Judith O'Leary

Why values are the backbone of my business

Throughout my thirty-year career in PR and communications, I’ve had to navigate countless challenges and take decisions in an array of situations.

The current recession is unfortunately not my first. In my professional life I have worked through the stresses of the economic crash of 2008, the foot and mouth in the years prior, and more recently the Covid-19 pandemic which has been a real leveller for many.

With crisis comms in the job description, when it all kicks off for a client, I am the first responder called to mastermind the next steps.

My guiding compass…

Irrespective of whether an issue has related to my own business or the interests of a client, my response and actions will reflect my own strong set of values. No matter what life and work have thrown up over the years, my core values have proved invaluable for guiding me on what happens next.

Ted Talk speaker, Jen Stassen describes values so well in his Why Values Matter talk, calling them – ‘situation independent decision helpers.’ When faced with a challenge or an opportunity, I turn to mine for guidance. This is hugely important when I feel too close to the problem or issue. When I risk losing my way, they pull me back.

Represent united

These leading values are reflected in Represent’s and the team we have built up. A few years ago, we sat down and discussed what our different values meant to us and why. We talked about how we would meet the highest values in our professional lives and came up with a set of guiding principles to underpin how we work. We reviewed these following Covid and published them as a statement.  

Represent’s values; collaboration, integrity, trust, growth, quality, and creativity reflect who we are as people, and inform our approach. They are the threads that unify and distinguish our work and solidify our small team. 

Our top value collaboration is also the number one value in UK business today (Oxford Character research, 2022). The Represent team works best when we unite. Small and senior and crucially, not top-heavy, we have a solid team of experts working side-by-side across accounts driving results. This purposeful and supportive collaboration has been fundamental to high-performance and effective working relationships with clients. We are as an extension of our clients’ teams and strive to always work in partnership for and with them. And always with integrity (our second listed value)!

Living our values

We know that the way we work matters to clients, it is the most frequently asked question we get from prospective new clients, and it is what our customers appreciate.  We are evaluated as much on what we do as on how we do it and that’s why we live and breathe our values and put them into practice every day.

From talent attraction to winning new business, we seek to work with people whose values chime with ours. Trust is hugely important for establishing an effective working relationship and within our close-knit team, we depend on one another to get the job done, and well.

When recruiting, we look for both competencies and values alignment. When taking on new clients, we need to be able to trust that they will cooperate with the team as we work towards shared goals.

Do not concede

Over the years I have also experienced the pitfalls of compromising on your values. In business, that can look like making a hire you weren’t sure about or signing a contract with a company that was not the right fit. Conceding on your values rarely works out – relationships will weaken and results will never be the best you can achieve.

I know our principles have been fundamental to our company’s growth and success. We have built up a fantastic team, won and kept many incredible clients, delivered award-winning campaigns, and achieved outstanding results for businesses up and down the country.

My experience is backed by PwC research revealing that companies with distinctive and aligned values are twice as likely to show higher profitability and growth, and improved performance. If this doesn’t make the case for painting your values on your office walls, I don’t know what does.

Looking for a values-driven, award-winning digital marketing and PR agency, look no further than Represent. Get in touch with us here.

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