Each month we showcase some of the fantastic stories our community of business owners and professionals have to share.
This month Tim Chorlton, the Director of Leeds based branding and marketing agency The Factory, speaks to Virtalent about the business, what made him work in the industry and the challenges he faces as a small business.
Hi Tim, could you please introduce yourself and tell us a little about what you do?
My name is Tim Chorlton, I am the Director of The Factory. The Factory is a Branding and Marketing agency based in Leeds.
We help our clients create and build their brands to support their corporate objectives and then deliver their marketing activities across digital and traditional channels.
Good brands need three component parts to be successful, they need to be relevant to the audience they are targeting, credible and distinctive.
We help our clients get this right by using a model called The Customer Journey where we look at how customers make the decision to buy and highlight opportunities for the brand to be communicated with the ultimate goal of increasing awareness and ultimately sales.
As a company, we are very focused on the science about what makes a person choose one product or service and not another, there have been some major breakthroughs in the understanding of this in recent years and it makes it a particularly fascinating time to be working in our industry.
Thanks, Tim. Having worked in agencies myself I know how busy these places can get, so, what does a typical day look like for you?
As a small company we all wear several hats, this means our clients have access to a great deal of knowledge from a small team, but it makes our days very busy.
Mornings are usually spent catching up on projects and communicating with clients. Afternoons are spent doing the actual work. This will range from strategic work and planning; to initial creative or client workshops.
Throughout the day, I am also creating briefs and feed them into our studio team or external suppliers.
It sounds like you have extremely packed and varied days, you must really love what you do. Why exactly did you choose to work in your industry?
It’s challenging and rewarding in equal amounts. I’ve always been creative but also analytical (which is an odd mix). Marketing, especially in recent years, gives me the opportunity to do both in equal amounts.
“The onboarding process was exceptional at Virtalent and we have been delighted with the results to date.”
Oh yeah, that mix sounds ideal with the huge shift recently to data-driven marketing. As with any company, there will be tough times. What has been your biggest challenge since starting your company?
Time. Or lack of. We set out to be a small, full-service agency. I had worked in large companies and nobody in the company had a full understanding of the project they were working on, so I could never understand how we were offering the best solution to the clients.
When we set up The Factory, we brought a vast wealth of experience with us and having a small team meant clients got 100% of our experience, we weren’t just rolled out for the early meetings.
The plus of this is we get great results for our customers, the minus is we work VERY hard to deliver projects so we have to get creative about how we manage our time or projects.
The dastardly challenge of time, it can be a tough nut to crack. So what does the future look like? What is your vision or long-term aim for the business?
To run a small, but scaleable business. We find outsourcing to be a great solution, we can scale up and down on human resources without the stress of the overheads and office space required for a large team. The savings are passed onto our clients.
Technology is making the need for a large team to be less and less of a requirement and it means we can continue to enjoy working on clients’ projects rather than just being a ‘name above the door’ who is actually tied up in admin and finances.
That’s great to hear, outsourcing is what we are here for. How did you hear about Virtalent in the first place?
Google search. We have used Moneypenny for years to handle our phones, as we got busier, admin tasks were building up so we thought we would see what was out there as a service. The onboarding process was exceptional at Virtalent and we have been delighted with the results to date. It’s also meant we have had to look at some of our internal processes as well to incorporate an external assistant, but that is no bad thing at all.
Ah, Google is good like that. It’s great to hear that we are making a difference. So, after finding Virtalent what tasks and projects have we been supporting you with? How has this support changed the way you work?
Admin has been the main task (getting things into Sage so our accountant can do his thing), some assistance with research and content collation for digital projects and we are currently looking at a top-level project management process to free up even more internal time for the team and keep clients better informed of progress.