Ten (nearly eleven) years of Acumen – it’s good to celebrate, especially in these times!
It only seems like yesterday. Three “partners in crime” – myself, Abigail Jones and Giles Keane sat around a desk in a sub-let from the Ukraine Business Council, and let it be known to the Brussels EU community – Acumen Public Affairs is the new agency on the block!
There are parallels with where we are now. We were still as a European and Belgian economy, climbing out of the financial crisis in 2010. It was of course not of the size of economic and societal crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. But it did mean that getting started was something of a “leap of faith”, which all three of us were mystifyingly eager to take!
Fast forward to 2021, and we have our own smart offices (thanks to our talented Office Manager, Maëlle Quintart) and which sadly we have not been using for the better part of a year! We also have a most incredible team of now nearly 40 professionals (including two new partners, Nikos Manaras and Max von Olenhusen). We have also acquired a new senior client in Abigail Jones who has moved to be the Communications Director of our inaugural – and still key client – the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) which puts her and us at the centre of the industry engagement on the pandemic. In addition to IFPMA, we also have a client roster to be proud of across the areas of EU and Global Health, as well as Agrifood, Energy & Environment, Transport and Digital.
How did we get there? Well, having been through the “Big Agency Experience” for all of 21 loyal years, I and my partners were united in the golden rule of “hands on” client and consultancy team engagement. Quality strategic advice, but also effective and results-oriented delivery of results is what our clients require. For that reason, ALL of our senior people are actively involved in not just advising, but also doing in relation to client assignments, which I think gives us a “USP” versus our “big agency” rivals. An added bonus of our way of working is that those that work with us gain a lot of experience of working with reputable clients, but also with a senior team which is fully involved and cares about what we do and deliver for clients.
I am enthused and energised by the hard-working and very bright team we have assembled and one of the things that “gets me up in the morning” is knowing that they care and love to work with us and their clients, even in the spectacularly difficult circumstances we have all faced due to COVID-19.
So as I survey the landscape in 2021, I see much to be positive about: a policy landscape looking to rebuild better and greener post-COVID and with Climate Change high on the agenda; a group of clients who fortunately like to continue to work with us and new clients coming on board; and most of all a fantastic team of professionals who are eager to work with us and our clients to deliver great results! COVID? – What COVID?