While many tend to focus on the fashion industry’s glamourised roles, there are thousands of positions outside of the ‘cool job’ category that can often be overlooked. In our Meet the Minds series, we aim to uncover the positions often hidden from the limelight; showcasing all the different ways you can make your mark in this creative sector.
This week, we’re interviewing the founders of some of London’s best PR agencies, all of which have helped build the influence of some of fashion’s most notorious names. With a few decades of combined experience, these women have been advancing the communications industry through their own boutique agencies and are making space for more female-led companies. Learn more about what they do and how they got here below.
Platform13 works across strategy, research, and creative to communications. Now five years old, the business has overcome a pandemic while working with Dr. Martens, Birkenstock and Guinness.
Why did you decide to start Platform13?
I had the rare experience of starting up my own businesses, both agency side and in-house roles has given me a unique perspective on what I could see as gaps between big brands, their agencies and their audiences. This has always included access for underrepresented people in these spaces. I wanted to create a new type of company to answer those challenges and bridge that gap between corporate, culture and creativity, and Platform13 was born.
Platform13 is 20 years in the making. I came into the comms industry with no specific formal training. My skill (I understand now decades later) is knowing what’s relevant and what will resonate – it’s pretty intangible, so there isn’t a ‘course’ to learn how to do it. I guess I am culturally curious and interested in people and the world.
Do you think the pandemic has affected your business strategy? How did you have to adapt?
Platform13 was set up in 2017 in response to cultural and creative shifts. Some key ones from the pandemic meant that we were perfectly placed to support. We were able to respond to more people taking different career paths, the digitisation of processes, more people going freelance and the rise of side hustles and the gig economy, so we had remote working processes and a network of global freelancers as the pandemic hit.
Part of how we work is to be constantly flexing brand plans according to cultural shifts. We then quickly pivoted our clients’ strategy and offered them ways to adapt their wider objectives to continue to engage their audiences credibly as the world shut down.
With the much needed acceleration of social justice issues following the murder of George Floyd, Platform13 (always created with access in mind) was briefed by a variety of brands to uncover their role in bringing about meaningful change.
As Platform13’s projects are rooted in culture and community, how fulfilling is it working on them and seeing the final result?
It’s everything. We truly believe brands have the power to move things forward and when we hear back from the community or audience about how the projects we have created have impacted them, it’s great.
Embracing diversity and inclusivity through authentic storytelling is what Platform13 does well, how has your 20+ years of experience helped you develop the company’s ethos?
I am passionate about authenticity, access and decolonising the marketing, advertising and comms industry. We work with cultural voices of the communities the brand is trying to engage with to ensure credible activities and respectful storytelling that resonates. I believe that there is so much diverse talent out there, who traditionally could not access brands and careers because of circumstances outside of their control and they just need that one opportunity to grab and embrace.
Added to my work experiences, I am born and raised in apartheid South Africa. As an immigrant woman of colour, I learned everything on the job through trial and error. It’s my story too, so these are the foundations and ethos of Platform13.
How do you think the marketing and comms industry is changing?
I think the conversation is starting, but there is a LOOOONG way to go. I take hope in the fact that the conversations are live and out there now, but action speaks louder than words.