A new communications consultancy, Fourteen Forty, has launched to help businesses connect in better ways with the range of people, influencers and interest groups on whom their success depends. In doing so, it will also set out to make the case for business as the country’s wealth and job creator.
The agency has been set up by James Boyd-Wallis and Guy Corbet. James, formerly practice director at Brands2Life, will lead the agency. Guy Corbet, the Brands2Life managing director who established its corporate affairs practice and previously marketing director at the Fishburn Hedges Group, is the agency’s first associate.
James said: “Businesses face a more hostile operating environment now than at any time in the last 40 years. Many firms are tired of being made to feel that they have to apologise for succeeding, or sometimes even for being in business.
“We will campaign for businesses. We will help them build stronger relationships and tell more compelling stories – using more creative and more human communications to help solve business problems. We will also work with politicians and think tanks to make the case for business more widely.”
The name Fourteen Forty comes from the year the printing press was invented.
Guy said: “The printing press enabled mass communication for the first time. It inspired more social, economic and political upheaval than at any time until today’s digital revolution.”
“The rise of digital has created the toughest, most diverse, most demanding and most critical group of audiences the world has ever known. These are the very same audiences that brands and businesses need to reach and influence, to get alongside and to understand.”
New challenges also call for a new approach. To get the best talent, Fourteen Forty will work with a network of expert independent consultants as well as hiring its own people.
Guy said: “Client-agency relationships have changed. Clients are looking for a flexible service from the best people. Agencies need to be able to deliver a wide range of joined-up services without passing on high overheads, pushing needless additional services or leaving the work to inexperienced consultants.
“We will develop our own core team and draw on expert consultants we are used to working with across the range of marketing communications. This will give clients the reliability of a core team, and the specific expertise to meet their individual needs.”
Other associates at launch include marketing director and planner Warren Davey and digital marketing specialist Cameron O’Brien. Warren’s experience includes McCann Erickson, MoneySupermarket, TravelSupermarket and npower. Cameron’s experience includes the Premier League, Marks & Spencer, JP Morgan, Unilever and the Royal Mail.
For the past two years, Guy Corbet has been an independent communications and crisis management consultant since leaving Brands2Life. Before that he was the marketing director at the Fishburn Hedges Group, where he helped blend the offer across corporate and consumer PR, public affairs, internal communications, digital and social, and design. Before that he set up and ran Fishburn Hedges consumer brand agency Seventy Seven PR.
James Boyd-Wallis spent nearly four years at Brands2Life running global campaigns for clients including global bank MUFG, Tes, Seven Investment Management and Just Eat. He previously worked at Camargue and recently completed an executive programme in behavioural science at University College London. James initially trained as a journalist.