When everything seems to be going against you...

...remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it - Henry Ford

Founder and MD
20 Dec

As 2023 draws to a close we all know we’re living in challenging times. News around the world is hard to watch and the economic landscape is tough for many people both in daily life and in businesses. Everyone’s feeling the pinch. Procurement departments have moved from a relaxed Defcon 5 up to Defcon 2 – including ours, but having said that, expansion and growth feel not only aspirational but inevitable.

Talking of growth, and not being ones for half measures, this year our agency undertook a complete rebrand and expanded our offer as Strategic Storytelling Consultants. It was an inevitable step. Our success to this point has been grounded not only in our creativity but in our strategic thinking. We interrogated every brief we ever got, constantly asked ‘Why’ and so became trusted partners and confidants to all those we worked with because well, we didn’t know how to do it any other way.

In changing times, being strategic across all business decisions is going to be key for 2024. The urge to move fast is huge, especially when time is money, but being too hasty or last minute can be costly in the long run. We’re walking the talk at Toucan, for the big moves and the small stuff. We know what the big strategic vision is and we’re following it. Not only that, we’ve taken our team along the journey, because we want them to be clear about what we’re aiming for, what we stand for and that gives everyone the signal that we’re in this together and if they have something to say, we’re ready to listen.

In the plan, expansion for Toucan in 2023 came in the form of a very grown-up office in Wandsworth and a much bigger team now works from there. I see actual people in the flesh almost every day and it beats the hell out of back-to-back video calls which brings to mind one of the challenges that many businesses tell me are experiencing; How do you get a workforce, used to the benefits of homeworking, back in the office? It’s a tricky one. Everyone’s got used to homeworking and to many it feels like a drag to put on your lanyard and go back to the office, but the face to face connection has been a gamechanger for our company culture. Everyone says it. We like being together. Work progresses with more speed, we support each other and most importantly have a laugh. We’ve got a water cooler if you need a ‘moment’ but most of the non-work-related conversations happen while the office dogs are chasing each other up and down the carpet looking for squeaky toys. It’s so pre-Covid - it’s fabulous.

Along with annual upgrades for cameras and a considerable boost to the capacity in the editing suite, we’ve done the very detailed task of systemising our processes. Our procedure police will now send you a spicy email if you put your files in the wrong place so it’s worth paying attention, but we do have a very snazzy intranet if you get stuck.

After the incredible success in delivering a massive live global broadcast for an audience of 70,000 across four time zones in June 2022, it was once again at the forefront of our minds as we landed three prestigious industry awards this summer and I have to say, it is very nice when other professional types notice you’ve got a cracking team who can pull off something magical.

Talking of the team, we make a point of telling them just how good they are, not just because it’s a decent thing to do, but it’s important they know, we know. Money is important, but it really isn’t everything when it comes to purpose or satisfaction, a point made clear in  PWC’s Global Workforce Hopes and Fears Survey.

It’s great to see new clients being added to the roster and know that a very talented bunch of creative strategists, filmmakers, and event designers are chomping at the bit to produce more brilliant work in the coming year.

We’ve had our challenges, who doesn’t? But what resonates strongly with me is how grateful I feel for everything I already have.

My top tips for 2024 are:


·  As soon as you’ve finished your Christmas pudding, start planning for 2024.

·  Have a long-term strategy for your big meetings and you’ll need less time in the small ones.

·  If you need your people back in the office, ask yourself what are the real benefits to them?

·  Take your people with you and listen to them. You’ll reap the rewards.

·  Say thank you to all your fabulous teams and say it often.


Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas.  Here’s to peace, prosperity, and a positive procurement process for all in 2024.

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