The Specialist Works is an award-winning media agency with offices across the world. The company has just opened a brand new office in Temple Quay, so we spoke to Chief Commercial Officer Matthew Pover to get to know them a little better.
Business age: We turn 15 this year (nice excuse for another party).
Number of employees: We have 185 TSWers in 10 offices across 5 countries around the world.
Length of time in Temple Quarter: We’ve just landed and we love it. We can go from desk to platform at Temple Meads in 5 minutes, which is brilliant for travel between our various UK offices and for our team here. We’ve already noticed a marked difference in the quality of talent applying for roles with us because the travel radius to here is so much larger than our last rural location. We’re growing quickly so attracting the brightest minds is crucial for us.
Beyond the ease of travel, the team make full use of the cafes, bars, shops and other great stuff close by, as well as the ever-popular weekly food market that springs up across the footbridge from us each Thursday. Having the canal right outside and being close to similar businesses creates a great atmosphere … We’ve already begun exploring how we might collaborate with our neighbours and have committed to hosting a Behavioural Economics event for the IPA.
What does The Specialist Works do? We’re an independent media agency who grow brands wherever in the world they need to. We have offices around the world and work with companies like Alibaba, Tencent, AutoTrader, Rovio/Angry Birds, Dyson, Boohoo, eHarmony, Betfred, and Yopa, running integrated media campaigns across every inhabited continent. We’re also proud to count the remarkably progressive Ovo Energy – another Temple Quarter business – as a client of ours.
Can you share any quirky or interesting facts about the business? I have two for you.
- Our founder – Jim Lewcock – won salesperson of the year at IPC Media and his prize was a shiny new Peugeot 205. The car didn’t leave the forecourt: Jim sold it back to the garage, quit his job, rented a desk and computer (yes you could rent computers back then) from some friends on Brick Lane in London and launched the agency.
- Since we’re such a lovely bunch of coconuts, we love to bring purpose to our day jobs. So last year we gently encouraged our media owner friends to donate over £1m of media value to an initiative called Goodwill Rocks. 20 of the UK’s top 100 charities stepped up to receive around £50k of donated media value organised by those TSWers who felt most strongly about each cause. We like to bring folks together like this and may or may not be building on this with more very soon.
Tell us about some of the most memorable projects you’ve worked on. I’d say the refurbishment of our new office has been one of the most memorable recent projects. We crowd-sourced ideas from across the agency to assemble Pinterest boards and rewarded those whose ideas made the final cut with magnums of champagne on launch day. Seeing the space transformed thanks to the dedication of a small core team in a little over 2 months, and then again seeing the faces of our guys when they left our country barn for the final time and walked in here that first morning was priceless. It really feels as though we’re in a space reflective of our collective energy and ambition now … oh and there’s a killer coffee machine and bar in the kitchen which help fuel both!
Why did you decide to have Cai Burton design and create a mural in the new office? There was a shared determination to stamp our personality on the space and to reach into the community we were entering to do it. We all love Cai’s hand-drawn illustration style and he’s such a down-to-earth bloke who was open to interpreting our ideas too. The final design is an awesomely colourful mural representing the life-cycle of an ad campaign from idea to deployment with the various layers of strategy and execution gathering pace as it passes the desks of our teams who contribute to it.
How would you like to see the area develop in the future? More start-ups vs corporates, more creativity, invest in the arts and events, cultivate spaces for independent traders, makers and not for profits – and keep the high street brands away so that it becomes a destination with character rather than a facsimile. Bristol’s heritage is rooted in music and urban art – I’d love for Temple Quarter to be a celebration of that.
What are The Specialist Works’ plans for the future? Our mission is to create the world’s only borderless independent media agency for brands looking for growth. We want to work with more of the biggest digital global brands and continue to deliver eyebrow raising campaigns and outcomes for our client partners. It’s a big challenge to expand internationally and to keep the disruptively entrepreneurial attitude and the personal touch that brought us to here, but it’s one we’re enjoying.
Describe the business in 3 words. Growing brands everywhere.
Want to find out more about TSW? You can have a look at their website, follow them on Twitter or Instagram, like them on Facebook or take a look at their LinkedIn profile. You can contact Matthew directly on firstname.lastname@example.org, 01761 234 824 or 07734 982 478.