the one before.

7 Secrets of Organising Epic Networking Events (online, of course)

The blog post is written by Dr. Tuuli Bell, the owner of FBCC Corporate Member Tuuli Bell Ltd

Once, I described myself as “stubbornly positive” at a networking event. That attitude has slowly become an everyday practice, a reminder during isolation that we can choose how we feel. I’d like to say it’s easy. On many days, I forget, pick myself up, and resume my practice. It’s one thing to be self-aware and control your thoughts, feelings, and words. As an organiser of a networking event, how can you influence the feelings of the participants? How do you create an atmosphere where people can feel safe to share their thoughts, enjoy themselves, and make meaningful connections?

We are heading towards the spring and have plenty of upcoming opportunities to renew, re-assess and transform our events. With a very special art-focused networking event with ProjectTransformations and FBCC coming up, I’d like to share my top 7 learnings about organising networking magic:

  1. Pick a theme that people gather around. Priya Parker suggests in her transformative book The Art of Gathering1 that you can engineer meaningful gatherings by being intentional and clear about the theme.
  2. Be brave. When you pour your heart into your work, it shows. Bring your true self to the event planning meetings and encourage others to do the same. It’s hard to put this into a couple of sentences as Brené Brown2 has been studying it for over 20 years.
  3. Embrace the limiting factors. When you have limited choices (about anything), you’re actually releasing your creative powers within. We all know the power of deadlines, and that’s an example of limited time. Check out more of Tina Seelig’s creative wisdom in inGenius3.
  4. Create a magical space. The environment that you’re in has a major impact on your creativity, output and mindset. Often in times of crisis, it can be easiest to change your environment as a positivity boost. That is why top schools and universities look attractive, and why cathedrals have high ceilings: they make you think prosperous thoughts, let your mind wonder in a vast space and invite you to look upwards. For inspiration, take a look at Scott Doorley and Scott Witthoft’s Create Space4. Adjusting for a virtual environment, send a physical item to the participants they can touch and feel, or invite them to bring their own.
  5. Think about who you’re targeting. Who are you attracting to the event? The easiest way to influence who will be there is to understand the target profile and use words that speak to them (and not others). Shelle Rose Charvet’s Words That Change Minds5 opened my eyes to the power of words.
  6. Think holistically. What else is going on in the lives of the participants? Will they be able to attend your event if it’s at school pick-up time? Will they need to, and be able to, download special software on their work laptops? Are there other accessibility, or language barriers that you need to take into account?
  7. Plan your hellos and saying goodbye. Coming back to Priya Parker’s book1, she explains how participants’ experience of the gathering starts as soon as they hear about the event and ends after the event has come to a close. What are the opening and closing rituals that you will employ? Ending a gathering is much easier in a virtual space than, for example if you had guests at home. In either case, you’ll want to let everyone know what to expect, and in which sequence or at what time. Finally, how will you follow-up after the event? When you’ve arranged a great event, you’ll want to help the participants to take something home with them, to remember it with gratitude and a smile. If they learn something that reminds them to live life to the fullest, you’ve more than achieved your goal.

Thank you for taking your time to read through the post, and I hope it gave you ideas and inspiration for organising your next event. If you are curious about participating in a novel art-networking event, sign up today to secure your place. Look forward to seeing you there!

Dr Tuuli Bell is founder of FBCC member company Tuuli Bell Ltd. Drawing on her research background in experimental physics, and a life-long passion for oil painting, Tuuli challenges the barriers between disciplines. She believes that arts and sciences have complementing approaches, with the same purpose: to deepen our understanding of the universe – a space-time that we are part of. For her, happiness is about embracing change, connecting with others on a human level, and communicating with the universe through visual art.

Read more about ProjectTransformations art workshop and get your tickets here

References

  1. Priya Parker, The Art of Gathering: https://www.priyaparker.com/thebook
  2. Brené Brown, Dare to Lead: https://daretolead.brenebrown.com/
  3. Tina Seelig, inGenius, http://www.tinaseelig.com/books.html
  4. Scott Doorley and Scott Witthoft, Create Space:https://dschool.stanford.edu/resources/make-space-excerpts
  5. Shelle Rose Charvet, Words That Change Minds: https://wordsthatchangeminds.com/

FBCC Corporate Member Kone is recruiting!

FBCC Corporate Member KONE is recruiting for several open positions in London and other locations within the United Kingdom.

Down below, you can see few roles KONE is looking to fill in London:

KONE has many more open positions you can look up here.

As a global leader in the lift and escalator industry, KONE provides lifts, escalators and automatic building doors, as well as solutions for maintenance and modernisation to add value to buildings throughout their life cycle. 

Read more about KONE here.

FBCC MEMBER SERIES: LIGHT COGNITIVE

This interview is part of the FBCC Member Series where we introduce our member companies to the network. This year’s first interview is with Anne Salomaa, the Head of Marketing at FBCC’s Corporate Member Light Cognitive.

Light Cognitive’s award-winning lighting design bring the benefits of natural light to a windowless retail space in Barcelona.

Light Cognitive is a Finnish company focusing on lighting design that celebrates natural light. The company’s mission is to bring beautiful light and clear skies within everyone’s reach by using a lighting technology that recreates natural light in indoor spaces. The aim is to receive the benefits from natural light around the year, which can otherwise be difficult during the darker months. The name, Light Cognitive, was born during a stroll in Cambridge with a practical meaning behind it: lighting has a significant impact on our cognitive abilities.  

Light Cognitive was established in 2014 when the founder moved to Finland after having spent several years in the U.S. and noticed how the darkness had a vast impact on both his mood and alertness. From here, the idea of creating light indoors, which would enable us to experience the benefits of natural light during the darkest times of the year, was born.  

Although the current situation has created its challenges, Light Cognitive has been able to grow and gain global interest and recognition during the past year. The company has participated in international design competitions and recently won the prestigious Dezeen Award for 2020 in the category of Lighting Design. The competition attracted participants from over 80 countries with thousands of projects. Moreover, the company has been able to shift product demonstrations online and has participated in different virtual events to remarkable success. Right now, the team is looking forward to the future with an open mind.

Salomaa describes the company’s culture as innovative and encouraging, with opportunities to learn new skills and take on different roles. Most importantly, as the environment is very dynamic and fast-paced, Salomaa mentions how important it is to trust in oneself. She finds it inspiring to see the effort and work put into the company along the journey.  

“Light is important for our wellbeing,” says Light Cognitive marketing director Anne Salomaa

Salomaa is currently the only team member living in the U.K., which is also why she sees being part of the FBCC community as a great means to network and make new connections, and she appreciates the support of FBCC and both the local and Finnish companies that are a part of the network.

We asked Salomaa for her best tips for working at home, to which she mentions how important it is to try and get some natural light during the day by going on a walk, even if just for fifteen minutes. If that is not possible, she recommends getting at least some light by opening the door while you enjoy your daily dose of caffeine.

Artificial Intelligence with Goodwille and Marks & Clerk

If someone asked you to explain what artificial intelligence, AI, stands for, what would you say? What about machine learning and deep learning? As AI continues to grow in popularity, it’s good to know some of the key terms used in the AI space.

FBCC Patron Member Goodwille posted an article on their website where they answer 5 questions about artificial intelligence together with FBCC Corporate Member Marks & Clerk.

To read the full article click here.

FBCC Member Series: The Finnish Institute

This interview is part of the FBCC Member Series, where we introduce our member companies to the network. This time we interviewed Emilie Gardberg, the Director at our Corporate Member, the Finnish Institute in London.

The Finnish Institute is an expert in Finnish culture and society and there are 17 institutes in the institute network around the world. Their mission is to facilitate exchange between Finnish, British and Irish artists and researchers.

The organisational structure of the Finnish Institute is flat and the goal is to operate the Institute the same way it would be operated in Finland. Compared to Finland, the UK work culture is slightly more hierarchical with a greater emphasis on titles and formality. “We have a very flat hierarchy and a very open working culture starting from how we structure ourselves in the office. Our office is an open office, and we have easy access to everyone. We also highlight things such as diversity and inclusiveness. We try to make our work and our mission accessible to everyone.”

Despite the current pandemic, the Institute is quite busy at the moment. “The Institute is turning 30 next year and we have lots of different programmes and tours planned. Right now, we are trying to figure out if future events can be actual physical events or not.”During the autumn the Finnish Institute has organised a biweekly discussion series called “Present” where they bring professionals together from different fields. “One week we might target festivals, and the next week the emphasis might be on theatres or orchestra work. This is a way of keeping our relationships warm during a time where we really cannot see each other.”

Daily life at the Institute has changed since everyone is working from home. “It is a lot of remote working and sometimes it is difficult to have access to everyday things when we are not physically at the office. The good thing is that everyone, all around the world, is in the same situation so it feels like everyone’s closer to some people in a way because of the technology. It is easy to get access to people and have online conversations. Besides, you do not lose time traveling, which is sometimes positive.” Ms Gardberg says it is also nice to see people walking and cycling around. She hopes this is something that will also continue after the pandemic. “I am still longing for the time when it’s possible to be in the office, work together, have shows and exhibitions, and be around other people.”

Gardberg’s number one tip for working from home is to have casual connections with other colleagues, as you would in the office. “I feel like an informal connection is important. In addition to normal meetings, we try to set informal meetings on our agenda. This means having coffee breaks together and talking about other things than work. Because our interns rotate a lot, it is important to maintain a casual atmosphere. Otherwise, it would be very hard to adapt to the working environment.”

For the Finnish Institute, it is very important to engage with companies that are either Finnish or have an interest in Finland. “We work quite a lot with companies that want to support culture or research and have some things that fit together with our work. Being part of the FBCC is all about the network and connections. In addition, I find it nice to have Finnish colleagues here in London.”

Congratulations to our Corporate Member Light Cognitive!

At FBCC we’d like to express our warmest congratulations to our Corporate Member Light Cognitive, who has won the Dezeen Award for 2020, in the category of Lighting Design.

Light Cognitive has created a lighting technology that recreates natural light in indoor spaces, using artificial windows and light panels. The studio has designed horizon and sky luminaires that recreate a sense of openness and connection to nature, which are adaptable to any space.

Despite the current situation Light Cognitive has continued to grow and has gained new international clients.

“We are very honoured to get this recognition. Our goal is to bring beautiful light and clear skies within everyone’s reach.” – Marketing Director Anne Salomaa

Read more here.

FBCC Member Series: Kalliolaw

This interview is part of the FBCC Member Series, where we introduce our member companies to the network. This time we interviewed Olli Oksman, the Managing Director at our Corporate Member Kalliolaw.

Kalliolaw, a firm named after its founding partner Jukka Kallio, is a modern business law firm that helps its clients in changing the business environment. With offices in London, Helsinki, and Turku, the company is well placed to help international businesses with their Finnish business operations and investments in Finland.

For a law firm, we are pretty down-to-earth and have a flat hierarchy. Lawyers may seem a bit dry but our get-togethers can actually be quite good fun”, says Mr Oksman. “We do weekend getaways together every year. Unfortunately, we couldn’t go abroad this year, so we had to arrange our get-together in Finland. It was a fun trip.

Kalliolaw just had its 20th anniversary. “We hope to celebrate this with our clients and friends once the situation allows.

Because of the pandemic, all of the lawyers at Kalliolaw were home-based during the spring and summer. “At the moment it is more hybrid: most our lawyers continue to work from home significant part of their time but as many prefer to work from the office part of the time, we have accommodated this.” Practically all of the meetings and negotiations now take place online as do all of the conferences and industry events.  The pandemic has obviously had an impact on clients’ businesses and the kind of things the firm has been doing. “Over the spring and summer, there was not much activity on the M&A front. Since the summer, things have picked up a bit, starting with bridge financing. This has been compensated by increased activity in other fronts, especially HR lawyers have been busy. While obviously some business sectors have been suffering, there are those sectors that have been rather benefiting from the situation, such as gaming companies.

Mr Oksman’s number one tip for working from home is to stretch regularly.

For Kalliolaw, the biggest benefit of being part of the FBCC network is the great connections made.

We warmly welcome our new Corporate Member Artic Brands Group!

We are proud to introduce our new Corporate Member Artic Brands Group!

Arctic Brands Group Ltd (est. 2017) is a small company from Finland. The land of uncountable forests and lakes that make our nature uniquely clean and pure. That’s where we strive for to make the world’s best gin. Our gin – Arctic Blue Gin – is not just any gin. It’s a capture of arctic nature in a bottle. It’s a spirit of the year 2018 and double gold rated in 2018 and 2019.

For more information about our new member visit their website.

 

Webinar with Goodwille and Marks & Clerk: What does “Brexit Means Brexit” mean to you?

Check out this recording of our last week’s webinar hosted by our General Manager Jade Juvonen. At the webinar the speakers discussed the impact of the upcoming Brexit withdrawal for businesses and employees, from a legal, organisational, and individual perspective.

This webinar was organised together with FBCC Patron Goodwille, Corporate Member and international intellectual property firm Marks & Clerk, the Danish-UK Association, and the Norwegian-British Chamber of Commerce.

Speakers:

  • Alexander Goodwille, CEO, Goodwille 
  • Jacqui Brown, HR ManagerGoodwille  
  • Simon PortmanManaging Associate & Solicitor (UK), Marks & Clerk
  • Michael Barrett, Senior Associate & Chartered (UK) and European Trade Mark AttorneySolicitor (UK), Marks & Clerk

You can also find recordings to all our past webinars here!

Finnish-British Chamber of Commerce

The FBCC is an independent, non-profit organisation, recognized throughout the Finnish, British and international business communities. The Chamber offers four different membership categories: Patron, Corporate, Professional and Young Professional.