If there was a single, unifying factor to a calendar of events that shook up the accepted order of things it was, ‘Expect the Unexpected.’
The UK voting to quit the EU, America electing Donald Trump as President and Leicester City winning the Premier League. Each and every one against the prevailing odds, confounding the experts, defying the pollsters.
To the pessimists, it meant that ‘nothing will ever be the same again.’ To the optimists it meant, ‘nothing will ever be the same again.’
Diametrically opposing views of the same situation!
So what does the future hold?
The same experts who so confidently, but mistakenly, predicted the outcomes of those events above – and many others – are now in full flow forecasting what is to come. The reality is that no-one really knows what 2017 holds other than ‘uncertainty.’ At times like this, you just have hold your nerve and focus on the things you can affect rather than over-worrying about the things you can’t.
Here at Acceleris it’s also been quite a year. Like many other businesses, we experienced the pre and post EU Referendum doldrums as clients struggled to understand the implications for them and either cancelled or delayed projects. But with the dawning realisation that, apart from in the financial markets where the pound took a battering, in the ‘real-world’ of day-to-day business, not a lot had changed since the vote, and may not until the result of the Article 50 negotiations are known. The final months of 2016 proved to be exceptionally busy with new clients and new projects on existing accounts.
The year also marked 10 years since the agency was founded with a vision to deliver outstanding service and innovative PR and Communications solutions to clients throughout the UK and in Europe. Whilst we always strive to live up to our vision – for instance delivering our first VR project for a major client this month – it’s especially rewarding when those qualities are recognised by our peers.
And in 2016 we continued to add to our trophy cabinet and awards wall.
For the second year in succession, we were named ‘Agency of the Year’ at the UK Public Sector Communications Awards at a ceremony at The Emirates Stadium in London in July and this month in Berlin, we won the ‘Issues and Reputation Management’ trophy at the prestigious European Communications Excellence Awards, beating off challenges from the likes of IBM and Lidl. It’s a remarkable third time in four years we have collected this award – in Munich in 2013 and Stockholm in 2015 when we beat Unilever, BASF and BP to the accolade. We also won two Golds in the regional CIPR (Chartered Institute of Public Relations) PRide Awards.
I believe these awards are testimony to the intelligent, insightful and innovative way in which we approach our work. We can certainly do ‘fun’ but we also excel at the ‘serious.’
The turn of the year also marks a time of personal change.
For the last decade I have been privileged to lead Acceleris, latterly as CEO. From the New Year, I am changing my relationship with the agency of which I am so proud, to facilitate a more flexible way of working. I am stepping down as Chief Executive, leaving the running of the agency in the more than capable hands of my much admired colleague, Managing Director Louise Vaughan, to work as a strategic consultant across some key client accounts and to focus on business development, something I particularly enjoy.
I have no doubt that Acceleris will go on to build on its impressive achievements to date and I look forward to playing a somewhat different – but hopefully valuable – part in the next stage of its story.