Happy workiversary, John!

Three years ago today, Clearbox doubled in size when John Meg joined the agency. Three years on, our team is a little bit bigger, we have a few more clients than we did then and things have changed a bit. Here’s some of the things that John has learned since he joined Clearbox 1,095 days ago.


Joining a startup company is as exciting as it is daunting
Clearbox is the first startup company I’ve ever worked for. I’ve mainly worked at established organisations in the past so joining a business that was a few months old was a bit different. In the early days, we didn’t have many clients, any brand identity, no social footprint and zero brand awareness.


The thought of that might scare some people, but for me it was liberating. I loved the opportunity and freedom to help build something. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever been a part of. Well, until we got our first tax bill. That was a dark day that we shan’t dwell on.


PS if HMRC is reading this, we definitely paid it. 


Moving office can be quite stressful 
I thought moving house was stressful, but moving to a new office is a whole different ball game. We’ve moved three times since I joined Clearbox and you’d think that practice makes perfect. It doesn’t. Try rocking up to a building that suddenly has no internet, no phone signal and a team with a million to-do lists waiting for you to sort it. It was also banter when our emails went down for days and technical support at the time was a robot in San Francisco that didn’t speak Northern Irish. I need a drink just thinking about it.


‘PR is changing’ 
I’ve worked in PR in some capacity since 2002 and it’s changed more in the last year than ever before. The press release isn’t dead, but it’s got one foot in the grave. Consumers want punchy, attention-grabbing messages, be it in the media or on social channels. Video is booming. PR is owning more and more of the conversation. 10 years ago, we’d have been lucky to have a seat at the campaign briefing table – ad agencies ran that show. Today, we’re coming up against said agencies in pitches and we’re holding our own. It’s a great time to work in PR.


Cunning stunts 
Anyone who tells you that the traditional, old school PR stunt is dead is wrong, in my opinion. We’ve done a few recently and when they’re good, they can absolutely take over. There’s a lot of luck involved, though. Plan until your heart’s content, but if a big story breaks as you’re about to press go, or there’s a social movement against similar brands or industries then you could be on a hiding to nothing.


Clearbox, as an agency, has appalling taste in music 
Faced with Radio One fatigue, we bought a Sonos speaker and a Spotify subscription for the office as the team started to grow. What a mistake that was. I’ve been listening to Drake, Mariah Carey and Kanye West on repeat ever since. I could even sing you the words. You used to call me on my cell phone…cheers lads.


I need to watch Friends, Mean Girls and Clueless 
Probably a career learning rather than a Clearbox learning, but the point still stands. There’s a lot of references to these…erm…cultural phenomenons (?) and I can’t take part because I’ve not watched any of them. Some of the team here will recite a line or crack a joke and everyone laughs, but I don’t get it. Something about October 3rd?


Anyway, it’s a bit like when I got excited that TFI Friday was coming back and at least two thirds of the team had never heard of it. Heathens.
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