“Can we rebrand the agency, please?”

Barnaby Ellis, Head of Creative:

If you work for, or follow, any company long enough you will almost certainly experience some sort of rebranding exercise. From small tweaks that some people might not even notice to total overhauls, these can be contentious projects for everyone involved - customers and employees alike.

The new branding for the UK’s national broadcaster, the BBC, is a great example of the fuss that can ensue. In October 2021, the corporation made a subtle tweak to the main logo. It also overhauled the individual identities of its sub-brands - its TV channels and its online apps (news, sport, iPlayer, Sounds, etc.). The changes may have gone unnoticed by the casual viewer, but they had some people up in arms. So why the controversy?

First, when it comes to visual design, everyone has an opinion. Ask multiple groups of people their opinion and you will get multiple, often conflicting, answers. "I love it", "I hate it", "It’s nice".

Second, people don’t like change. This is certainly true for a major broadcaster that interacts with millions of people every day. But it is also true for smaller brands and companies. And it definitely affects employees of those companies. What was wrong with what we had?

And thirdly, rebrands cost money and take time. For an organisation like the BBC, which is funded by the British taxpayer, both of these factors can become a national debate. But the same debates are often had by any brand or company that is devoting efforts to this sort of project. Haven’t they got more important things to do? What a distraction. What’s the ROI?

So, what has that got to do with me and the company I work for? Because we’re going through a rebrand right now, and it was instigated by me.

Confession time. I’ve never liked our branding. I love the name and the story and how it is relevant to everything we do. But it is really really long when spelt out. I have never understood the kerning between the f-t-y of fifty. And the colour is a bit meh.

But more fundamentally the brand doesn’t reflect the company we are today, let alone our ambitions for the next 5+ years. Eight years ago our client base was mainly small to medium-sized Microsoft Partners. Alongside those companies we now create campaigns, build tools, develop websites and run social media for some of the biggest tech brands in the world - Google, NTT, WWT, Dell and even Microsoft themselves.

We also do a lot of brand and web work for our clients. And in the back of my head, I am always a bit nervous that these companies will look at our branding and website and judge us. If they do then they won’t see the company we are, feel the passion we put into our work, get a flavour of the experience of working with us, or have confidence in the results we can deliver.

So I decided to bite the bullet and suggest we overhaul the brand. The first step was to pitch the idea to Chris, Fifty Five and Five’s owner/founder.

Chris is incredibly open to suggestions and changes to the way that we work. I think it is one of the reasons everyone loves working here. We are always looking inwards and thinking about how we can improve how we do things. Nothing is sacred (except the name!)

But there is something personal about creating a business and a brand and then having someone else come in and criticise it. The business is Chris’ baby. He even designed the current logo (maybe he can answer the kerning question?!).

As with the BBC example, I knew such a project would face questions.

So (almost) everyone at Fifty Five and Five does have an opinion. After all, this is the industry we all work in. This is why we have involved everyone in the process - from surveying their thoughts at the start to sharing the work and getting feedback during - the input of the team has been invaluable.

This broad involvement has also helped deal with any internal resistance to change. Though I have to say, one of the great things about this project is the broad understanding that it’s long overdue!

So, after the faux horror of criticising his baby, Chris had questions, especially around cost and timelines. And the answers were: "it is going to be more expensive and take longer than you think". Why? Because for the first time in the company’s history we’re going to do it properly, from the ground up.

Chris is open and reasonable, but we don’t have bottomless pockets or a team sitting around twiddling their thumbs. He does understand the importance of doing this work well. He appreciates the thoroughness of our approach (the 55!), has engaged with the process throughout and is excited with the results. Not only is he itching to launch but every day he is pitching in a new idea for how we do this.

There is another benefit I haven’t touched on yet. A rebrand can not only impact the industry you work in but it can also have a profound effect inside the business. It can reinvigorate and inspire the team. If we can all have even a fraction of the excitement that Chris has about our new brand then this will spark great things. Hopefully this fawning end will cover my earlier confessions about the current brand...

Chris Wright, Founder:

When Barnaby first suggested we needed a rebrand my immediate reaction was - haven’t we just done that? I was referring to the new website we built a year ago. We updated some colours and the imagery on the website. Everything else stayed the same. Including the logo.

His answer was no. And then he proceeded to tell me that not only was the brand dated, but it also didn’t reflect who we were today, and it could even be holding us back. You’ve read these comments above, I assume, so I won’t elaborate further.

As he was speaking a number of thoughts went through my head:

  • The brand isn’t dated.
  • We have changed a lot over the last few years.
  • We don’t have time to do something like this.
  • We can manage as we are for now. Let’s focus on leads.
  • Is the brand dated?
  • This is the sort of project agencies spend months and months on, with very little results.
  • Hmm, the brand is dated, isn’t it?
  • We don’t have time.
  • Do we have time?
  • Ahh... we should really consider this, shouldn’t we?
  • I designed that logo! It’s my baby.

The thoughts above flashed by in about 20 seconds. By the time Barnaby finished his pitch I knew he was right. Then he surprised me and showed me a concept one of our Senior Designers had created. It wasn’t perfect. But it was great. It was awesome. It was exciting. It sealed the deal as far as I was concerned.

I did ‘design’ most of the current brand. I definitely designed the logo (and to answer the above question, I have no idea why the kerning is like that!). The air quotes around the word ‘design’ there are very deliberate. Like most people who found a company, a lot of the stuff we did in the early days was quick and dirty. To get going, to build momentum. When you build a business, an awful lot of the work is almost willing things into life so you can progress and improve (more crudely: "fake it till you make it"). That is basically where our current brand came from.

So I agree, the brand is dated. And I have absolutely no problem with people, experts in their field, looking at what I did eight years ago and ripping it up. One of the things I love about the growth of Fifty Five and Five is hiring a whole range of subject matter experts and seeing them do their thing. As Barnaby says above - "for the first time in the company’s history we are going to do it properly, from the ground up". That’s fantastic, that’s what we do for our clients, so why not for us?

This blog is the first real piece of content we have put out there discussing the project. We will be doing a lot more, and being open on the process and our progress.

I want to finish on this point. Fifty Five and Five has been through a lot in the last few years. Just before COVID hit we knew we needed to evolve the type of clients we worked with. We knew we wanted to expand and enhance the services we offered. We started as a content agency and quickly came to offer a whole bunch of complimentary services. But like any company, we needed to tweak and improve what we did to ensure we were offering the right value. We also wanted to push our ambitions, and work on different projects with more varied briefs.

Then COVID hit and everything got turned upside down. A huge positive from this period was it made us look really hard at the company and question everything. We looked even harder at the work we did, and who we did it for. But we also looked at how and why we did it. We came out of this period so much stronger than we were going into it.

We have just finished our financial year (March 21), and it was our best ever. Which is awesome. But the next 12 months are going to be even more transformational. More growth, exciting plans for the business and new clients. And our re-brand is not only going to be front and centre this year, but it’s going to drive a lot of our growth. I can’t wait for you all to see it.


Meet our new Research Intern, Nikky Soni

Hi, I’m Nikky Soni – Fifty Five and Five's newest employee. I’m a third-year student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, studying abroad in London this semester through the Shuford Program in Entrepreneurship. I'm part of a cohort of 30 students who are living, studying, and working abroad for the semester. From the Lone Design Club to the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, students in the program are interning for innovative organizations across many different sectors. And here I am with the awesome people at Fifty Five and Five as a Research Intern. A real treat, if I may say!

 

What is the role of a Research Intern at Fifty Five and Five?

I will be utilising my experience in research and consulting to help Fifty Five and Five's clients realize their ambitions while learning about technology and marketing. It’s a great opportunity for me to learn about innovation and entrepreneurship in technology through the various types of research I’ve already started with. I’ve been learning from all the various teams and client projects, and I'm picking up the ins and outs of the cloud, edge computing, Microsoft, and 5G—all of which were brand new to me when I started the job.

 

My university studies

At UNC, I study neuroscience, public policy, and entrepreneurship, working both the left and right sides of my brain to balance thinking creatively and analytically. At Fifty Five and Five, I’m able to further think creatively from a marketing perspective, as well as analytically about new and disruptive technology. Outside of my studies, I’m a member of the Delta Sigma Pi business fraternity, co-director of firm relations for the UNC Undergraduate Consulting Club, and Carolina Kickoff Camp Counselor. I have also been dancing Bhangra for 13 years and compete across the States as part of UNC Bhangra Elite. So yeah, I'm pretty busy, but I wouldn't have it any other way!

 

In my free time

I love pushing myself. Don't ask why, but I love being out of my comfort zone and gaining new life experiences. Last summer, I worked as a teaching fellow for Breakthrough Silicon Valley, teaching science and origami, and mentoring middle school students in San Jose, California.

This semester, alongside Fifty Five and Five, I'm taking classes in entrepreneurship and art, visiting companies, museums, and galleries around London to learn hands-on. Here's a fun fact actually – while in-class at the National Gallery, I ran into Prince Charles!

I also love hiking and photography, which I hope to do as I travel outside of the UK in the upcoming months. During my first month here, my favourite experience has been hiking up the White Cliffs of Dover, and I hope to hike in the Swiss Alps next!

 

What about the future?

So far, I’ve loved meeting everyone at the office and getting recommendations for places to visit, food to eat, and things to do during my time in London.

After my time at Fifty Five and Five, I’ll be backpacking around Europe for 10 days, then taking a cross-country trip starting back home in Ohio. I will also move to New York City this summer to work for Ernst & Young as a business transformation consulting intern, putting my experience with technology and marketing at Fifty Five and Five to good use!


Our 2021 in review

Much like 2020, 2021 was quite a year for all kinds of reasons. So what do we do about it? We create an infographic to put our 2021 in review, of course! Check out what Fifty Five and Five got up to amidst some of the most significant cultural events of the year.

 

 

Did we beat 2020? Maybe. Who really knows.


Blog image - Our 2020 in review

Our 2020 in review

2020 was quite a year for all kinds of reasons, but we wanted to take a light-hearted look at some of the things we got up to. So, take a look at our 2020 in review and read about the clients we worked with, the work we did, and the music we listened to.

Year review infographic 2020


Report cover Digital top 50

Our all new Digital Top 50 Report

We’ve received many enquiries about our Top 50 Report in the last 12 months. Of course, COVID-19 and a virtual Microsoft Inspire have impacted us all somewhat, but we took the circumstances as an opportunity to fast-forward our plans for an all new Digital Top 50. You can find it at https://top50.live or read on to find out more.

Top 50 goes digital 

So, we’re excited to announce that we will soon be launching the 2020/2021 Microsoft Partner Top 50 – in a brand-new digital form. For the first time, you can: Browse and navigate the Top 50 online, benchmark yourself against competitors, gain even more insights into your digital marketing efforts.

“We’ve always prided ourselves on the quality of the data and the rigour of our analysis. Now we’re giving everyone the ability to run their company through our analytics tool and not only find out their scores but also benchmark themselves against their competitors. In real time. For free!” 

 Chris Wright, Founder

Access real data in real time 

And that’s not all. The new Top 50 website will be running in real time, meaning data will be updated on a regular basis. We're also taking this chance to hone our scoring system even further this year. The brain behind our data is smarter, as our analytics engine has been updated to better understand what makes great content – and thus great content marketing. 

"The excitement and build up to the final reveal at Inspire grew year on year - Partners eagerly visiting our stand or visiting our website to get their hands on a copy of the Report and find out their position. Now you won't have to wait. Not only can you find out your score but you'll see how that compares to your peers and competitors."

Barnaby Ellis, Head of Creative

Stay competitive and ahead of the curve 

In our current climate, it’s more important than ever before to strategically plan your marketing output. To do this, you need a clear overview of your own strengths and weaknesses – alongside those of competitors in your field. By benchmarking yourself against competitors and accessing our data-driven insights, you’ll be able to track your marketing progress and ultimately improve it. We can help you to stay ahead of the curve and realise your full potential.


Illustration woman at computer sound

Onboarding: Lockdown style

Hi, I’m Roxy - Fifty Five and Five’s newest employee. Except, there’s a bit of a twist – I haven’t met any of my co-workers yet. Let me share my experience of onboarding during lockdown.

At the time of writing, I’m in my fifth week as a full-time employee at Fifty Five and Five. That means my first day occurred after the rest of the company had already packed up their monitors and laptops and set up at home.

If, like me, you were looking for a job around February, you probably experienced a fairly familiar recruitment journey, perhaps including a telephone interview, followed by a face to face meeting and so on. But as the recruitment procedure progressed, it became quickly clear that this wouldn’t be any normal recruitment process. From then on, the whole experience happened virtually.

Luckily, the experience was a success, and I managed to find myself a new role during the lockdown period. So, I thought I’d share my experience.

 

Virtual job interviews: A learning curve

Virtual interviews have been around for a number of years and shouldn’t really be that different from a face to face interview. In fact, I discovered that the more I treated it like a face to face interview, the better I’d be able to manage the situation. That meant preparing and doing my research in exactly the same way as normal, and thinking about the environment around me:

Where should I do the interview?

Am I comfortable in that environment?

What should I wear?

These are fairly simple questions that any one of would ask in this situation. But my main goal was really to make the experience as close to the real thing as possible – nerves included. So, I went about this process as I normally would, choosing the appropriate clothes and planning my questions and answers in advance. On top of that, I thought it wise to make sure I had a stable internet connection and a plan B in case anything went wrong on the spot.

 

It’s all about saying yes

On a normal day, the onboarding process starts as soon as you say yes to a job offer. Of course, I was delighted to get mine – but lockdown had certainly made the situation a touch more difficult than I expected when I first applied. I was a bit worried about starting a new job remotely, about having to get to know people remotely, making a good first impression and learning the ropes entirely from behind a screen in my own home.

So, how do you make such an important decision, involving people you haven’t met and will continue to not meet for some time? It was a tricky question, but in the end I realised that my new employers had probably had the same thought when they considered whether to take a chance and offer me a job. In the end, all it takes in these situations is for somebody to say “yes, we can make this work” and approach it with a positive attitude. So, after a little thought, I decided that I’d do just that – and, so far at least, have had no regrets.

 

Onboarding in lockdown 101

Once I’d accepted the job offer, it was time to prepare for my first day in the virtual office. I went through this process as if it were a regular first day. This included makeup, shirt and smart trousers – and even the right shoes. A lot of it wasn’t so much about impressing people via Microsoft Teams as it was about feeling like I was in the right headspace for starting a new job. I urge any of you starting a new job to do something symbolic to mark the start of a new role, whether that’s sipping coffee in your new mug, putting on a tie or even just re-arranging your desk. Sometimes the feeling of ‘new’ can really help.

From then I started my first Teams call and was officially an employee. Here’s a few things I learned in my first week as a Fifty Five and Five employee.

 

1. Introduce your e-self

As with all first days, we started with my colleagues introducing themselves and talking about their roles. I found it tempting to try and get every detail down – but it’s also important to take the opportunity to introduce yourself. In my case, I’d had three introductory calls before everyone knew who I was and where I come from. I then took a couple of minutes to also speak about my previous experience and what I wanted to bring to the team.

 

2. I hope you like Microsoft Teams

Meeting everyone in lockdown felt different, but I remained optimistic and positive. I wanted to learn as much as possible about my colleagues, so when we’re back in the office we can shake off the awkwardness of seeing each other for the first time in the flesh. Perhaps I’ll do a follow up post on how that goes down…

To my surprise, Microsoft Teams became a trustworthy friend in this experience. From the great quality of the calls, and being able to leave reactions to messages, Teams is really the glue that’s keeping the team connected right now.

But as well as that, from the comfort of my own home, I got a glimpse into who my colleagues were as people; sneak peaks into their hobbies, personalities and families. That made getting to know everyone a strangely unique experience - not being allowed to meet them in person, but also seeing more of their personal lives than you normally would during months of sharing an office. It bought us closer, which was an experience I wouldn’t have had outside lockdown.

 

3. Onboarding: Step by step

As a person who’s had a few onboarding processes, I must admit that my recent experience has so far been the best yet.

Allow me to explain.

Before the lockdown began, you’d start a new job with someone from HR walking you through the office, introducing you to colleagues, only to forget their names as soon as you reach your designated desk. Then you’d be added to countless meetings and by the end of the day, you’d be riding the tube with a double shot espresso at 7 pm hoping you’d get enough energy to make it to your bed. It’s a draining process.

My experience in lockdown was far better. My team lead organised an agenda stretched out over my first week and I got facetime with absolutely everyone in the company. I even got my own buddy (Hi Paulina!) - a colleague outside of my team that could talk to me about the company, culture and answer any silly question I had, of which there were plenty.

One thing I was really grateful for was that all the information I needed to start my job was stored in the cloud and was easily accessible from my kitchen. Apps like Notion, Dropbox and Asana were invaluable in helping me find processes, documents and keeping me organised.

 

Onboarding: Physical vs. virtual

Nothing beats meeting your colleagues in person and working your way into the team. But I’ve certainly learned that virtual onboarding has its benefits.

First of all, and perhaps most importantly, you get to turn your webcam off if you’re having a bad hair day. But as well as that, the lack of a commute is helpful, allowing me two more hours each day than I’m used to (I live in London after all). That meant I had a little bit more time to let information sink in and work out the ropes at my own pace. This gave me the breathing room I needed to develop a better sense of the internal processes and understand the bigger picture of how my work impacted everyone else’s. That meant that a process which would normally take a few months took a just a few weeks.

So, if you’re reading this and wondering whether it’s the right time to hire a new employee, or start a new job – take a little bit of advice from me. Almost anything is possible as long as you say yes. If you think the role and the company are the right fit, then go for it. It’s a new feeling for everybody involved but with a little positivity (and a lot of patience) absolutely anybody can do it.


Meet the team: Alex, writer

Today, we’ll have a chat with Alex Carnegie, a writer in our content team. Alex will tell us a bit about his working life and the insights he brings to our client base here at Fifty Five and Five.  

Hi Alex! Tell us a little about yourself. 

I’m Alex Carnegie, a writer at Fifty Five and FiveI come up with ideas and write copy for our clients’ content and campaigns. That can include website copy, articles, eBooks and whitepapers, as well as ad copy, social media and really anything else that pops up 

Who do you report to? 

I report to our Head of Content Stephen Reilly, who oversees anything we do with words in itOf all my colleagues, I’d say I work most closely with other writers, but my job takes me all around the agency. Most days I’m collaborating with designers, SEO specialists and the accounts team.  

Describe a typical working day 

It all starts with a coffee and checking my to do list. The longer the list, the stronger the coffee, generally. The main chunk of most of my day is sat at a computer, creating content and working on campaign concepts. This ranges across many different clients, which is great because it provides a lot of variety. Alongside that, I’ll also edit and proof-read other writers’ work, using the full Microsoft Word comment functionality. Some would perhaps say too much use… 

Sometimes, an entire day of time can be reserved to one client, for instance working on a big website project. For work like this, simply getting a hold on all the moving parts is a task in itself, there’s a lot of collaboration with our web design and development team. We spend a lot of time keeping complex projects like this moving, avoiding bottlenecks in communication or one person waiting for something from someone else before they can get their work done. I’ve no idea how project managers are able to keep all these plates spinning at once.  

What skills do you think are needed to be good in your role as a writer? 

The obvious one here is attention to detail in writing and a good grasp of the nuts and bolts of language. Spelling, grammar and generally knowing how to construct an effective sentence. But really, that’s the bare minimum. To write copy that’s engaging, persuasive and achieves what it sets out to, you have to really enjoy writing – even if the subject matter is challenging. This comes across in the final piece and helps you to find creative ways to say things, creative concepts, and make the work stand out. It’s more of a mindset than a skillset.  

In terms of writing skills, you need to be able to express your message, without leaving anything out, and still make an impact – often within a fairly tight structure. Writing banner ads and social copy is good training for this; it teaches you to write good copy and clear meaning within rigid character limits. Website copy is similar – another format that has to be very immediate punchy and attention grabbing.  

What do you love about your job?

Writing, as obvious as that sounds. There’s a sheer joy in finding the best way to say something, which gets the message across and does so smoothly, vividly, sometimes funnily, sometimes seriously and hopefully enjoyably. There are few things more satisfying than hitting the ‘Enter’ key after you’ve just written something really good. That’s why I couldn’t imagine doing anything else for a living.  

What’s the hardest part? 

Writing. When the right word or phrase has eluded you for an hour and is still nowhere to be found… it can be tough. A lot of writing is just staring at a blank page, and the gears are turning but no words are appearing. And then suddenly everything will come together at once and you’re left thinking ‘wow, it really took me half an hour to write that paragraph?’ But, as they say, the only way out is through – so you just have to keep trying ‘till you get there. 

What advice would you give to anyone starting out as a writer?

Make your peace with criticism; you’re going to get a lot of it as a writer. Some will be constructive, some less so, some will be more pointed than it needs to be, some will be genuinely frustrating and some of it will be just plain wrong. Many new writers get into a trap of seeing criticism as something they have to defend against, getting stuck in an endless cycle of taking criticism to heart and arguing with it. It’s much easier for everyone if you get used to the fact that you’ll get a lot of criticism – and try and take it in a constructive spirit.  

A comment or question might seem quite cutting in the black and white comment box – but at the end of the day we’re all trying to do good work. Don’t lose sight of that.  


The Fifty Five and Five guide to remote working

Not too long ago, we published a blog about how we go about overcoming the challenges of remote working as a company. As a cloud native business, and having had several remote employees, we considered ourselves something of an authority on the subject. But today, the circumstances when that blog was written feel like another world entirely. Little did we know exactly how important those skills would turn out to be.

As I write this blog, we now reach the end of the fourth week in which the whole company, and much of the world, has been confined to bedrooms, lounges and makeshift offices. And it doesn’t look likely to change any time soon. We’ve discovered that running an entire company remotely for a sustained period is a slightly different kettle of fish. Here are some of the key things we’ve noticed and how we’re dealing with them.

Processes and structures

In our previous blog, we spoke about some of the ways we ensure smooth remote working in our company. Much of it centres around technology. We’re cloud native; we’ve been on Office 365 as long as we’ve existed, and Microsoft Teams is integral to how we work. All our files are saved into the cloud automatically, available from anywhere, and having remote employees really got us into the habit of sharing and recording information as standard.

In terms of the practical mechanics of working remotely, our processes are virtually unchanged. Meetings run smoothly since we’ve all had years of practice communicating with global clients and employees via Teams. We simply picked up our monitors and laptops one Monday afternoon, and logged on via Teams for our daily morning catch up the next day.

Perhaps the best visual description of this in action is this graph that shows how the volume of private messaging via Teams changes over time across the company. The eagle-eyed among you will see that the change in the last two weeks has been virtually non-existent. For most of us, the only technological difficulty has been battling with our partners, relatives and housemates for internet bandwidth.

remote working

The challenge of remote working

But a company isn’t just about processes, documents and meetings. One of the trickiest things to replace are those small visual cues you get from being in the office together. When you’re all in the same room, it’s easy to see if someone is on their lunch break, has signed off for the day, is in a meeting, or is simply trying to get some focused work done in one of the quieter corners of the office. These are a lot harder to replicate remotely, because they’re too subtle to have technology and processes built around them.

Personally, I’m finding that using statuses and ‘do not disturb’ buttons on Teams are helping me go for a lunch break or daily run without worrying about missing an urgent message. At times like this, communication is key.

Staying in the rhythm

The disruption to the company in terms of meetings, structures and processes has been probably more minimal than any of us would have anticipated. With a positive attitude, and taking that extra step to update and communicate, remote working is surprisingly sustainable for us. But on an individual level, and I’m sure many people around the world are discovering this, the shift is pretty big. We’re all accustomed to our working days being governed by certain structures and routines: getting up at a certain time, getting dressed and commuting. Without thus structure, it’s easy to fall into bad habits.

To stay productive and sane during this period, it’s important to work that extra bit harder to maintain your rhythm. That means getting up at a regular time, getting dressed, putting your makeup on and generally maintaining your morning routine even if there’s no direct need to. For us, having our daily morning catch up is really great for this, because it gives us that structure each day; a deadline by which we should be up, fed, showered and camera ready.

A space of one’s own

One of the great benefits of having an office is it creates a workspace; a place where we can go to feel productive, surrounded by the people and things you associate with doing work. Maintaining that rhythm in a place where you’re used to lying about, drinking wine and binge-watching Netflix is more of a challenge. But it’s really important to go to that extra effort to recreate that work environment that’s separate from the rest of your living space.

For me, that means working from the kitchen rather than the lounge and working with the same two-screen setup I’m used to in the office. It also helps that I sit at the same desk where most of my university studying was done–heroically still standing after some four house moves. If you’re looking for some inspiration here, the message is search around your flat for a place you can build positive, productive associations.

Hint: It’s probably not your bed or your sofa.

Keeping the culture alive

Of course, there’s more to a company than simply the work we produce but the way we do it. Our culture at Fifty Five and Five has always been very strong. But it’s difficult to quantify our culture in terms of meetings, technologies and processes – which means there’s a real risk of us losing that magic sauce that makes us so unique. The Fifty Five and Five culture is as much about 11 am coffee chats, long running jokes and the atmosphere you get in a company meeting as it is about blogs and social media.

So, working remotely, we’ve taken a few extra steps to make sure we catch up as a company in these trying times. We’ve implemented a weekly social hour via Microsoft Teams and a Friday quiz, so we can drop in, have a laugh and exchange stories of how our respective partners and relatives are driving us stir crazy. The moral of the story, if there is one, is that the whole company working remotely is hardly an ideal situation. But we’re doing a pretty good job of making the best of it. Perhaps better even than some of us might have anticipated. We’ll even be welcoming a new employee from the hospitality of Microsoft Teams in just a few short weeks and have another who enjoyed precisely one day in the office before we went remote.

That being said, we’re all looking forward to going back to moaning about our commutes over morning coffee as soon as we possibly can.

The Fifty Five and Five offices might be closed, but the company is as open as it ever has been. And if you want to talk about your marketing, we’d be delighted to hear from you. Get in touch with our team today to find out more.


international content marketing association winner

Fifty Five and Five take home Silver at the International Content Marketing Association (CMA) Awards

The International Content Marketing Association Awards are a pretty big deal in the content marketing calendar. Agencies across the world submit their best work from the past year to be judged by some of the top names in the industry.  The event provides a brilliant showcase of expertise, talent and insight for brand marketers, and this year we’re delighted to have won an award for our Microsoft Partner Benchmarking Tool.

With entries from 23 countries and almost 150 individual agencies, we couldn’t be prouder to have won the Silver award for Best Use of Data and Insight. A lot of hard work went into creating our Partner Benchmarking Tool, and to have it recognised at such prestigious awards is a real honour.

For those of you who are unfamiliar, the Partner Benchmarking Tool was built to provide real-time insights for Microsoft partners, so that they could quickly identify which aspects of their content marketing strategies needed improvement. By simply entering a URL, users can put their website, blog and social through 40 tests that quantify performance and provide results in seconds.

The data pulled in this process allows users to diagnose the health of a whole range of inbound marketing factors. And, as the results are presented in a simple score format, it’s easy to see where improvement is needed.

partner benchmarking tool scores

Following their results, users are given access to a range of informative, how-to videos and tutorials full of actionable advice for getting better scores in the future. Relevant content is tailored to each user, based on the strengths and weaknesses gleaned from the analysis.

Microsoft has made the Partner Benchmarking Tool accessible to all 500,000 partners via the Smart Partner Marketing Portal. As such, marketing teams around the world are being inspired and empowered to achieve more with their content marketing efforts.

Interested in learning more about what our marketing tool can do for your business? This post provides a round up.

Whilst we believe in celebrating our successes here at Fifty Five and Five (and we’ll certainly be raising a toast later today) we don’t plan on stopping here. We’re constantly working to refine our services so that we can provide more value for our fab clients.

There are some exciting projects in the pipeline, including work on a brand new concept for an Insights Report (more on that later…). Alongside Insights, we’re also investing more time into social selling and content marketing research, so that we can keep delivering top quality advice and strategies that help our clients thrive.

Check out our fool-proof guide to content marketing, designed to help B2B marketers put together a killer content strategy.

We’d like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to the International Content Marketing Association Awards for their recognition. It’s such an awesome time to be a player in the digital marketing landscape, and we can’t wait to share more great tools, content and insights with you.

For now, feel free to check out our library of existing marketing content here.