Emma Peterson, Director FinTech Awards Wales & Finance Awards Wales Meets:
Julie Firth and Sonya Whittam,
Continuing this new 11 part series of ‘Emma Meets', Emma Peterson, Director of Recruit 121 Finance & Accounting Solutions, finds out more about the sponsors of the up and coming Finance Awards Wales 2022.Finance Awards Wales is designed to recognise, attract and invest in the talented finance professionals working in Wales, showcasing the best of the best in the finance industry. In this final edition, Emma meets Julie Firth and Sonya Whittam, Directors at Story22.
Tell me about yourself and career to date?
I set up STORY22 with my business partner Sonya in 2020, after a long career in journalism and marketing. I guess I‘ve had a life-long passion for storytelling through writing and am fortunate to still be writing every day in my role. I specialise in business copywriting and marketing strategy and have a master’s degree in Strategic Marketing.
Sonya has a corporate background, working at Enterprise, Three and Optical Express where she worked as part of the senior leadership team at director level. She also owns a boutique marketing agency. Sonya loves anything techy – she is focused on digital marketing strategy and implementation, so together our skill sets complement each other quite well in terms on how we support our clients.
We both have two children and are lucky enough to be able to balance very demanding roles around family life. After family, comes fun. We love what we do – we work exceptionally hard, but make sure we have fun doing it too. We love to travel and have been lucky enough more recently to combine work with exploring the world!
Can you give me an overview of your company and what you do?
STORY22 is a full suite strategic marketing agency that helps businesses and non-profits achieve success with story-based marketing that focuses on the customer first. For too long businesses have put themselves at the centre of their marketing – but actually, people really aren’t interested in what brands have to say. As humans we’re pretty selfish and are only interested in what is relevant to our own survival and thriving. We help clients see there is another way to talk about their organisation, products and services without being too salesy. And it’s helping them win more business than ever before. It’s not some woo woo marketing fact – the approach is scientifically proven – information delivered in story form is 22 times more likely to be remembered than when delivered as facts alone (hence STORY22), but few understand how to use story effectively for business.
We make it simple for businesses to understand how to do that by using a powerful framework to clarify their message so people understand exactly what they do and why they should do business with them. It’s basically about delivering straight-forward honest marketing that strips out the confusion and engages clients faster.
What has been the biggest challenge the company has faced and how have you responded?
We registered our business just a fortnight before the UK went into lockdown. But rather than holding us back, the lockdown restrictions actually proved an advantage from a business perspective as it meant everyone pretty much globally switched to online working. So while a business in the US may previously have preferred to work with a marketing agency from their own side of the pond, suddenly all geographical limitations had become a moot point. The balance has now completely tipped, with many of our clients coming from outside the UK and more recently from the Far east, United States and across Europe.
Our biggest challenge has been keeping up with demand and scaling up as an agency while continuing to deliver a first class service. We are very fortunate to see no sign of demand abating at the moment and are continually looking for potential new talent as we grow our team.
How do you feel the Welsh economy will fare over the next 12 months?
It’s going to be a tough year for a lot of people and businesses. The whole world has been through a turbulent period and with costs on the rise it looks like there may be a lot of change in 2022. We have found business owners that get in touch with us are either looking to outsource some or all of their marketing requirements or are looking at new ways to connect with customers because their tried and tested methods are just not producing the same results. We think this will continue throughout the next 12 months as businesses look to become leaner in terms of costs and will have to get really clear on how their product or service is going to make their customers’ lives better.
What plans do you have for your business in 2022?
Our focus is on raising awareness of the importance of clear messaging in business. This is critical when it comes to complex topics in the finance and tech worlds. Businesses can so easily get a curse of knowledge where they are too close to what they do to understand the customer’s real perspective. It’s easy to fall into the trap of using insider language and jargon that we think will help, but actually just ends up confusing people.
We want to show businesses how to create a powerful message that people understand quickly, whether that applies to recruiting talent or selling products and services. We love speaking events and are always interested in hearing from businesses looking for something a bit different (and hopefully fun!) for their annual conferences and events. We’re also moving into the coaching arena too, with a range of marketing messaging workshops to help whole teams align around a clear brand message.
Why did you choose to sponsor the Finance Awards Wales 2022?
We’ve had the pleasure of working with numerous clients in the finance sector, both home and abroad over the past two years and feel the awards are a brilliant way to celebrate the awesome, often unrecognised talent in this sector. We are honoured to be sponsors.