Bloody Nora this is a big day!
Talk about excitement and adrenalin; cuddles and cheers; past fond memories; and future dreams. A veritable cornucopia of emotions and just #sayin’ totes appropriate given that, in just over a week’s time, we move into the Year of the Monkey.
13 years ago on 27th May, the day after selling Le Fevre Communications, I opened up shop in the attic of my house in Oxfordshire. Just little old me; a phone; a laptop; two very excitable King Charles spaniels; and the apple of my eye: my 18 month year old first-born, Tallulah.
I chose to call my new company 3 Monkeys Communications in honour of my Nanna, Grandad, and Great Auntie Edie whose prefabricated home I used to visit each and every Sunday for tea – always tinned ham and salad from my Grandad’s allotment. They were all so special to me. And had a brass 3 wise monkeys ornament sitting above their coal fireplace.
I didn’t label 3MC as a PR consultancy; I knew most people didn’t understand or appreciate what PR and its role in the overall marketing and business mix was. Many had a reductive view and thought PR was short-hand for media relations or press release. I also knew back then that the landscape was changing and that integrated, brand-centric, authentic communications was the future. And that the EQ of story-telling mattered as much, if not more, than the IQ. That the “see no, hear no, speak no evil” is kind of what we do: light good fires and put bad ones out. Finally, I wanted to develop a brand that would be memorable, have personality and quick recall.
In Buddhist philosophy, as our MD Christine Jewell later discovered and told me, the three wise monkeys also symbolise the state when human beings operate in their highest state. When thought, word and action are totally aligned. Like the Dalai Lama. But of course most people, brands and businesses never achieve that. The role of great comms , in our view, is to establish just how disintegrated these perspectives are; and then to apply the appropriate therapy to integrate them in order that a company and brand’s vision and mission statements can be honoured and achieved.
The last 12 years have been some of the happiest, fun and most exciting of my life. I was blessed from day one to find amazing clients, and quickly after, colleagues - esp. Christine Jewell, the MD, Diamond Monkey and my utter rock - who joined over 10 years ago. Indeed - there are a whole host of gorgeous peeps in 3 Monkeys – including the board - who have been shimmying in the Jungle in Soho now together now for over 7 years smashing the ball out of the park. Day in, day out. And I was blessed with two more little monkeys – my second daughter Delilah, and son Jude.
Us Monkeys achieved what we set out to do: the best work, with the best people, for the best brands possible. Work smart, disrupt, win awards, play hard and have fun, fun, fun. And boy how we’ve laughed and cried through the good, the bad and the occasional ugly scenarios our profession manages.
Today marks such an exciting chapter in 3 Monkeys Communications’ history. I always said that we would never be up for sale. And we weren’t. Our ambition - like Zeno’s - was to continually to shake the tree. To love and care for our colleagues and clients and keep our restless desire to always do even better alive. To always honour our Monkey brand values: passion, tenacity, nous, straight-talking and oomph. And try to take the Monkey Magic globally. Especially as clients kept on asking us to. So, a couple of years ago, we started looking to acquire. We got close to one deal, but then our gut told us it wasn’t the right time. So we refocused our energies on building out our UK operation and grew by another 12% in the following twelve months.
But then, almost a year ago, a young gent called Steve Earl popped in for a coffee and started to tickle me and the Board. And then Christine and I met Barby. It was love at first sight. And then we met the Global Leadership team in NYC. And were blown away. And then met the totes divine legend that is Richard Edelman.
And then we heard Zeno’s mantra “Fearless Pursuit of the Unexpected” – strikingly similar to our philosophy. And then we talked about our beliefs and values and how our culture was at the heart of everything we most prized in our businesses. That culture was, in fact, our strategy.
And realised that we were already joined at the hip by what we’re now calling the 3 F’s: fearless, family and fun. And then we saw some of Zeno’s work. And loved it as much as we love ours. And then even started dating - pitching and winning business together.
After months of hot dates it was crystal clear: this striking Greek God and three hairy monkeys were the perfect match.
We got married on Monday 25th of January.
3 Monkeys | Zeno is one of the largest independent communications companies in the UK. Our clients can now enjoy the Monkey Magic on a global scale - with the added schamazey Zenoid talent pool from across the globe. And all the fabulous assets we now share which are all truly bleeding edge.
I know in my heart of hearts that with the continued support for - and faith in - us from our brilliant clients and team, that we’re going to be truly unstoppable. We’re going to work smart, play hard and together achieve our professional and personal ambitions.
But most of all, we’re going to be a happy family that is going to have a hell of a lot of fun.
Thank you to all the people who’ve been at the disco helping the romance bloom and grow. Big shout outs from my end to Christine, Greg and Bill Jones. Thanks to all the Monkeys and Zenoids for being brilliantly themselves and for their support and love. And of course, a huge thank you to all our clients. We believe in each and every one of you as you know you believe in us.
Welcome to 3 Monkeys | Zeno to the world. We’ll love and treasure this bright new bundle of joy to the very best of our ability.
Bring. It. On.
Chief Monkey, Zeno Europe