Ian Goodall, Managing Director, Emberson Marketing & Emberson LeadGen, who describes himself as passionate, thoughtful and tall, shares his thoughts on running a successful distributed agency that consciously puts people first, cares to be different and encourages its people, whatever their ambitions to ‘just be’ who they want to be…  

What’s Your Story – Ian Goodall

The world is fighting a pandemic and putting its very best foot forward to adapt to a new normal. And whilst some things are starting to wake up, office spaces remain closed for the foreseeable. For many businesses who were forced to swiftly rethink their operations, creating an efficient and cohesive workforce has presented significant challenges. Thankfully, the teams across the Emberson Group have been spared this headache.

Distributed not Remote

A distributed agency network since inception, for over a decade our scalable business has had the agility to pivot, (long before the term was made popular by the pandemic). We have consciously removed the term ‘remote working’ from our vocabulary at Emberson. It feels disconnected and detached, which couldn’t be any further from the reality we have created with our teams. Whilst other businesses have been frustratingly bogged down by trialling the best ways to work, and then crucially instilling new working practices and embedding the culture, Emberson has been able to continue firing on all cylinders doing what it does best.

Shaping the Future

Joining Emberson Group not long after the company had been inaugurated to help the founders shape and grow the future business has allowed a hands-on approach and the very rewarding opportunity to build and co-create a successful b2b agency. Working in traditional marketing agencies across the South West and London for the past 26 years, in a variety of roles, enabled a great deal of perspective on how we could carve our niche and do it very well. Traditional agency set-ups have many pitfalls, the most obvious being the lack of focus on staff and overall wellbeing. This is now changing in many cases, but as an industry we have been notoriously short-sighted.

Personally, I enjoy being my own boss. Working from home, managing my own time and my own sense of wellbeing, I’m able to push back when deadlines really are unachievable. I don’t have anyone breathing down my neck or looking over my shoulder, so it really is up to me to make things happen. That’s not to say that my workload isn’t ever extortionately high, but I do have the ability to take control and say no, if that’s what it takes.

Doing it Differently

We are really trying to do things differently, not just for the sake of being different, but to change the way we work for the better. We have always believed from the start there was a better way than the traditional agency model.

Working together as an extended team, we combine a great deal of freedom with creativity and autonomy. We have great supply partners and a client roster we are immensely proud of too. Working with an international client base enables us to travel extensively, (under normal circumstances) which for someone who enjoys seeing the world, strikes up the perfect balance between home and away.

People First

We invest heavily in our most important asset, our people. We all have healthcare, pensions, performance-related incentives and recently we have created the Emberson Sustainability Fund. This helps our team make personal contributions into their own sustainable futures.  By being employee-owned, everyone is invested in the business and ensures the entire team is genuinely rewarded on their performance.

The success of Emberson has it demands, but it is much easier to balance those demands in a distributed business. We have the flexibility to work whenever and wherever we need to. In other agency roles I have spent 2-3 hours a day commuting, so being at Emberson has given me a lot of my personal time back.

I try and exercise at least once a day, either at the gym (or more recently online classes) and Netflix while using the exercise bike has been a saviour during lockdown.

I also enjoy Saturday morning gym circuits and either coaching or watching the local youth football team that my son plays for. I’ve been able to take up running with more time available to me and although currently recovering from a knee injury, I’m cycling more which is a great way to see the wonderful area I live in.

Whatever your ambitions, if you’re interested in knowing more about what we do and how you could make the difference with Emberson, we would love to hear from you.  https://www.embersongroup.com/about/#join-us